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Gov. Murphy expresses concern over rise of coronavirus cases in Ocean, Monmouth counties

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in central New Jersey, particularly in Ocean and Monmouth counties, to the concern of Gov. Phil Murphy, but health experts say this was to be expected and things are on the right track.

News 12 Staff

Sep 22, 2020, 3:12 PM

Updated 1,366 days ago

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Coronavirus cases are on the rise in central New Jersey, particularly in Ocean and Monmouth counties, to the concern of Gov. Phil Murphy, but health experts say this was to be expected and things are on the right track.
Gov. Murphy, along with his panel, once again expressed concern Monday about a rise in cases in the two regions, particularly Lakewood, where in one week, the town saw 276 additional positive cases and four deaths, according to numbers released by the Ocean County Health Department.  
During Monday’s press conference, Judith Persichilli, commissioner of the Department of Health, said, “We know some social gatherings, particularly in Monmouth, were responsible for some increases and generally in Lakewood, we are seeing a general increase in cases. I don't think we were able to identify any specific cause right now, but we are remaining vigilant because Lakewood has been a hotspot in the past and we want to make sure it doesn't happen again.”  
News 12 spoke with Dan Regenye, public health coordinator with the OCHD.
On paper, the numbers may be concerning – an 8% increase in total cases in Lakewood in just one week, but when you break down deaths, hospitalizations, and serious illnesses, the numbers continue to drop, and that’s good news according to health experts.
"What we're seeing with a lot of these new cases is more of a mild to moderate illness, with people making a full recovery,” says Regenye. Regenye says an expected rise in positive test results doesn't necessarily mean it's time to sound the alarm. "I think maybe our body has seen us a little bit now and it's kind of adjusting on its own with it, but it is good news that what we're seeing right now,” says Regenye. “Hopefully, that continues with that mild to moderate." The increase is seen mainly in younger people, college-aged to 30s, and some of the numbers, while positive, are representative of students who tested out of the area at their college, but listed their home address as primary residence. "If they are residing at that location at that time, and they're going to be in a dorm or off campus housing, that's where the concern is,” says Regenye. “That's where the person is living and commenting and interacting that's where the local health jurisdiction would have to know about that." Regenye says it’s also a busy week for religious holidays. The OCHD partnered with faith leaders and communities to continue to spread the message of staying safe.  "It's just that personal responsibility that people have to understand it's bigger than them,” says Regenye. “There's people in their lives that have to do their part to keep protected and we want to prevent the spread of that illness to those most vulnerable. "
Thirty-one positive cases were recorded in Lakewood following the funeral and services for a young police officer earlier this month. Regenye emphasized there are no serious illnesses resulting from any of the higher numbers. 


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