New data released by the Ocean County Health Department displays some good news along with a concerning trend of COVID-19 cases in Ocean County.

From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ocean County Health Officials have been proactive in their approach to alerting residents of the current threat and spread of the coronavirus as well as making simple requests to curb the trend.

There have been conversations between Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Dan Regenye and local health officials, police, the Ocean County Emergency Management Council and others so there could be a collective approach to battling the pandemic.

There were a lot of questions in the beginning including who is more vulnerable and how does the virus spread.

The first case in Ocean County was a 72-year-old Manchester man and the second case was a young pregnant woman in Toms River.

Over time as we've learned more information, and then as cases began trending in a positive direction and beaches and businesses began opening up, more people started getting outside after being cooped up to prevent the spread.

With that came the risk or chance of more positive cases popping-up that coincided with more testing becoming available.

Fast forward to here in August, Ocean County has seen significant positive trends overall across the summer months to date but cases are still being reported.

So which demographic is being the most affected?

It's not the elderly residents as was once the case, now it's the younger generation, some of whom have been caught attending large parties and gatherings and voicing objection to wearing face masks and social distancing.

The Ocean County Health Department is now urging young adults and teenagers attending summer parties or large-group gatherings to not get complacent and wear a mask and face covering.

While the cases of COVID-19 in Ocean County have been on a steady decline, overall, OCPHC Regenye explains that we still have to be careful.

“We understand that it’s summertime and our young adults and teens want to get out and socialize or see friends and family before they go back to school but the OCHD is strongly urging they – and all Ocean County residents – adhere to the social distancing measures and wear a mask when in the appropriate situations,” Regenye said in a statement. “We’ve had a few recent incidents where large numbers of partygoers at our shore communities were not social distancing or wearing masks and that’s problematic when trying to mitigate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. We need to do better, we’ve come too far. Many of these young adults and teens feel they may be immune and it’s only seniors and other high risk individuals who are most vulnerable."

However, new data out this week from the OCHD shows a reverse trend from early on.

  • Ocean County Health Department statistics show that from June 1 to July 31, 2020, there was a greater than 430% change in proportion of cases in people 18 years and under in Ocean County.
  • Cases were as low as 2.8% in that age bracket and rose to 15.19% from May 31 to July 29, 2020. Cases in adults aged 19-44 increased from 33.51% to 46.27% in the same time frame.
  • The good news is that the data revealed a decrease from 30.83% to 19.10% for adults between the age of 45 and 64. Seniors 65 and older dropped from 32.73% of all confirmed cases back on May 31 to 19.19% on July 27, 2020.
  • Morbidity and mortality have both dropped significantly over the last 2 months for ages 45-64 (25%) and 65+ (75%).
  • The median age of confirmed COVID-19 cases decreased from 54.8 years for the first 3 months of the pandemic to 34 years over the last 8 weeks.

“The data clearly shows that we have a segment of the population that isn’t trending the way it needs to be at this point,” Patricia High, OCHD Assistant Public Health Coordinator, said in a statement. “This disease does not discriminate. Without a vaccine or cure, the only way to stop the transmission of the COVID-19 virus is by social distancing, wearing masks and contact tracing. We need to get the young people to understand this pandemic is not over and going to parties, large gatherings and even some bars is putting too many people at risk and not the responsible thing to do. Even if they don’t get sick there’s always the chance of a person bringing it home to their grandparents, other high risk individuals and the community.”

If you do attend a large gathering and someone contracts Covid-19 and then a contact tracer asks you about it or asks that you get tested, then cooperate with them.

Contact tracing helps identify where the virus is currently at and where it may be spreading.

All calls and information are always confidential.

Regenye adds that it’s important for party-goers to take these mandates and messages seriously.

“We cannot have these types of parties and gatherings in Ocean County if we expect to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases. It’s that simple.”

Ocean County Health Officials continue to stress the importance of social distancing, wearing a mask and staying home if you're not feeling well, whether it's COVID-related or not.

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