OCEAN COUNTY, NJ - As the coronavirus makes it way into many residential facilities, one group continues to be spared.  The Arc, Ocean County Chapter, reports that currently no staff members or residents have tested positive for COVID-19. In the meantime, the organization needs help in acquiring sterile masks to keep everyone safe.

"Unlike other New Jersey Arc organizations, Arc of Ocean County supports many group homes of our most fragile population," shared Barnegat resident, Walt Fernandez, who is a board member of the Ocean County Arc.

Arc concentrates its efforts on assisting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Locally, they provide living quarters for many adults who are unable to live alone. The organization's fear is that a staff member could become unwittingly affected by the virus at home and bring it into one of the group homes.

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During a recent phone conference with residential facilities, the Department of Health recommended universal masking of staff entering nursing homes and other long term facilities.  Arc has voluntarily decided to comply with those same guidelines.

Throughout New Jersey, there are approximately 315 staff members who come to work to take care of these vulnerable members of the population. Even if they used just one mask per shift, the overall need throughout the state comes to 10,000 masks per shift.

Notably, this request is for sterile masks rather than the N95 masks that are so critically needed by hospital workers. Those who are sewing masks may also want to donate them to these workers. Anyone who has masks or contacts to get them can help by getting in touch with Walt Fernandez.