CAMDEN, NJ — Camden, both the city and county, have made strides in efforts to combat the coronavirus spread despite no federal intervention, Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli and Mayor Frank Moran said in a joint statement Monday.
Briefing residents on the “Stay at Home” orders in English, Spanish and Vietnamese with the help of the Camden County Police Department (CCPD). Placing its first county-run testing site specifically in the city of Camden given health and socio-economic disadvantages there. Working with the Camden school district and Food Bank of South Jersey to continue providing meals to students.
These are among the efforts carried out by local officials during the pandemic — which has now claimed 85 lives and infected over 2,000 people in the county.
“It is important to highlight that expanding testing will provide us with the data we need to properly attack this virus, as I’m sure everyone recognizes the abject failure of the federal government to make testing available anywhere, let alone in Camden County or Camden City,” Cappelli and Moran said. “Now that we have a robust testing site in addition to hospital testing, we are getting the information we need to be more effective.”
Officials said Cooper University Health Care and Virtua Health were critical in establishing the mobile test site at Cooper Poynt Waterfront Park — which has tended to over 1,100 patients since opening April 1.
“By leveraging our health care providers and additional nonprofits like CAMCare and the Camden Coalition, we have been able to face the challenge posed by health and economic disparities head on,” Moran and Cappelli said. “Furthermore, the three hospitals within the city’s nine-square miles have been instrumental in triaging patients and working to treat as many residents as possible from the city.”
The homeless in the city have also had access to portable sinks and hand washing stations, while officials have worked to contract a hotel, “for isolation services for the same vulnerable population.”
The majority of the cases in Camden County — 505 as of Monday — originate from the city of Camden.
“Density is a challenge in the city, we recognize that fact, which is why we have taken to putting boots on the ground to communicate, from a safe distance, with residents,” Cappelli and Moran said, noting that 14 percent of the positive results were healthcare workers.
“Camden has the highest density housing in the county, and we are working day and night to cut through that challenge and let residents know that self-quarantine, while not fun and extremely challenging on a good day, is the sacrifice they have to make to protect themselves, their loved ones, and their friends,” they added.