CAMDEN, NJ — With 56 more coronavirus cases Wednesday, Camden County officials say the pandemic is far from over in the region. 

“We do have a slight uptick over the past week or so… We were averaging about 25 new cases per day, [we're] creeping up toward 40 per day over the last three days,” Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli said during a press briefing today. 

The aggregate totals are 8,781 known positive cases and 538 deaths.

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Echoing statements made by Gov. Phil Murphy earlier in the day, Cappelli said, “Across the country, as well as here in New Jersey, we are seeing increased transmission and contraction of coronavirus among young people in their teens and 20s.”

Updating the public on its $20M COVID-19 relief program for small businesses, official said $17 million has already been allocated to small business throughout the county. So far, over 2,100 applications have been submitted and businesses in Camden City are the second-highest municipality to request funds. 

“We’re trying to get those funds on the streets as quickly as possible,” Cappelli said. 

Nichelle Pace, Vice President of Camden Business Association — which has done outreach across the city — said the most immediate needs have been business owners needing helping to pay their rent or lease. 

“We’re finding a lot of [need among] smaller businesses with less than 20 employees…that was the sweet spot, they’re the ones that need the most right now,” Pace said. 

In a summary of county efforts, Cappelli said over 20,000 face masks have been distributed to residents, approximately 7,000 screenings have been processed across four test sites, a quarter of a million meals have been distributed to anyone in need and more than 2,000 units of personal protective equipment (PPE) have been provided to first responders. 

“Our team has continued, week after week, to do everything we can to assist residents, businesses and families during the crisis. Even as the spread of the coronavirus has decreased, the risk of food insecurity expanded as the economic fallout worsens. We know jobless claims continue to mount which is why our employees are stepping up in unprecedented ways,” said Freeholder Jonathan Young. 

For businesses interesting applying for the county’s COVID-19 relief program visit camdencountycares.com. Read TAPinto Camden's coverage of the COVID-19 relief program here: Small Businesses Apply for Camden County Emergency Funds at ‘Feverish Pitch.’

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