PISCATAWAY, NJ – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) joined public health officials from Rutgers University addressing the coronavirus outbreak, which in New Jersey was up to 11 cases at press time.
“Americans need a coordinated government response to the coronavirus outbreak that matches the scale and seriousness of this public health crisis,” said Pallone during Monday’s conference at the Rutgers School of Public Health.
With the federal government’s $8.3 billion in funding allocated to address the health crisis which will be used to protect against price gouging of vaccines and related treatments, Pallone urged the public to employ everyday measures to help prevent the spread of the respiratory virus.
This includes following recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) such as avoiding close contact with people who are sick, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, washing your hands often with soap and water for least 20 seconds, and using alcohol based hand sanitizer. Individuals who are sick should stay home and should cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
“At the local level, mayors across the state are ready to implement whatever directives come out of the New Jersey Department of Health,” said Mayor Brian Wahler adding that responding to COVID-19 is a team effort with the federal government. “We have set up the Piscataway Senior Center as a mass inoculation site.”
Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency on Monday due to the spread of the virus, with the Berkley Heights, Roselle and Trenton school districts closing schools so buildings could be sanitized after reports that some students and staff members may have been exposed to others with the illness.
For the Piscataway school district, Superintendent, Dr. Frank Ranelli said officials are monitoring for the coronavirus, posting a letter on the district’s website outlining emergency preparedness plans should cases be reported locally.
“Work has begun to plan how classes could be held using technology if school closures are warranted,” said Ranelli in the March 5 letter.
Coronavirus has infected more than 110,000 individuals in at least 97 countries.
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