RED BANK, NJ: TAPinto Red Bank spoke with David Henry, Health Officer with the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission (MCRHC).  At 83 years-old, the MCRHC is the oldest and largest of health commissions in New Jersey.

David Henry has over 36 years of public health experience earning a Masters in Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health from Rutgers University.

He also lectures and serves as an instructor at the Rutgers University, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Safety, and at the UMDNJ School of Public Health.

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He is responsible for public health duties and activities in the 20 Monmouth County municipalities serviced by MCRHC.

We spoke with David about the situation at the Grandville Tower apartments and PRC Management Group which disseminated two separate letters to the residents.  These letters stated that two tenants were, “… determined presumptively positive for the coronavirus”, and, “…they had been in contact with another individual who was subsequently confirmed to have contracted the virus.” 

We also discussed the State’s new definition of “Presumed Presumptive” and how the state government health departments react with potential coronavirus cases.

The following is an excerpt from a telephone interview:

TAP: Please provide us a timeline of events as it relates to the Grandville Towers situation.

Henry: We’ve been involved since Saturday, and basically had no information on the (two) tenants.  We checked several times with Riverview (Hospital) and they had no positive cases.  At this point we have no positive cases in Red Bank.  We spoke with the two individuals and they are self-quarantined and are awaiting current test results.  Hopefully before the week is out, we should find out if they were positive.

TAP: What are the hospitals required to tell MCRHC?

Henry: All the health departments have good relationships with their hospitals.  If a test was a positive, they give us a call ahead of time and email (that result).  It may take an hour or so for that information to get into the state database called The Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System.  That’s where all those coronavirus cases show up.  Once a hospital sends us a positive confirmation, we will enter it into the database and start an investigation and start determining who the close contacts are. 

Hospitals, physician offices and laboratories have a legal obligation to immediately report communicable disease to us.

TAP: What’s the definition of a “Presumptive Positive?”

Henry: Last week the State changed the language of Presumptive Positive.  Prior to that, if a sample went to the State, and the State tested it, they would say it’s a Presumptive Positive.  Because at that time, the sample had to be sent to CDC, to be confirmed as a positive.  The CDC had become overwhelmed with testing requests.

TAP: What’s the new definition?

Henry: In the new definition by the State of New Jersey, a Presumptive Positive would be a confirmed case now.  The word from the CDC is, if the State comes back with a Presumptive Positive, then it’s a positive.  

TAP: So, a Presumptive Positive is always designated as “confirmed” unless the lab test comes back as negative, correct?

Henry: Yes.

TAP: When do you think you’ll get results from the two Grandville Tower individuals?

Henry: If it goes out to the State health department, it can be anywhere from 1 to 2 days, a private laboratory, 5 to 7 days.  The individuals have been sampled, and we’re just waiting.  When we get advised from the (State or private) laboratory, then we’ll notify (PRC) management. 

David Henry has a huge job in front of him.  Monmouth County is luck to have the right man in the right job.

As it stands now, there are no confirmed cases in Red Bank because the Monmouth County Regional Health Commission has not been notified.  TAPinto Red Bank left a message with Peter Wersinger, Sr. Vice President & General Counsel at PRC GROUP asking him about the two tenants who were determined to be presumptively positive.  We did not receive a response by publication time.

To read a previous TAPinto Red Bank article and the PRC Management Group letters to the residents of the Gandville Tower, click HERE.

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