WESTAMPTON >> The Burlington County Health Department is reminding residents that COVID-19 testing is readily available and that people who plan to travel or attend gatherings during spring break or the Easter and Passover holidays should consider getting tested.
COVID-19 cases across New Jersey have increased significantly in recent weeks and the Health Department is warning that even small gatherings with people outside your immediate household can pose risks.
Additionally, the commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Health has noted a recent rise in severe COVID-19 cases among younger residents.
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen COVID-19 cases spike shortly after holidays and school vacations from people gathering, traveling or letting down their guard,” said Dr. Herb Conaway, the director of the Health Department and chair of the County’s COVID-19 Task Force. “We’re already seeing an unfortunate surge in cases, so it becomes even more important for people to remain vigilant and take precautionary measures to reduce the spread.”
Burlington County’s COVID-19 infection risk remained “high” after being upgraded from “moderate” last month due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and a rise in the positivity rate from testing.
More than 34,000 Burlington County residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and a total of 751 have died since the pandemic’s start last March.
During the last week there were more than 800 new cases in the county, or an average of 134 new cases a day.
“The virus is still very active and COVID-19 variants are making this holiday season even more volatile and risky,” Conaway said. “I know people are experiencing COVID-19 fatigue from the long fight, but everyone must continue to do their part by wearing masks, staying at least 6 feet away from others and washing their hands or using hand sanitizer frequently. Even those who have been fully vaccinated should continue these precautions.”
Testing is also important to prevent the spread, and health officials stress that anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who may have had contact with someone who tested positive for the virus should be tested, including those who have been fully vaccinated.
College students and others who traveled during the holidays or Spring vacations are also encouraged to get tested.
COVID-19 testing is available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Health Department’s testing site at Rowan College at Burlington County’s Student Success Center off Route 38 in Mount Laurel. Testing is from 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Burlington County also offers a home testing option. Participants must register online at www.homecovidtest.org to obtain a mail-order test kit and instructions on how to schedule a Zoom tele-health meeting with a health care professional to oversee sample collection.
“Testing remains a critical weapon in our fight against the virus because it allows us to identify carriers who need to quarantine,” Conaway said. “We need our residents to take advantage of this service for their own health and the health of those around them.”