Monmouth County Health Department Newsletter: November-December 2020

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Monmouth County Health Department Newsletter

November-December 2020

COVID-19 How to Protect Yourself & Others

Increased indoor activities coupled with the upcoming holiday seasons presents the potential for an increase in COVID-19 cases. The Monmouth County Health Department (MCHD) reminds everyone to protect themselves and others by following these guidelines.

Community Testing Initiative

Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Grunin Foundation have partnered to provide free COVID-19  testing for Monmouth County Residents. There will be 100 tests available per day, four days a week. To date, the initiative has tested over 3,500 people. More information and a testing schedule can be found at

Meet Our Contact Tracers

My name is Alison and I am a contact tracer with the MCHD. You have probably heard about me and the other contact tracers in NJ, but you might not know exactly what we do.


Contact tracing is a tool that public health uses to slow the spread of infectious disease. Physicians, clinics, labs and hospitals are required to send the names of people who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 to their local health department.


When I contact you I already have the information that was provided in your lab test. I am going  to  confirm  your  date  of  birth  and  address.  While  every  contact  is  different,  I will respectfully ask you about your symptoms, the date you became ill and pre-existing conditions. I  will ask you about household members, others you have been in close contact with, travel history and your school or occupation. I will ask your sex and race for statistical purposes. Together we will try to determine who may have been exposed to you while you were contagious.


All information that you share with me is confidential. I cannot under penalty of law share your name or medical history with anyone I may subsequently contact as a result of our call. Alternatively, I may tell you that you have been identified as a contact of a COVID-19 patient but I cannot tell you who that patient is.


I will never ask you for any personal or financial information, bank or credit card information social security number or passwords. I will not attempt to solicit money or to sell you anything. Contact tracing is always free of charge!


I will answer any questions which you may have and may suggest resources such as the COVID Alert App New Jersey's free and secure mobile app that anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.


Or we may discuss other resources that are available such as  Monmouth ACTS  which provides Monmouth County residents access to services in mental health, addiction, aging, housing, childcare, transportation and much more.


The purpose of contact tracing is to identify positive and exposed persons in order to break the chain of transmission and “Stop the Spread” of COVID-19.  By working together we can strive to protect each other.

MCHD assists with Monmouth University testing initiative

Earlier this month, Monmouth University saw a large spike in COVID-19 cases among students and staff.  At least  300 people  linked to the University tested positive for COVID-19 since September 2020. In response to the outbreak, MCHD offered assistance to the University and its local health department in their public health response. Our staff of over 40 contact tracers has been identifying those in close contact with University COVID-19 cases and notifying them of their need to quarantine. Additionally, MCHD staff was on site beginning Oct. 13, 2020 to assist with testing.

MCHD Staff assisting Monmouth University COVID-19 Response

Public Health Surveillance

As of Oct. 18, there have been 13,311 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County. There has been a rise in new cases across New Jersey. To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, MCHD continually increases our contact tracing staff. To date, Monmouth County has 124 contact tracers who are investigating new cases of COVID-19 and notifying their contacts of their exposure. MCHD maintains a number of on-call duty officers to respond to public health emergencies 24/7. Recently, as much as 40% of new COVID-19 cases are between the ages of 11-25 years old.

Seasonal Influenza

Flu versus the Common Cold Chart

It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.


While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19 there are many important benefits.


Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19. Protect Your Health This Flu Season

COVID-19 Vaccine Planning

MCHD is working with our Federal, State and Local partners to plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. There are several vaccines currently undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials. Once those trials are completed the developers can apply to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).


MCHD  will  be  the  public  health  agency  responsible  for  vaccine distribution  in Monmouth County. The timeline for vaccine distribution is uncertain at this time. Additional details will be provided as they become available. The vaccine will initially be available for adults 18 and older.

Did you know?

Since March 15, 2020, the MCHD has investigated 6,679 separate confirmed COVID-19 cases in Monmouth County member towns.

Board of Chosen Freeholders

Thomas A. Arnone, Director
Susan M. Kiley, Deputy Director

Lillian G. Burry
Patrick Impreveduto

Nick DiRocco

Board of Health Members

Brian Charnick, Acting President 
Ellynn Kahle
Ross Licitra
Andrew Wardell


Freeholder Deputy Director
Susan M. Kiley, Liaison 

Christopher P. Merkel M.P.H., H.O.

Public Health Coordinator

Board of Health Meetings

Board of Health Meetings are held virtually. Go to for more information.


Monmouth County Seal 2018