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SIC Talks COVID-19

By Camille Sailer

To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.
SEA ISLE CITY – Mayor Leonard Desiderio opened Sea Isle City Council’s July 14 meeting with an overview of the latest COVID-19 situation, speaking from his perspective as a Cape May County freeholder, as well.
“It may seem like we’re beating the pandemic since many businesses are open and we have outdoor activities going on. However, we are seeing spikes in cases, in the county, as well as in Sea Isle, just like in other places across the country. The number of residents with the virus actually is pretty low, but we’re seeing numerous non-resident cases.”
Desiderio continued that “non-resident” is a broad term that includes summer renters, as well as anyone who does not use Sea Isle as their primary residence.
“We must stay vigilant and take the personal responsibility to do the right thing by wearing masks, keeping appropriate social distances, and washing hands frequently. Frankly, all this is difficult to enforce, and so we must rely on the respect that we need to show for each other to keep everyone healthy. Yes, we’re open, but we still have lots of work to do. Please, let’s all set an example for our children, as this is not about politics or personal rights,” continued Desiderio.
Desiderio added that while he or others might not always agree with state measures, executive actions have the weight of the law. “For example, I’ve been asked why our basketball courts and hockey rink stayed closed for so long. This type of decision is not one that we could take, but rather came from Trenton,” he clarified.
During public comment, resident Ann Organ asked a specific question to Council member Mary Tighe, who also works in the county Health Department, as assistant director of public health nursing, regarding more details about the types of cases Sea Isle and the county are facing.
“We are really stepping up our contact tracing of non-resident cases who return to their homes in other states. For example, if they return to Pennsylvania, we don’t just let that state follow these cases, but we also are following up with the individuals directly ourselves.
“We are finding that the spike in our cases is among the 16 to 18-year-old cohort who are going to house parties to celebrate graduation, Fourth of July or whatever, although cases are hitting all age groups. They then can pass the virus to family members, including parents and grandparents.
“If they work in the area and test positive, we will monitor them, but the business where they work doesn’t need to close down. The trend in Sea Isle, as to who is driving the spikes, is similar to what Wildwood, Avalon and other shore towns are experiencing.
“We are hoping that with the number of house parties now decreasing and people becoming even more vigilant about COVID precautions, the rates of infection will subside. We are very busy and the county COVID task force is meeting right now, as a matter of fact, to make sure we’re doing everything possible to keep people healthy.”
To contact Camille Sailer, email csailer@cmcherald.com.

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