Lakewood Briefs

County Health Department Urges Wearing of Masks

The Ocean County Health Department urged residents to wear masks in public pointing to increasing evidence that the practice is effective in curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Officials pointed to a recent statement by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield that “the United States could bring the COVID-19 epidemic under control in just a matter of 4 to 8 weeks if everyone would wear a mask.”

One of several tests that back up the effectiveness of masks followed two hairdressers who both continued working after contracting COVID. Their shop mandated masks for all clients and employees. In testing 67 clients who were in the store at the time, not one tested positive.

“After more than 3 months of study and research, the scientific community continues to confirm that masks/face coverings do work in mitigating the transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator/Health Officer. “The OCHD is always providing our residents the most up-to-date information and guidance we can share to better educate them that wearing masks and social distancing are the only key measures we have in place to keep people protected and safe from transmission. Until we find a vaccine or cure, only the consistent and correct use of face coverings, when appropriate, is an important tool for minimizing spread of COVID-19 from pre-symptomatic, asymptomatic, and symptomatic persons.”

Governor Phil Murphy has mandated face coverings throughout the state in outdoor situations as well, when social distancing is not possible.

Ocean County’s number of positive COVID-19 cases have been in a steady decline for several months. Yet, officials fear that rising infection numbers in other states, summer travel, and a loosening of precautions could lead to a snap back.

“Only time will tell if the entire country can control the spread by getting all the states on the same page when it comes to social distancing and mask mandates,” said Patty High, OCHD Assistant Public Health Coordinator. “Here in Ocean County we have our own job to do and the Ocean County Health Department will continue to do its part urging every resident to not get complacent and help keep the number of positive cases on a steady decline by wearing a face covering and social distance.”

Judge Denies Lakewood School Districts Lawsuit against State

A federal court struck down a lawsuit brought by Lakewood’s public school district which sought to mandate legislators to deliver a larger funding package.

For over a decade, the district has operated on a deficit, with the state Department of Education filling the funding gap with loans. Under this system, the district has accumulated over $138,000,000 in debt to the state.

Last year, Governor Phil Murphy proposed an extra $30 million to Lakewood’s public schools to help cover its shortfall. Yet under budget constraints, legislators removed the extra funding from the state’s annual spending plan.

In response, Lakewood’s district sued the state claiming that the cut discriminated against the school system’s mostly Hispanic student body.

According to a report by the Asbury Park Press, Judge Freda Wolfson denied the suit on the grounds that the district lacked standing to advance a claim on behalf of its students.

“In sum, Lakewood has not established that a favorable decision against (the defendants) would provide Lakewood with any redress in this case or that Lakewood’s students face any real obstacles to pursuing their own claims,” said the opinion.

County Freeholders ask for Public’s Help in Controlling Mosquito Population

Ocean County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders urged residents to do their part in the region’s annual effort to control its mosquito population.

“Residents need to be aware of locations that may serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes in their yards,” said Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director Gary Quinn, who is liaison to the Ocean County Mosquito Extermination Commission. “With over 40 different species of mosquitoes found in Ocean County, it is imperative to do what you can to limit the chance of mosquitoes.”

In addition to the annoyance that mosquitoes and the bites they leave can cause, the bugs can also carry potentially dangerous illnesses such as West Nile Virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, and Jamestown Canyon Virus.

Ocean County has maintained a Mosquito Extermination Commission since 1913. Its operations focus on biological control and water management practices such as inspecting and treating swamps, wood pools, roadside ditches, retention/detention basins, catch basins, and saltmarshes.

This year yard audits will not be conducted due to the COVID pandemic. Still residents are being asked to inspect their own properties for any source of standing water that could breed mosquitoes. Common places to look for larvae are open buckets, open trashcans, clogged gutters, tarps, saucers under planter pots, corrugated drains, kids’ toys, tires, pool covers, unused pools, and birdbaths.

“If an object can hold water for four to five days, it can be a problem,” said Freeholder Quinn. “These mosquitoes can often be found in water amounts as small as a bottle cap, which makes dumping standing water simple and the most effective way for controlling mosquitoes.”