N.J. coronavirus recovery: Menendez proposes 9/11-style commission on COVID response

Emilee Geist

Travel advisory list grows Five states have returned to the 14-day travel advisory list for New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. The governors of those states use the list to advise those traveling into the region from “impacted states” to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The five states — […]

Travel advisory list grows

Five states have returned to the 14-day travel advisory list for New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

The governors of those states use the list to advise those traveling into the region from “impacted states” to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

The five states — Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, Rhode Island and Wyoming — were put back on the list Tuesday. There are 35 states and territories singled out overall because their average daily number of cases is higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or their positivity rate is 10 percent or higher. Both metrics are measured over a seven-day period.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli has said previously “the self-quarantine advisory is voluntary, but compliance is expected.”

COVID-19 exposure? There will be an app for that

State health officials have turned to technology to enhance their contact tracing efforts.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said they have been running a pilot test of a mobile app that notifies people if they have been exposed to the coronavirus.

“Contact tracing is key to any public health effort to contain the spread of disease,” said Persichilli. “However, it can have limitations when individuals don’t cooperate or if they have close contact with individuals they don’t know.”

She cited a new study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that followed the contact tracing efforts of two counties in North Carolina.

“Although the two-county health departments studied investigated the majority of their cases, a high proportion of persons with COVID-19 did not report their contacts,” she said. “Therefore, many contacts were not reached reducing the impact of contact tracing as a mitigation strategy.”

Persichilli says the app uses Bluetooth technology to trace when people are within six feet of each other for ten minutes or longer. When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the app can notify others who spent time close to that person. It’s being tested by New Jersey state workers and at three colleges: Montclair State University, Stockton University, and Passaic County Community College.

The app does not collect personal or location data. It will also offer important phone numbers and the latest information on the coronavirus, just as it is displayed on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Commissioner Persichilli says the app is getting good reviews so far; 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Pennsylvania and Delaware are offering similar apps. The New Jersey one will rollout statewide after improvements are made by the developer.

Burlington County reopens museums, galleries

Museums and galleries at Smithville Park in Eastampton, the Burlington County Lyceum of History and Natural Sciences as well as the Burlington County Prison Museum in Mt. Holly will begin welcoming visitors back for the first time in months.

The prison museum, the Warden’s House Gallery and the lyceum reopened Tuesday.

The Smithville Mansion’s Annex Art Gallery, the Worker’s House Museum and Gallery reopened Wednesday.

The Burlington County Underground Railroad Association Museum will reopen Wednesday, Sept. 30.

The museums and galleries will reopen under safety protocols. All sites are limited to 25% of their normal capacity and will have separate entrances and exits. Hand sanitizer stations have been set up and plexiglass shields have been installed at most reception desks.

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