House parties tied to new coronavirus cases point to need for tracking infected people — especially teens
With nearly 90 new COVID-19 cases linked to young people who attended house parties at several Jersey Shore communities — and the potential exposure of hundreds more — state officials continue to encourage people to get tested and cooperate with contact tracers.
New Jersey officials have also taken steps to further strengthen the state’s capacity to perform tests and contact tracing, which public health officials use to reduce the spread of disease. While hospitalizations have continued to decline since COVID-19 peaked here in April, new cases spiked over the weekend — something officials attributed to a glitch in lab reporting — and the transmission rate, or RT, ticked up from 0.84 reported on Friday to 1.09 reported Monday.
Last week the state Department of Health announced it has hired a Boston-based consulting company to beef up the contact-tracing workforce, although details of the deal were not immediately available. Officials indicated that New Jersey currently has nearly 1,100 public health professionals working in this capacity (counting new hires), the majority of whom have been on the job for months with local health departments.