Cape May County health officials say a recent uptick in coronavirus cases is mainly driven by young people who have been socializing.
The county’s health department this week reported 31 positive cases within the 16 to 22 age group, according to a news release. None of the cases have required hospitalization, officials said.
“The majority of new cases testing positive in Cape May County within the last few days were young adults who were socializing without regard to the threats of spreading the coronavirus. Most of these people are short-term visitors with permanent residence from another county or state,” the release said.
The county did not disclose the locations of possible virus exposure.
In response, the county health department says it will target that age group with a social media educational safety campaign, focusing on social distancing and masks wearing precautions.
Kevin Thomas, Cape May County’s health officer, in a statement urged the public to take precautions.
“Although Cape May County’s year-round population COVID-19 cases are the lowest in the state, it is important to remember that while you may be on vacation, this disease is not,” he said. “Without protection, crowded settings and social gatherings such as large house parties are prime conditions for contracting the disease.”
County officials this week urged everyone to wear a mask in public spaces to both keep people safe and the economy open.
“Thanks to the good sense, hard work, and sacrifices of members of our community, COVID-19 cases in Cape May County have remained below a critical threshold,” read a joint statement by the Cape May County freeholder board, the county chamber board of directors, and the mayors of all 16 municipalities.
“However, we must take bold steps to ensure that cases continue to trend downward or, at minimum, remain steady even with the influx of seasonal residents and visitors expected during July and August.”
As of Thursday, the county reported a total of 763 positive coronavirus cases and 23 out-of-county positive cases.
Requests for additional comment from the Cape May County Health Department were not immediately returned.