Season of Twin Viruses

by Albert B. Kelly, Mayor, City of Bridgeton

No matter how we approach these next few months, we will do it with some hesitation and perhaps even fear. I say that because the rates of infection for Covid-19 have been going up slightly but steadily. I hope I am wrong about what may be ahead in terms of infection rates, but regardless we would do well to prepare and refocus our attention for the season we’re about to enter.

In terms of preparation, that may include any number of things—from stocking up on food and supplies to making sure we have enough masks, hand sanitizer, and that we actually use them. This sounds simple enough, but pandemic fatigue has set in even for the most diligent among us. While some have concluded that the virus is no big deal or a hoax or something more sinister, most have not. It’s just that we’ve grown tired of masks and social distancing and wiping down high-touch areas.

Weariness is understandable, but if you’ve made it this far, I do believe there is actually a faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that within the next six months, a viable Covid-19 vaccine will be available for the asking. I recognize that some might see this line of thinking as overly optimistic while others, who oppose vaccines in general, likely find the suggestion somewhere between insulting and threatening.

Along those same lines, I encourage everyone, but especially those at higher risk, to get this season’s flu shot. I say that because this season will be hard enough not only for those trying to stay healthy, but also for those working in healthcare. If the flu shot prevents all involved from trying to figure out whether they’re dealing with the coronavirus or the seasonal flu that would seem like a good starting place. Beyond that, healthcare as a resource becomes scarce whether we’re talking about ICU beds or medications, and it’s best not to push the system to the limit.

If you would like to get a flu shot, you can do so at a number of locations. CompleteCare Health Network is providing flu shots in Cumberland County at their Vineland campus, located at 785 West Sherman Avenue from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday, October 21 and 22, and Wednesday and Thursday, October 28 and 29.

Beyond CompleteCare, the Cumberland County Health Department is providing flu shots on Saturday, October 24, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at Leechester Hall, located at 548 Main Street in Leesburg; Tuesday, October 27, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Marino Center (11 Washington Street in Bridgeton), Tuesday, November 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the West Park Drive United Methodist Church at 625 Shiloh Pike, and a drive-through pop-up location on Saturday, November 14, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Upper Deerfield Fire Hall at 69 Cornwall Drive. For the drive-through clinic, visit ccdoh.org to complete consent forms.

My hope for our county and our communities is that we will continue to do what is necessary to keep our numbers low and our residents healthy until we can come out on the other side of this. It won’t be easy and my sense is that we will have a long winter ahead. But if we do what is in our power—whether getting a flu shot, wearing a mask, social distancing, wiping down high-touch surfaces and giving attention to sleep, nutrition, and exercise—we’ll come out of this season intact.

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