Wednesday, April 8, 2020
A number of people have accused Atlantic County of not being transparent during the COVID-19 pandemic based upon its decision not to provide a daily breakdown of positive cases by the town in which they are located.
What many may not realize is that this information is shared daily with each mayor, municipal police chief and freeholder.
“Atlantic County made a conscious decision early on not to provide this information to the media to help protect our full time, permanent residents from an influx of second homeowners and out-of-towners who could potentially carry the virus from areas of outbreak including New York, North Jersey and the Philadelphia suburbs,” stated County Executive Dennis Levinson.
Levinson was concerned that with students being out of school and the onset of warmer weather, second homeowners would seek a reprieve from their own towns to come to the shore to wait out the COVID-19 crisis.
“As homeowners, they obviously have a right to be here, but they have been asked not to come, not now while resources are limited and we continue to fight further spread of the virus,” he said.
“It’s understandable they would want to come here knowing the number of cases we have is far less that what they may currently be experiencing. As of today, there are just two cases in Longport and Brigantine and one in Margate, and that’s the way we would prefer to keep it. But advertising these enviable statistics only encourages more to come to escape the threat of COVID-19. Something else to consider, they may not just be coming by themselves, but bringing their immediate and extended families to stay in their 3-6 bedroom vacation homes.”
Some elected officials have already begun to share the cases by town they receive from the county through their own social media accounts.
“That is their prerogative, but I stand by my decision,” stated Levinson. “My duty is to protect all 275,000 of our residents. I have concerns about advertising this information, but others seemingly do not. It is pointless for us to continue to subject ourselves to this unnecessary criticism. Our energies can be better focused on the challenges at hand in protecting our residents from COVID-19.”
Levinson also urged the public not to be lulled into a false sense of security if the numbers in their town are low. It does not mean they should let down their guard.
The county reported 17 new cases today in the following towns:
Atlantic City – 2; Buena Borough – 1; Buena Vista Township – 1; Egg Harbor Township – 3; Galloway – 3; Hamilton Twp. – 3; Northfield – 1; Pleasantville – 2; and Ventnor – 1.
Previously Reported Cases:
Absecon – 8; Atlantic City – 25 and 1 death; Brigantine – 2; Buena Borough – 8; Egg Harbor City – 4; Egg Harbor Twp. – 29 and 3 deaths; Galloway – 20; Hamilton – 13; Hammonton – 7; Linwood – 7; Longport – 2; Margate – 1; Northfield – 2; Pleasantville – 13; Somers Point – 5; Ventnor – 9; and Weymouth - 1