COVID-19 Updates from Mercer County

BUSINESS ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE DURING HEALTH CRISIS

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said he understands the difficult situation that the Mercer County business community faces in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the Mercer County Office of Economic Development is working with its partners on a variety of different incentives to provide assistance.

“Due to the pandemic, employers have had to make the difficult decision of laying off their staff or face imminent closure,” Mr. Hughes said. “Through our most recent partnership with the UCEDC, we are confident that financial assistance can be dedicated to our Capital Region immediately.”

The UCEDC Crisis Relief Loan Program will now offer a low-interest, quick-response, working capital loan program in response to COVID-19. Small-business owners can borrow up to $15,000 at 2 percent for up to five years with no collateral requirements to meet their COVID-19 crisis needs. The Crisis Relief Loan Program expands on a new partnership between the UCEDC and County of Mercer. That partnership was bolstered by the Board of Chosen Freeholders’ recent approval of the Mercer County Business Lending Program, which will offer a variety of loans and assistance to county businesses.

The Crisis Relief Loan Program is designed to provide broad access to much-needed working capital. The program features a quick turnaround (after completing the application requirements), no collateral requirements, no pre-payment penalties, and no processing or application fees.

The specific eligibility requirements can be found on the Mercer County Economic Development and UCEDC web pages. Apply online by filling out a Loan Pre-Qualification Form or speak to a loan officer directly at 908-527-1166.

Mr. Hughes said the county also is engaging with other resources through its partnerships at the federal and state level.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan offered under the Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Assistance Program provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. SBA disaster loans can be used to repair or replace items caused by this pandemic including real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets. For more information, please visit: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

“The Mercer County Office of Economic Development will continue to post opportunities and resources on its web page,” Mr. Hughes said. “We’ll make every effort to guide Mercer County businesses and industries throughout this pandemic and help them make a quick recovery.”

MEDICAL RESERVE CORPS

County Executive Hughes said that people who are interested in assisting their community during a crisis should consider joining the Mercer County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).

The Mercer County MRC unit invites any licensed health care professional, professional or retired, who lives or works in Mercer County and any community volunteer who lives or works in Mercer County who has an interest in health and emergency preparedness issues to join. MRC volunteers supplement existing emergency and public health resources to prepare for and respond to emergencies at a local level. All volunteers receive free training.

Sign up to be an MRC volunteer by creating an account on the New Jersey Learning Management Network. CLICK HERE for instructions. For more information, contact Stephanie Mendelsohn at 609-989-6898 or smendelsohn@mercercounty.org.

SYMPTOMS

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Call ahead to a health care professional if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your health care professional about your recent travel or contact. Your health care professional will work with the State Health Department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

For more information on preventing the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html

PREVENTIVE MEASURES

Everyone can play a part in responding to this rapidly evolving public health crisis. It is currently flu and respiratory disease season and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a flu vaccine and taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs. This includes:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Practice social distancing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect recently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

More information from the CDC: How to Protect Yourself.

WHAT IS COVID-19?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which has now been detected in more than 150 locations internationally, including cases in the United States. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).

CURRENT STATUS

The New Jersey Department of Health on March 23 announced 435 new positive cases, bringing the total of positive cases in the state to 2,844, with 27 deaths. The most positive cases are in Bergen County, which has 609; Mercer County has 50. Visit the New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard  for more information.

The CDC on March 23 announced a total of 33,404 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and a total of 400 deaths, with 54 locations (50 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands) reporting cases. This includes both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 reported to CDC or tested at CDC since Jan. 21, 2020. State and local public health departments are now testing and publicly reporting their cases.

The federal government has been working closely with state and local partners, as well as public health partners, to respond to this public health threat. Unprecedented, aggressive efforts have been taken to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of this virus.

This is a rapidly evolving situation. CDC will continue to update the public as circumstances warrant.  For more information about COVID-19 visit www.mercercounty.org/covid-19.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Have general questions about COVID-19? — The NJ Poison Control Center and 211 have partnered with the state to provide information to the public on COVID-19Call 2-1-1 or call (24/7) 1-800-962-1253; or text NJCOVID to 898-211; or text your ZIP code to 898-211 for live text assistance; or visit covid19.nj.gov for additional information.

Coping with Stress. Stress and anxiety are real emotions during unsettling times. The Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health offer good advice on how to deal with heightened emotions. If you or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517).

For handouts and posters on the coronavirus to share with your coworkers, family and friends, please visit the CDC at:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/factsheets.html

Information for Travel. At this time, the CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to China, Iran, most European countries, United Kingdom and Ireland, Malaysia, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Israel, Thailand and Turkey. Updated travel information specific to COVID-19 can be found at:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

We will present you with updated information as it becomes available to us at Mercer County, and we assure you that we will actively collaborate with our partners in health at the state and federal levels.

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