Second COVID-19 wave on track to outpace the first in Camden County

By KYW Newsradio

SOUTH JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — Coronavirus cases are surging in South Jersey, and Camden County is seeing the largest increases at an alarming rate.

Over the last two weeks, Camden County has reported more than 3,000 new COVID-19 —  larger than any two-week stretch during the entire pandemic.

Wednesday saw a single-day record of 334, followed by more than 300 on Thursday.

At a county news briefing, Dr. Reggie Blaber, executive vice president of Virtua Health, said his five hospitals were on pace to admit more coronavirus patients than ever in the coming weeks.

Last month, about 40 patients were admitted for COVID-19 among the network’s five hospitals. Currently, there are 205, and Blaber said Virtua is bracing to top the springtime peak of 250.

“We are expecting to by far break the record for the number of patients that we saw last spring,” he said, “in the month and the weeks after Thanksgiving and the weeks after the December holidays.”

Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli said private, indoor gatherings appear to be fueling the surge.

“We’re seeing the spread” among at-home gatherings of friends and family, he said, and “it’s immediate family contact. Somebody coming home from college — that’s where a large portion of the spread is happening right now.”

And with COVID-19 fatigue and the lack of an immediately forthcoming vaccine, Blaber insists mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing are the only tools we have to flatten the curve in the meantime.

“We don't really know when the peak will end,” he added, “but we do know that absent a vaccine that is given to all of us, we’re not going to see relief until the spring.”