Like all of you, everyone here at the Barnegat Bay Partnership is adjusting to changes in how we live, work, and yes, even play during the coronavirus pandemic. We want to update you about how the BBP continues to work together during this difficult time, and also share some coronavirus (CV) and CV disease resources you may find helpful.
Continuing Our Work
Ocean County College, our program office location, has transitioned to online instruction for students and “remote business practices” for non-essential employees for the entire spring semester. All campus events this spring, including graduation, have been cancelled.
In accordance with the college’s remote business practices, all BBP staff will be working mostly from home. While some field work has been cancelled or postponed, other field work judged to be low risk (i.e., away from other people and where social distancing between staff and other protective measures can be taken) is continuing for now. We are re-assessing all field work regularly as conditions change and new information becomes available.
The BBP has cancelled all off-campus spring events. The Barnegat Bay Blitz, originally scheduled for the first week of May, is rescheduled for National Estuaries Week, September 19-26. Check our website’s events calendar for the latest information.
We encourage you to stay connected with us and to continue to share information about the bay.
The best way to reach BBP staff during this time is via email. When practical, all BBP committee and other work meetings will be held as scheduled via online services (e.g., WebEx, Skype, Zoom). Don’t forget to check our Facebook page for regular updates and Partnership news.
Finding Information about Coronavirus and CV Disease
Coronavirus cases have been reported throughout New Jersey, including in Ocean and Monmouth counties; comprehensive information and resources available in New Jersey can be found on the NJ Covid-19 Information Hub.
OCC is the location of an Ocean County by-appointment-only coronavirus testing center. Visit the Ocean County Health Department’s website for more information. Individuals with questions should call the Ocean County COVID-19 Hotline at 732-341-9700, ext. 7411, or email [email protected].
See the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Coronavirus page for the latest information on how to take care of yourself and others. For a broader perspective, see the World Health Organization’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic page.
Disinfectants that “kill” coronavirus are listed on an EPA webpage, List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. More than 70 new disinfectants were added to the page recently, bringing the total number of products on the list to more than 350. It is important to note that List N only includes surface disinfectants registered by EPA.
Other disinfection products like hand sanitizers and body wipes are regulated the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Using an EPA-registered product in ways other than what is specified in the label is against the law and unsafe. For information and guidance on alcohol-based hand sanitizer products, please see the FDA’s website.
Environmental Protection during the Pandemic
Learn about how water plant operators keep your water safe on EPA’s Water Utility Resources Website and the Water Environment Federation website. The EPA’s decision to relax some enforcement rules during the epidemic has generated some public concerns; learn more about the policy here.
Environmental protection remains everyone’s responsibility, so please continue to report any environmental problems or suspected violations by calling the NJDEP hotline (1-877-WARNDEP/1-877-9217-6337) or through the WARNDEP website, where a downloadable phone app is available to make reporting easier.
Coping with Stress
Check out these American Red Cross and Center for Disease Control and Prevention webpages for tips on how to cope with stress. One way that works for many of us – getting outside and enjoying nature. So, take a walk, do some gardening, or play with your kids, while being sure to follow social distancing protocols.
Lastly, the Barnegat Bay Partnership wishes you and your loved ones good health during this difficult time. We hope that before too long, we can all be out enjoying the bay together!
Dr. Stan Hales is the director of Barnegat Bay Partnership.