Food Bank of South Jersey Launches Coronavirus (COVID-19) Preparedness Protocols

The Food Bank of South Jersey launches preparedness protocols for the Coronavirus

PENNSAUKEN, NEW JERSEY – In response to the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) the Food Bank of South Jersey – South Jersey’s leading hunger relief organization – has instituted a Coronavirus Preparedness Plan, effective immediately. “The Food Bank of South Jersey, along with Feeding America, is carefully monitoring developments regarding the spread of COVID-19. A Coronavirus Contingency Planning Task Force, led by the Feeding America Disaster Services team and leaders from member food banks across the nation, is actively supporting local food banks, including the Food Bank of South Jersey, as we all prepare to continue our operations and distribute food to the people and communities we serve,” reports Fred C. Wasiak, Food Bank of South Jersey President and CEO.

Implementing Safety Measures

In light of the anticipated continued spread of COVID-19, as reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and leading health organizations and healthcare providers, the Food Bank of South Jersey has launched a Coronavirus Preparedness Plan, which encompasses implementing additional food safety measures, including multiple additional sanitization steps in all food collections and distributions. “We are actively implementing additional, rigorous sanitization protocols to ensure the highest quality safety standards and preventative measures are met in sanitizing and safeguarding our facility and  personnel to protect our South Jersey community during this potential threat,” Wasiak reports.
  • What is COVID-19? The CDC is responding to an outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus that was first detected in China and which has now been detected in almost 90 locations internationally, including in the United States. On January 30, 2020, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people.
  • How is COVID-19 contracted? According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another, within about 6 feet.. Additionally, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • What is the current COVID-19 risk assessment? According to the CDC, for most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. This virus is not currently widespread in the United States, though updates are occurring daily. People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location. Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure. Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 also are at elevated risk of exposure. Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring also are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
“The health, wellness and safety of the food-insecure communities we serve, as well as our employees, partners, agencies and volunteers is of prime focus to us each and every day,” Wasiak reports. “As we prepare for the anticipated spread of COVID-19 throughout the South Jersey region, we take seriously our mission to continue to provide food resources to those most in need, conducting food distribution, food collection and food supplies management upholding the safest and most sanitized and efficient best practices.” Resources: Center for Disease Control, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

ABOUT FOOD BANK OF SOUTH JERSEY

Marking its 35th year in 2020, the Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) is the leader in providing safe and nutritional food to people in need throughout South Jersey. FBSJ distributes food, provides nutrition education and cooking courses, and helps food-insecure families and seniors find sustainable ways to improve their lives. Throughout 2019, FBSJ distributed over 15 million pounds of food, more than 230,000 summer meals and over 17,500 senior food boxes, as well as serving 95 health and wellness programs to more than 11,700 residents. Providing community impact through local support, FBSJ ensures that local donations stay local. FBSJ is a member of Feeding America, our nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. To learn more, visit www.foodbanksj.org.