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Heroes in the Age of Panic: First-Responders

Adam Hernandez, Staff Writer

December of 2019 marked an unsuspecting end to an era of political and cultural anxiety and an unprecedented start to a new decade. 

In Wuhan, China, the capital city of the Hubei Province, reported cases of a particularly virulent case of coronavirus had made a mark on its neighboring localities. Climbing fevers, severe respiratory distress, followed in many instances by the death of “at-risk” individuals (people of an older age with underlying health issues and those with chronic respiratory compromisations, like asthma) placed the country on high alert. As hospitals and healthcare professionals struggled to maintain a grip on the progressively worsening situation, the world was forced to take notice. 

It wasn’t long before the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic following a month-long observation of the disease’s spread and issued relevant information on symptoms and preventative measures, hoping to expedite its containment. As it stands the coronavirus or COVID-19, has traveled thousands of miles, seemingly in an instant, through both Eastern and Western Hemispheres, only leaving death and uncertainty in its wake. With hospitals flooded with suffering patients, victims quarantined and responders in the medical field working day and night to combat the deadly disease, many in Bergen County have been left to wonder what else can be done.

Our nation’s first responders, public safety professionals dedicated to providing frontline assistance in cases of emergency, have been working around the clock to stay on top of the growing number of “positive” cases of COVID-19. As of April 11, Bergen County alone has over 9,000 known cases of the virus, with paramedics and EMTs providing bulk coverage to those afflicted by its severe symptomatology. 

With medical supplies dwindling across the state and effective treatment still experimental, professional presence cannot be understated. At the risk of exposure, Bergen County has done its best to streamline both response times and transitions to proper medical facilities through the use of testing centers and helplines. In addition, police officers have been specially trained to respond to distress calls, working alongside fire departments that specialize in site sterilization. 

In Bergen County, BCC has moved all of its classes online and is using the facility to house testing for COVID-19 every other day, starting Mondays, while the New Bridge Medical Center, located at 230 East Ridgewood Ave., houses another testing site.

As Bergen County continues to fight against the growing pandemic, The Torch urges those that can donate money towards relief or personal protective equipment like gloves, masks and protective gear to assist the men and women who are assisting you. Also to remember to practice social distancing, to be aware of certain contact and to stay disciplined with personal hygiene, to flatten the curve and prevent the spread.

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