Municipal public health officials are underfunded and understaffed to the point where some were relying on help from Rutgers students to complete their daily tasks last month, The Record reported this week.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“I can assure you that the local health officials are overwhelmed. Some municipalities are in shared services, so they’re covering perhaps two municipalities,” New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli told the newspaper.
“Every day they work tirelessly, boots on the ground, to investigate cases, identify contacts, and take the appropriate public health actions.”
The report also said that at the end of March, students from the Rutgers School of Public Health were deployed to help local officials with their growing workload of interviews and site visits, according to the Persichilli.
Kearny Mayor Al Santos is also quoted, saying “we’ll have to game plan for how to move forward” once the public health emergency is over in New Jersey.
According to a 2016 national survey from National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Garden State ranked in the lowest quarter in the country when tracking spending per person by local health departments.