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The original item was published from 1/27/2021 7:14:13 PM to 3/1/2021 11:00:10 AM.

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Health

Posted on: January 27, 2021

[ARCHIVED] COVID-19 Advisory: January 27, 2021 Update - Vaccine, Activity & Testing

Please see "Additional info..." below for up to date information on the COVID-19 Vaccine, COVID-19 Activity, and COVID-19 testing.

Vaccination Information 


The Governor announced that effective January 14, 2021, additional groups have been authorized to receive the vaccine. The eligible priority groups now include healthcare workers, police and fire personnel, adults 65 and over, and persons aged 16-64 with specific medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19. 

In order to have a chance at getting a vaccination appointment, please follow the links, read the instructions, and review the information provided below. Vaccine is scarce and it could take time to get an appointment. Please attempt to register and make appointments at any vaccination center listed that is of interest.  

There are many variables, such as the amount of available vaccine, the available workforce, and the number of participating vaccination sites, in addition to many other extremely complex, logistical issues. Those in the eligible priority groups are asked to remain patient, as it could take weeks for appointments to become available at vaccination centers. 

The NJDOH Vaccination Webpage Offers an Opportunity to those in the Eligible Priority Group(s) to Schedule Appointments at Participating Sites that are listed on the NJDOH Vaccine Information Page Website


The NJDOH vaccination information page has lots of valuable, updated information on COVID-19 vaccinations and allows for individuals to pre-register for vaccine. Pre-registration  does not reserve or hold vaccine for the registrant. Registrants must attempt to make appointments on their own at any of the sites listed on the NJDOH vaccination information page

Please follow this link to the New Jersey Department of Health vaccine information page, which is updated regularly with the newest information available. It includes information about the following: 

  • Details about the different vaccines that have been developed, approved, and deployed
  • The definition of the priority groups now authorized as of January 14th to receive vaccine. Please see the attached document for details . This includes healthcare workers, sworn police, EMT and fire personnel; adults 65 and over, persons aged 16-64 with specific medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19. 
  • Registering and finding appointments- Under the “Getting Vaccinated” heading on the right side of the webpage, there is a list of vaccination sites where those in the eligible priority group(s) can get vaccinated. This list of sites is expected to expand as the vaccine becomes more available. Those who belong to priority groups that are eligible to receive the vaccine, as described above, may make an appointment from the list of those locations that are offering vaccinations. Vaccine and appointments are extremely limited. 
  • A telephone call center has been established for those who have difficulty utilizing the internet or have questions about registering or scheduling  appointments. The call center phone number is (855) 568-0545  and it is posted on this NJDOH website. Please note, it is important that those interested in receiving vaccine have access to email capabilities. If not, they should seek this capability to receive and send emails through friends, family, neighbors, caretakers, etc.. In the coming weeks, the call center may eventually have the capability to assist callers in making appointments directly at vaccination  centers that have vaccine available. 
  • Insurance information is requested in the pre-registration portal, but no cost for the vaccination will be passed on to the consumer, regardless of the type of insurance, or the lack thereof. 

Morris County Mega Vaccine Center 


Residency in Morris County is not required for this Vaccination Center. At this time, COVID vaccinations at this, or any site, are for the eligible priority groups specified above, only

Registration Instructions for Eligible Priority Groups at the Mega Vaccination Center, Sears Building, Rockaway Townsquare Mall – This site requires those seeking vaccinations at this location to register directly with this vaccination center.   

  • Please use the link https://bit.ly/3onkSkC to register and schedule an appointment at the Morris County Mega Vaccination Center. For those who are unable to schedule an appointment because none are available, additional appointments will be released as allocations of the vaccine are received. 
  • A telephone call center for this site has been established. The number phone number is 973-829-8259. Those who have difficulty utilizing the internet or have questions about the center, registration or scheduling  appointments at this vaccination center are welcome to call. The call center phone number is posted on the Morris County Division of Health website.
  • The Morris County Mega Vaccination Center is a collaborative effort of Atlantic Health System, Morris County, and the State of New Jersey. It’s located inside the former Sears building at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, in Rockaway. Sign up for additional COVID-19 information and vaccine updates from Atlantic Health System.
  • No one will be permitted to walk in to a facility without authorization and no vaccine will be provided to individuals who show up unannounced.

Additional Atlantic Health System Vaccination Centers 

  • Additional Atlantic Health System Vaccination Centers are open in Clark, Hackettsown, Morristown, Mountain Lakes, Newton and Pompton Plains.
  • Go to the following link to make an appointment, or sign up for alerts: atlantichealth.org/covidvaccine . Additional COVID-19 information and vaccine updates from Atlantic Health System are also available on this webpage. 
  • No one will be permitted to walk into a facility without authorization and no vaccine will be provided to individuals who show up unannounced.

Important Tips that Might be Helpful

  • First, be patient! The speed in which two vaccines were developed with a high level of safety and 95% efficacy is a miracle of modern medicine. Waiting weeks to find an appointment certainly isn’t waiting years for a viable vaccine, which is normally what should be expected. For the next several weeks, it is likely that most sites will not have appointments available, as vaccine supply is scarce. Be emotionally prepared for this likelihood. Continue practicing COVID safety precautions.  
  • Those who are in the eligible priority groups, as described above, should attempt to make appointments at the vaccination centers of their choice from the list provided on the NJDOH website.
  • Many of the vaccination centers listed may have a link to their own registration and appointment portals.  It may be helpful to go to every vaccination site’s link for which you have an interest, and register or attempt to make an appointment, until you are successful. 
  • In most cases, you do not need to be a resident in the town or county where the vaccination centers on the list are located. Some vaccine centers are geographically restricting access by town or county. In many instances, this would not be consistent with Federal and State guidelines. The State has notified all sites accordingly, to make this clear. 
  • Some of the sites that do not have vaccine appointments available will only ask that you try again at another time, but others may allow you to register and will send a follow –up email notifying you when they do receive vaccine and have appointments available. 
  • Please check your emails frequently and immediately attempt to make an appointment as soon as this type of email notification is received. Vaccine is scarce and the limited number of available appointments will be booked up very quickly.   
  •  Please note, it is important that those interested in receiving vaccine have access to email capabilities. If not, they should seek this capability to receive and send emails through friends, family, neighbors, caretakers, etc. 
  • In addition to these efforts, periodically check with the NJDOH telephone call center for assistance in finding or making appointments. The call center phone number is (855) 568-0545. In the coming weeks, the call center may eventually have the capability to assist callers with making appointments at the various vaccination centers where vaccine may be available, at that time.

Stay Up-To-Date on the Latest Vaccination Information 

For more information on the “mega-sites,” read the New Jersey Department of Health press release.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations, go to the New Jersey Department of Health vaccine information page.

For more information and updates about the Morris County vaccination effort, go to the County's COVID-19 webpage.  

For more information about New Jersey’s phased approach to vaccine distribution, refer to this article.

COVID-19 Activity

Nationally, the number of new COVID-19 infections continues to rise dramatically. This is largely attributed to the following:  

  • Cooler weather causing more indoor activities
  • Travel
  • COVID outbreaks internationally, some of which includes a more contagious variant of COVID (the vaccine appears to be effective against this variant) 
  • Pandemic fatigue causing people to abandon basic precautions
  • Increased levels of testing 

In New Jersey, the numbers of new COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths seem to be showing small signs of stabilizing. The hospitalizations and deaths are still in much lower proportion to the total number of infections, from what was experienced during the first wave in the spring of 2020. 

The rate of transmission in NJ is fluctuating in recent weeks between .90 and 1.30.  Anything above 1.0 is considered concerning. The higher the number, the greater the risk of viral spread throughout the community.

As of January 26, 2021, all six regions of the State remain classified as HIGH (Orange) COVID Activity. Within all of the Pequannock Health Department’s jurisdictions, the number of new COVID cases continues to sustain a high rate of new infections. However, there is a small indication that the peak levels are stabilizing and might be falling. It’s still too early to know if this is a trend.  

Please note, the daily cumulative numbers of infected individuals displayed by municipality in the Morris County link below are subject to fluctuate. At times, a percentage of cases are assigned to the wrong municipalities. Also, labs sometimes mistakenly enter the healthcare provider’s address rather than the patients’ addresses, which may skew the numbers to some extent. Corrections are made over time, as these inaccuracies are discovered. However, it should be emphasized, that the trends illustrated by the data are generally accurate. 

Please see the links below for the NJDOH COVID Activity Dashboard, the NJ Regional COVID Activity Reports and the links to the Morris and Passaic County Health Department COVID Websites. Morris County links include daily updates of cumulative numbers of cases by municipality and the COVID Activity and Risk Level in each of the State’s six regions. All six regions are now categorized at high risk of spread (orange), just as it has been for the last several weeks. 

NJDOH Dashboard

Statewide and Regional COVID Activity Report and Risk Level by Region

Morris County-Based COVID Information including Data for Total Positive Cases by Municipality and COVID Testing Availability

COVID-19 Testing

At-Home Testing

Morris County has transitioned away from the Vault At-Home testing option, however, please be advised that symptomatic individuals who are unable to leave their homes will still have the ability to order an At-Home COVID test via pixel by Lab Corps, which will remain posted on the Morris County website

  • Only Morris County residents are eligible
  • You will be asked to provide your health insurance information, but you will not be billed. If you are not insured, your test will still be completed with no cost to you. 

No-Cost In-Person Testing at the County College of Morris (CCM)

Morris County is now offering no-cost, in-person saliva COVID testing at County College of Morris. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9am to 4 pm.   

Requirements

  • You must present proof during the appointment that you live or work in Morris County.
  • You must schedule an appointment to get your test. No walk-ins.
  • You can get a test whether or not you’re experiencing symptoms.
  • Don’t eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes prior to your COVID test.
  • You must wear a mask during your appointment.

Directions and Precautions

Parking at CCM for people with appointments will be reserved in Lot 6, where individuals using public transportation to and from CCM also may board or disembark from a bus. To find directions to CCM and learn more about public transportation options to and from the campus, please go to the CCM website.

List of Testing Sites in Morris County

Anti-Viral Treatments

Anti-Viral Therapies Continue to be Approved and they have Become More Available at Healthcare Facilities Across the Country

On October 22, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the antiviral drug Veklury (remdesivir) for use in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) for the treatment of COVID-19 requiring hospitalization. The FDA states that Veklury should only be administered in a hospital or in a healthcare setting capable of providing acute care comparable to inpatient hospital care. Veklury is the first treatment for COVID-19 to receive FDA approval. 

On November 21, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for casirivimab and imdevimab to be administered together for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age or older weighing at least 40 kilograms [about 88 pounds]) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19. This includes those who are 65 years of age or older or who have certain chronic medical conditions.

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight off harmful pathogens such as viruses. Casirivimab and imdevimab are monoclonal antibodies that are specifically directed against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, designed to block the virus’ attachment and entry into human cells.

For additional information about COVID vaccines, therapeutics and Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) please see the FDA and CDC links below:

FDA Site

CDC Vaccines Index

CDC Vaccines FAQ

Contact Tracing and Disease Investigation

The NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) has provided additional contact tracers to our local Health Department from the State work force. They support the operation while under the direction of the Pequannock Health Department’s nurse supervisors. The Department has recently received  additional contact tracers to assist in our jurisdiction. 

Revised Definition of Close Contact to a COVID Positive Individual

Effective as of  October 22, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) updated their criteria for what is now considered a “Close Contact” in regards to someone’s exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual. As you were made aware in past communications, the previous definition of a “Close Contact” by the NJDOH  was any individual 6 feet or closer to a COVID-19 positive individual for 10 consecutive minutes. This definition has now been changed by the NJDOH to read – “a total of 15 minutes or more of close contact exposure (6 feet or closer) to an infected person during a 24-hour period”. Those who have been determined to be a close contact to a COVID -19 positive individual must quarantine or a period of not less than 14 days. This remains unchanged. 

School Operations While Addressing COVID Outbreaks

The Pequannock Health Department is working closely with these institutions to contact trace, investigate, isolate, and quarantine individuals to quickly contain any spread of the COVID-19 virus that may be identified within these institutions. In many cases, as COVID cases have increased, classes or certain schools have suspended in-person instruction for 14 day quarantine periods or while performing investigations to ascertain the level of spread, when spread within the school population exceeds or may exceed CDC and NJDOH guidelines. 

Attendance at Crowded Gatherings and Travel Increase Risk of COVID Transmission

During the winter and as we are now in cold and flu season, it cannot be stressed enough that large, crowded gatherings, especially indoor or in closed tents, where social distancing isn't being practiced and where face masks aren't being worn when necessary, are in part contributing to the spread of COVID-19. This is especially true at parties or large events where eating and drinking precludes the use of masks. At certain events music may also be playing loudly, which causes people to get close and project so they can be heard in conversation. Indoor spaces are not be as well ventilated and these spaces may make it difficult to socially distance properly. Another driver is travel and /or  social interactions, especially indoors, while not practicing safety precautions.

It is advised that indoor gatherings be limited to 10 people or less.  

The public must continue to be diligent about the following, while enjoying activities:

  • Distancing six or more feet
  • Wearing masks/face coverings when appropriate
  • Practicing hand hygiene
  • Avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces
  • Staying home when symptomatic
  • Stay away from indoor gatherings or crowds, especially if at a higher risk of serious illness because of age or specific underlying health conditions
  • Following all of the requirements and advisories set forth in the Executive Orders and Executive Directives and Travel Advisories. 
  • Adhering to isolation and quarantine recommendations and orders from the Health Department’s contact tracers and disease investigators  

It is advised that travel be limited.  For more NJDOH Travel Advisory Information please visit the NJ DOH Site

Executive Orders

As the number of COVID cases increase, Executive Orders may be issued by the Governor to place restrictions on certain businesses, social activities and gatherings. For detailed information, please refer to the entire content of the Executive Orders and Executive Directives at the links below.

Additional Links

Please seethe link for all Executive Orders to date:

Please see the link for an up to date list of Executive Directives that the Health Department is responsible to enforce

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