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Posted on: April 26, 2021

COVID-19 Vaccination & COVID-19 Update: April 23, 2021

Please see the Pequannock Health Department’s latest COVID-19 update, below.

New Jersey has developed an extensive network of vaccination sites to serve those currently eligible for vaccination. There have been sharp increases in supply to NJ over the last few weeks. At this time, there are over 250 vaccination centers across the State. Many are now at  or close to their maximum throughput capacity. The State has expanded vaccination centers to include more chain pharmacy locations, various hospitals, medical offices. However, the State will not authorize additional vaccine providers, vaccination centers, or clinics for the foreseeable future. Opening additional, locations at this time are not necessary to the overall effort. Therefore, the strategy is to provide a steady and reliable supply of vaccine to all of the existing sites, expanded chain pharmacy locations, various hospitals, medical offices and the mega-centers. Local health departments are trained to support the mega-sites and other existing sites, where possible. 

The vaccination effort continues to unfold, rapidly. For more information on the progress of the effort and other aspects of New Jersey’s vaccination program, please follow this link: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine

Determining If You Are Eligible to Receive One of the Approved Vaccines

Beginning on April, 19th, vaccines are now available to everyone 18 and older. Those who are 16 to 17 years of age  are also eligible, but only with Pfizer vaccine. Trials with other vaccines are underway for those as young as 12 years old, and they may be approved for use in these younger age groups in the coming weeks or months.   

If you are eligible to receive a vaccine, there are multiple ways to get vaccinated:

  1. Pre-register and make an appointment through the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System. Register here.
  • You will first be notified when you become eligible for the vaccine and you will be notified again when an appointment is available to you through the scheduling system.
  • This online portal enables eligible individuals to schedule an appointment when one is available.
  • If you experience an error, need support with the scheduling system, or need to correct an error, you can complete an online form at covid19.nj.gov/vaccinehelp or call 855-568-0545 for phone support from 8 am to 8 pm. Due to high call volumes, callers are experiencing long wait times.
  1. Make an appointment directly with a vaccination location. View locations here.
  2. If you work or volunteer at a select healthcare facility, make an appointment through your place of work.
  3. Veterans who receive care from VA health facilities or live in VA long-term care facilities may be eligible for vaccines through the VA. Learn more here.

Note: If you make your first dose appointment by booking directly with a vaccine clinic, you should schedule a second dose appointment when you have your first appointment. If you did not receive a second dose appointment at the time of receiving your first dose, you need to contact the site where you received your first vaccine for assistance scheduling the second dose.

Six mega sites throughout New Jersey are serving as vaccination hubs for phased priority groups, part of a critical network of over 250 sites tasked with carrying out the State's COVID-19 vaccination plan fairly and equitably. The following mega-vaccination centers opened in January and are now each processing thousands of appointments per day:

  • Atlantic County: Atlantic City Convention Center (opened 1/22/21)
  • Bergen County: Racetrack at Meadowlands, East Rutherford (opened 1/22/21)
  • Burlington County: Moorestown Mall (opened 1/15/21)
  • Gloucester County: Rowan College of South Jersey, Sewell (opened 1/8/21)
  • Middlesex County: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, Edison (opened 1/15/21)
  • Morris County: Rockaway Townsquare (opened 1/11/21)

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 CountyMega 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. 
  • 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 at (atlantichealth.org/covidvaccine)  
  • 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.

Vaccine Supply to NJ has Increased Substantially to Chain Pharmacies, Mega Vaccination Centers and Other Outlets, and Vaccine Supply is now Beginning to Meet the Demand.  

The  vaccine supply in NJ has increased substantially. The use of Johnson and Johnson Vaccine has been paused since April 12, but it has not disrupted the supply chain. 

  • The Mega-Centers are consistently at full vaccine capacity and they continue to expand maximum capacity. 
  • Chain pharmacies, such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and others, are prioritized and have been receiving much greater supply of the vaccine. They are now providing a much higher volume of appointments to those who are eligible.   
  • .Important Tips that Might be Helpful: 
  • Get Vaccinated! The three approved vaccines were developed with an extraordinarily  high level of safety and efficacy. The use of Johnson and Johnson Vaccine has been paused since April 12, but it is still considered to have an extremely high level of safety. The pause has not disrupted the vaccination effort nor has it impacted the supply of vaccine.  
  • Vaccine appointments are much more available, so be patient and keep trying. There is a high probability that appointments can be found with much less effort than just a few short weeks ago. 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, at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_vaccination.shtml
  • 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 some instances, this practice is not 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 in short supply 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. 
  • NJ 65 and older Vaccination Senior Support Line 856-249-7007 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for vaccination scheduling support. Dedicated appointment slots are reserved for those aged 65 and older. Appointment availability and scheduling varies by location.
  • 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 through the NJVSS system. High call volume may cause long wait times on hold.

If You Have Additional Questions or Need More Information

Only Johnson and Johnson Vaccine has been approved and secured for this program. This program is currently halted until the pause on Johnson and Johnson vaccine is lifted. 

Anti-Viral Treatments

Anti-Viral Therapies Continue to be approved and they have become more available at Healthcare Facilities Across the Country

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

https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/counterterrorism-and-emerging-threats/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

COVID-19 Activity

Nationally, the number of new infections is decreasing. In New Jersey, the numbers of new COVID infections and hospitalizations are trending downward. The numbers of deaths are declining. 

The rate of transmission in NJ is fluctuating in recent weeks between .90 and 1.10  Anything above 1.0 is considered concerning. The higher the number, the greater the risk of viral spread throughout the community. As of April 23, 2021, five of the six regions of the State are now classified as HIGH (Orange) COVID Activity, but it should be noted that the trends are heading in the right direction. The Central West Region has fallen into the  MODERATE (yellow) COVID Activity classification. The rate of new COVID infections in all of the municipalities within the Pequannock Health Department’s jurisdictions are declining.   

The spread of COVID  is largely driven by the following factors: 

  • Household contacts
  • Workplaces where precautions are not properly observed
  • Moderate or large gatherings without precautions in place
  • Travel
  • COVID outbreaks involving more contagious variants of COVID (the vaccine appears to be effective against the UK Variant and might appear to have marginal protection against the South African and Brazilian Variants) 
  • Pandemic fatigue causing people to abandon basic precautions

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 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. 

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 at https://health.morriscountynj.gov/coronavirus/.

  • 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

Quarantine Timeframes Including for those who’ve been Tested COVID Positive or those who’ve been Fully Vaccinated

1. A 14-day quarantine is preferred for all individuals and groups where feasible. There are certain narrow circumstances of economic or other hardships that might allow for quarantine periods to be reduced to 7 or 10 days.

2. Persons not needing to quarantine: 

 A. COVID-19 positive (lab-confirmed viral test) within 3 months: Persons who tested positive for COVID-19 (lab-confirmed viral test), clinically recovered from COVID-19 and then have close contact with someone with COVID-19 within 3 months does not need to be quarantined or retested. However, persons who have close contact with someone with COVID-19 more than 3 months after the initial infection should quarantine.  

B. Fully Vaccinated Persons within 3 months: Vaccinated persons should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, following CDC travel guidance, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance, including guidance related to personal protective equipment use and SARS-CoV-2 testing. However, fully vaccinated persons who have close contact with someone with COVID-19 do NOT need to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:       

          1.) Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine), AND 

          2.) Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series, AND 

          3.) Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine during the 3 month period described in 2. B. above, should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If they experience symptoms, they should be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, including SARS-CoV-2 testing, if indicated.   

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. 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 for a period of not less than 14 days.  

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. 

School and University 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, when COVID cases have increased, classes or schools have suspended in-person instruction for 14 day quarantine periods, when spread within the school population exceeds CDC and NJDOH guidelines. Updated K thru 12 guidance may be found at https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/covid2019_schools.shtml

Attendance at Crowded Gatherings Increases Risk of COVID Transmission

It cannot be overstated 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 as well ventilated as the outdoors, and these indoor spaces may make it difficult to socially distance properly. Smaller social interactions, especially indoors, while not practicing safety precautions, may also present a higher risk of transmission.

It is advised that indoor gatherings be limited in a manner that conforms with current NJDOH/CDC guidelines.  

As of Friday, April 2nd, New Jersey’s general outdoor gathering limit increased from 50 people to 200 people. Outdoor gatherings that are religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, or memorial services continue to not have any limit. In addition, venues with a seating capacity of 2,500 or more are permitted to host events at 20 percent capacity indoors and 30 percent capacity outdoors. See Executive Order 234 for more details. (Link provided below in Executive Order Section)

The number of individuals at indoor gatherings that are not religious services or celebrations, political activities, wedding ceremonies, funerals, or memorial services shall be limited to 25 persons. See Executive Order 230 for more details. (Link provided below in Executive Order Section)

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 

Travel Increases Risk of COVID Transmission

New Jersey continues to strongly discourage all non-essential interstate travel at this time.

Unvaccinated travelers and residents returning from any U.S. state or territory beyond the immediate region (New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging following recommendations from the CDC:

  • If travel is unavoidable, travelers should consider getting tested with a viral test (not an antibody test) 1-3 days before the trip and again 3-5 days after the trip.
  • If travelers test positive, they should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should postpone travel during that time.
  • If travelers test negative, they should quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
  • If testing is not available (or if the results are delayed), travelers should quarantine for 10 days after travel.

You no longer need to quarantine or get tested before/after domestic travel if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months, provided that:

  • It has been more than two weeks since you received your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine;
  • It has been more than two weeks since your received your first and only dose of the Janssen/Johnson and Johnson vaccine; or,
  • You have clinically recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months

Information on NJDOH Travel Advisory 

Executive Orders

  • Executive Order 234-  Governor Murphy Announces Increased Outdoor Gathering Limits and Increased Capacity for Large Venues
  • Executive Order 230-  Governor Murphy Announces Increased Capacity Limits for Indoor Businesses and Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings

Please note, Executive Orders may be issued by the Governor at any time to establish or relax restrictions on certain businesses, social activities and gatherings. For up to date and more detailed information, please refer to the entire contents of the Executive Orders and Executive Directives listed 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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