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Health

Posted on: July 22, 2021

COVID-19 Update - July 22, 2021

In New Jersey, the numbers of new COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths remain low; however, the rate of transmission is fluctuating between 1.08 and 1.50.

COVID-19 Activity

Nationally, the number of new infections has decreased sharply. In New Jersey, the numbers of new COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths remain low.   

The rate of transmission in NJ is now fluctuating between 1.08 and 1.50. Anything above 1.00 is considered concerning. The higher the number, the greater the risk of viral spread throughout the community. As of July 21, 2021, four (4) of the six (6) regions of the State are classified as  MODERATE (yellow) COVID Activity. Only the Southeast and Northwest Regions of the State remain in the LOW (green) COVID Activity Classification. For the latest Statewide and Regional COVID Activity Reports and Risk Level by Region, which is usually published each Thursday, please click the following link: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/statistics/covid/  

The rate of new COVID infections in all of the municipalities within the Pequannock Health Department’s jurisdiction remains low.    

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

  • Many within the population who remain unvaccinated
  • COVID outbreaks involving more contagious variants of COVID (the vaccine appears to be highly effective against most variants, including the highly contagious India (Delta) Variant, especially for protecting against hospitalizations and deaths) 
  • Lifted or relaxed restrictions and protective precautions

The Delta Variant and its Sub-variants

The Delta COVID Variant and its sub-variants, now accounts for roughly 70% of new COVID infections in the United Sates. This has been doubling each week for the last few weeks and it is now the dominant strain. It is nearly twice as contagious as the UK variant, which is approximately 40% more contagious than the original COVID strain. 

The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from Delta is to get fully vaccinated. That means if you get a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna, for example, you must get both shots and then it will take at least a two-week period after the second shot for the vaccine to provide the maximum level of immunity. Whether or not you are vaccinated, it’s important to follow CDC prevention guidelines that are available for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

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 County Health Department COVID Website. 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:

https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_dashboard.shtml

Statewide and Regional COVID Activity Report and Risk Level by Region:

https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/statistics/covid/

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

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

Updated COVID-19 Vaccination Information 

The Vaccine is SAFE and HIGHLY EFFECTIVE, including against the Delta and other COVID Variants that have emerged. 

Get Vaccinated to Protect your Family, Friends and Community. An Abundance of Appointments are Available, It’s Quick and Easy! (Please See the Attached Fact Sheet Flyers about the Safety of the Vaccine)

The impact of the pandemic on every sector of our society has been devastating. While the COVID pandemic remains with us, and should rising numbers of infection emerge through the unvaccinated population, the return to a normal, fully open, and healthy society could be delayed. The impact of this would continue to prolong the dire threats to public health that have been observed over the last year. These impacts have included increased rates of suicide, drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, emotional and psychological distress, among other negative impacts. The quicker this pandemic is eradicated, the quicker our nation will heal and grow.  The greatest way to do this, is through vaccination. 

Though millions of Americans have been vaccinated and the COVID rate of transmission has rapidly declined, the demand for the vaccine has begun to wane. This is concerning, as we are still not quite where we should be to insulate ourselves from the potential of higher infection rates and the COVID variants that are emerging. The importance of getting more than 70% of the population vaccinated as quickly as possible, cannot be overstated.  

For more information on the progress of New Jersey’s vaccination program, please follow these links: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine and for the NJDOH COVID Dashboard: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_dashboard.shtml

  • Eligibility- Vaccines are now available to everyone 18 and older. Those who are 12 to 17 years of age  are also eligible, but only with Pfizer vaccine, at this time. 

There are Multiple Ways to Get Vaccinated. Appointment Based or Walk-up clinics are Now Easily Accessible

  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.
  • Morris County Mega Vaccine Center – Sears Building, Rockaway Townsquare Mall has closed  as of July 16, 2021.

Atlantic Health System Vaccination Centers

  • 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. 

Chain Pharmacies, Mega Vaccination Centers and Other Outlets have Enough Vaccine to Meet the Demand. Vaccine Supply is Plentiful and Appointments are Easy to Get. Please Get Vaccinated!

  • The  vaccine supply is in abundance in NJ. The pause of Johnson and Johnson Vaccinehas been lifted.  
  • Many Healthcare Systems and Chain pharmacies, such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart are now allowing walk-ins.  Appointments are still recommended. 
  • Important Tips that Might be Helpful: 
  • Get Vaccinated! The three approved vaccines were developed with an extraordinarily  high level of safety and efficacy. The pause on Johnson and Johnson Vaccine has been lifted. It is considered to have an extremely high level of safety. Vaccine appointments are readily  available, and appointments are easy to schedule.Continue practicing COVID safety precautions.  
  • Attempt to make appointments at the vaccination centers of your choice from the list provided on the NJDOH website, at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_vaccination.shtml. and/or walk-in at most chain pharmacy locations.   
  • 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.

If You Have Additional Questions or Need More Information

Vaccinations for Homebound

The Johnson and Johnson single shot vaccine has been approved and secured for this program. This program has been reinitiated now that the pause on Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been lifted. 

Those who are homebound should contact the following:

Morris County Residents

The Morris County Aging & Disability Resource Connection: 973-285-6848

The Morris County Homebound COVID-19 Vaccination Program: 973-326-7828

COVID-19 Testing

At-Home Testing

Morris County will provide At-Home COVID test via pixel by Lab Corps,  for symptomatic individuals who are unable to leave their homes. See 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.

In Person Testing at CCM is no longer in operation as of July 16, 2021

Quarantine Protocols for those who’ve been exposed to someone who Tested COVID Positive or for those who’ve been Fully Vaccinated

1. For close contacts of an individual confirmed positive, a 14-day quarantine is preferred for all individuals and groups, where feasible. It is the safest standard. 

There are certain narrow circumstances of economic or other hardships that might allow for quarantine periods to be reduced to 7 or 10 days a set forth in the applicable CDC/NJDOH Guidance. *Now that the State is at the MODERATE (yellow) COVID Activity classification or the LOW (green) COVID Activity Classification,  many institutions and organizations have widened the circumstances under which they will permit the abbreviated quarantine time frames. Some may choose to adopt the abbreviated time frames as policy, in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the CDC and NJDOH. (See the “Definition of Close Contact” section below)*  

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: Vaccinated persons should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others, including 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.) Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

Persons who do not meet 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 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

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) has established criteria for what constitutes a “Close Contact” to someone who is a COVID-19 positive individual. It is defined as – “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. (see above)

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 reduced contact tracing staff because of the sharp decrease in COVID activity. 

School and University Operations While Addressing COVID-19 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. Many institutions of higher learning are requiring students to be fully COVID Vaccinated in order to be permitted on campus. Pfizer has received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA to allow vaccinations of those who are 12 years of age and up. Those under 12 may also become eligible soon. Other vaccines are undergoing clinical trials for those under 18 and may soon also receive an EUA from the FDA. State vaccination mandates for students under 18 years of age are not expected. 

Attendance at Gatherings

The public should continue to be diligent about the following while enjoying activities, especially if not fully vaccinated:

  • Distancing six or more feet where applicable
  • Wearing masks/face coverings when appropriate
  • Practicing hand hygiene
  • Avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces
  • Staying home when symptomatic
  • 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

While the NJDOH has lifted its travel advisory for domestic travel, the CDC travel guidelines are still in effect. Both the CDC and NJDOH International Travel Advisories are still in effect. 

Unvaccinated travelers and residents returning from any U.S. state or territory beyond the immediate region (New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) should follow the recommendations from the CDC:

For more CDC/NJDOH Travel Advisory Information please follow the links below:

NJDOH

https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/travel-and-transportation/are-there-travel-restrictions-to-or-from-new-jersey

CDC

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html

Executive Orders

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 complete information, please refer to the entire contents of the Executive Orders and Executive Directives listed at the links below.

Please see the link below for all Executive Orders to date:

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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