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The decline in the total Number of new hospitalizations and deaths has stabilized and is significantly lower then other points of the pandemic. New COVID-19 cases are beginning to rise primarily because of the increased transmissibility of Omicron BA.2
The rate of transmission in NJ has increased to 0.98. Any transmission rate above 1.00 is concerning and indicates that each infected person is passing the virus to at least one other person. The higher the number, the greater the risk of viral spread throughout the community. As of April 8, 2022, five of the six regions of the State, including our Northwest Region are in the Moderate (Yellow) COVID Activity Classification. The Southeast Region remains in the Low (Green) COVID Activity Classification.
For the latest Statewide and Regional COVID Activity Report that specifies the Risk Levels by Region (usually updated by the State 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 have fallen rapidly and the sharp decline is expected to continue.
The spread of COVID is largely driven by a combination of the following factors:
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.
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:
The Omicron Variant
The Omicron BA.1 variant has replaced Delta as the dominant strain in the U.S. The Omicron BA.1 accounted for 99% of all sequenced COVID infections in the United States, but that’s now fallen to roughly 55%. The Omicron BA.2 subvariant is approximately 1.5 times more contagious than BA.,1, and now accounts for nearly 50% of all sequenced COVID infections in the United States. It is expected that BA.2 will become the dominant strain and will ultimately displace BA.1 in the coming weeks. The new XE variant which is a variation of Omicron, is currently being monitored. It is important to note that Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 cause a more mild form of COVID-19. Most within the population have some meaningful level of immunity from either past infection or vaccination, which is largely contributing to the more mild nature of the Omicron variant.
Moving Toward an Endemic Phase of the Pandemic
While it is still too early to say definitively, there is a scientific basis to feel some level of optimism that the pandemic is entering into the endemic phase.
An endemic phase basically means that the disease is still present but that it's at a manageable and largely predictable level that is not causing significant disruption in our daily lives. Endemic diseases can be at high levels or lower levels and it is believed by many experts that there is a growing probability that we have an opportunity to actually get to that lower endemic level at soke point this year. At the lower level of the endemic phase, healthcare infrastructure would not be threatened or strained and recommended precautions would not include measures that would disrupt schools, businesses, social activities or daily life in an impactful way.
How to know when COVID-19 is endemic
There is not necessarily an established threshold that dictates when a pandemic becomes endemic. Even with the enormous Omicron BA.1 surge this past winter and now the projected increase from the BA.2 subvariant, there are still encouraging signs connected to endemicity. For the most part, people who were vaccinated and then tested positive had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic. So far, vaccine-based immunity and in many cases, natural immunity from prior infection, appears to provide very broad-based immunity against multiples of variants.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated its guidelines to track COVID-19 risk in communities, which is another shift toward endemicity. Instead of focusing on preventing transmission of the virus, the CDC guidelines aim to minimize severe illness and prevent health care systems from becoming overwhelmed. Taking actions proportionately to increases seen in severe illness and implementing a different set of actions similar to those taken with seasonal influenza year over year when increases in severe illness are not seen, is likely what will be what an endemic COVID phase will look like.
Use of Masks and Other Important Safety Precautions
Please see the link below to the CDC recommendation for the use of masks indoor for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals especially when regional transmission is substantial or high.
Who Should Wear a Mask?
Other Important Precautions
These precautions will help to protect against both the flu and COVID-19:
As no vaccine is 100% effective, people must balance preventive actions to reduce possible transmission and maintain safety. People who have a weakened immune system should discuss whether they should continue precautions with their healthcare provider. The combination of COVID-19 vaccination and continued precautions to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
COVID-19 Testing Options
New Jersey and Vault Medical Services have teamed up to offer at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for any person who believes they need to be tested, with or without symptoms, at no cost.
For more information, please see the Morris County website at https://www.morriscountynj.gov/Residents/Health/Coronavirus/Get-a-Covid-19-Test
As COVID-19 and the Omicron variant continue to impact our community, Atlantic Health System has offered to share important information about how and where to get tested.
To ensure all patients seeking immediate medical care receive the highest level of attention, Atlantic Health System is reminding patients with no symptoms or minor symptoms to refrain from using the emergency department solely as a means to get testing. Please do not use the emergency department at any hospital as a COVID testing facility, unless you are experiencing severe symptoms or need emergency medical care. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, please contact your doctor, dial 911 or visit the emergency department. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms, please consider one of Atlantic Health System’s dedicated testing locations or other community testing sites listed on the following link: https://www.atlantichealth.org/conditions-treatments/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-testing.html
Choosing between a COVID-19 PCR or antigen test can be confusing. Atlantic Health has created the attached graphic to help you choose the right test option for you and your family. COVID-19 testing is available for patients with or without symptoms at specific Atlantic Health locations. Find a community lab, testing center or urgent care testing location near you: https://bit.ly/3uQ9HEI
Booster shots are the best way to improve your protection against COVID-19, and help prevent severe disease. Please see the attached graphic that clearly illustrates booster eligibility. To learn more about booster eligibility and where to get one: bit.ly/3qC2rfN
Doctor’s Urgent Care
Pompton Plains, NJ
Updated COVID-19 Vaccination Information
The vaccine is highly effective in protecting against infection and even more so from severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The impact of the pandemic on every sector of our society has been devastating. These impacts have included increased rates of suicide, drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, emotional and psychological distress, among other negative economic and societal impacts. The quicker this pandemic is eradicated, the quicker our nation will heal and grow. The greatest way to do this is through vaccination.
Whether or not you are vaccinated, it’s important to follow CDC prevention guidelines that are available for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
All three vaccines authorized in the United States are available to everyone 18 and older. Those 5 to 17 years old are only authorized to receive an age-appropriate dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC has recommended that people whose immune systems are moderately to severely compromised should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) at least 28 days after the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or an additional dose of J&J Janssen vaccine at least two months after the primary dose.
People should consult with their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them. As with the mRNA two-dose series and the single dose of J&J Janssen, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.
Booster Shots for All Three Vaccines are Approved and are Highly Effective in Preventing Severe Illness, Hospitalization and Death for all Variants, Including Omicron
The CDC has recommended boosters for all three vaccines be made available and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna mRNA vaccine, to be administered as a single booster dose at least six months after completion of the primary series. The authorization also applies to the J&J Janssen vaccine, to be administered as a single booster dose at least two months after the primary shot.
Those who are eligible include the following:
Individuals 18+ may choose any of the vaccines to serve as their booster, as mixing and matching is considered acceptable. For more information from the CDC about the COVID boosters, please click on the following link:
The recommendation of an additional booster dose is for those over age 50 and certain immunocompromised individuals will enhance protection against severe disease due to COVID-19 and its variants.
Today’s updated recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allow these groups who received an initial mRNA booster dose at least four months ago to be eligible for another mRNA booster. In addition, the CDC also recommended that adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is ready to proceed with this next phase of booster doses and will work with vaccination partners to continue to ensure ease of access such as walk-in availability. To find a vaccination location, visit covid19.nj.gov/finder.
For up-to-date vaccine locations in New Jersey, please visit covid19.nj.gov/finder.
Chain Pharmacies, Healthcare Systems and Other Outlets have Enough Vaccine to Meet the Demand. Vaccine Supply is Plentiful and Appointments are Easy to Get. Please Get Vaccinated and Boosted!
Atlantic Health System Vaccination Centers
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
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 should quarantine for a minimum period as set forth in the Quarantine and Isolation Protocol Section below.
In classroom settings in K through 12 schools, criteria for what constitutes a “Close Contact” is “a total of 15 minutes or more of close contact exposure (3 feet or closer if both have well fitted, properly worn masks) to an infected person during a 24-hour period”. K thru 12 schools have specific guidance unique to those institutions regarding quarantine, isolation and exclusion. The NJDOH guidance and recommendations specific to K thru 12 schools should be consulted. The guidance is available on the COVID-19 Information for Schools website at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_schools.shtml
Quarantine and Isolation Protocols from the NJDOH and the CDC
For Those Who’ve Tested Positive (Isolation) or Those who’ve been Exposed to Someone Who Tested COVID Positive (Quarantine)
Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others.
Who does not need to quarantine?
If you had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine.
You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0). Get tested at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19. If you test positive or develop COVID-19 symptoms, isolate from other people and follow recommendations in the Isolation section below. If you tested positive for COVID-19 with a viral test within the previous 90 days and subsequently recovered and remain without COVID-19 symptoms, you do not need to quarantine or get tested after close contact. You should wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of your last close contact with someone with COVID-19 (the date of last close contact is considered day 0).
Who should quarantine?
If you come into close contact with someone with COVID-19, you should quarantine if you are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines. This includes people who are not vaccinated.
What to do for quarantine:
Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, or wear a well-fitting mask when they need to be around others. People in isolation should stay in a specific “sick room” or area and use a separate bathroom if available. Everyone who has presumed or confirmed COVID-19 should stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms or the day of the positive viral test for asymptomatic persons). They should wear a mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days. People who are confirmed to have COVID-19 or are showing symptoms of COVID-19 need to isolate regardless of their vaccination status. This includes:
What to do for isolation
Learn more about what to do if you are sick and how to notify your contacts.
Ending isolation for people who had COVID-19 and had symptoms
If you had COVID-19 and had symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.
If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test1 towards the end of the 5-day isolation period. Collect the test sample only if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved (loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation). If your test result is positive, you should continue to isolate until day 10. If your test result is negative, you can end isolation, but continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10. Follow additional recommendations for masking and restricting travel as described above.
Please Note: These recommendations on ending isolation do not apply to people with moderate or severe COVID-19 or with weakened immune systems (immunocompromised). See section below for recommendations for when to end isolation for these groups.
Ending isolation for people who tested positive for COVID-19 but had no symptoms
If you test positive for COVID-19 and never develop symptoms, isolate for at least 5 days. Day 0 is the day of your positive viral test (based on the date you were tested) and day 1 is the first full day after the specimen was collected for your positive test. You can leave isolation after 5 full days.
Ending isolation for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 or have a weakened immune system (immunocompromised)
People who are severely ill with COVID-19 (including those who were hospitalized or required intensive care or ventilation support) and people with compromised immune systems might need to isolate at home longer. They may also require testing with a viral test to determine when they can be around others. CDC recommends an isolation period of at least 10 and up to 20 days for people who were severely ill with COVID-19 and for people with weakened immune systems. Consult with your healthcare provider about when you can resume being around other people.
People who are immunocompromised should talk to their healthcare provider about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a well-fitting mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. Close contacts of immunocompromised people – including household members – should also be encouraged to receive all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses to help protect these people.
The NJDOH Communicable Disease Service has also updated COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Local Health Departments for K-12 Schools. This information is available on the COVID-19 Information for Schools website at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_schools.shtml
Contact Tracing and Disease Investigation
The NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) has provided additional contact tracers to our local Health Department from the State contracted work force. They support the operation while under the direction of the Pequannock Health Department’s nurse supervisors.
School and University Operations While Addressing COVID Outbreaks
K thru 12 schools have specific guidance unique to these institutions and is available on the COVID-19 Information for Schools website at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/covid2019_schools.shtml.
While the NJDOH has lifted its travel advisory for travel, the CDC travel guidelines are still recommended for domestic and international travel.
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.
It is strongly recommended that international travelers and residents who have returned to the U.S. from foreign countries follow the recommendations from the CDC.
For more CDC/NJDOH Travel Advisory Information please follow the links below:
Health & Safety Recommendations For Businesses and Workplaces
Last Updated: 09/21/2021
The NJ Department of Health has issued industry-specific health and safety recommendations for:
Businesses have the right to require stricter mask policies, but businesses are not allowed to restrict the use of face masks by their staff, customers, or visitors. Municipalities and counties are also permitted to impose stricter requirements on masking in businesses open to the public.
Social distancing, masking, and other safety measures are still required in high-risk areas such as healthcare settings, public transportation, child care centers, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.
For more safety tips, refer to the CDC's COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
Executive Order 292-Governor Murphy Lifts Public Health Emergency
Executive Order Nos. 253, 264, and 271 (2021), and Nos. 283 and 290 (2022) remain in full force and effect. Notwithstanding paragraph 6 of this Order, Executive Directive 21-003, Youth Camp Requirements, issued April 28, 2021, provided in the Appendix to Executive Order No. 281 (2022) shall no longer be in full force and effect.
Executive Order 283-Governor Murphy Directs Vaccination and Booster Requirements for Healthcare and Other Congregate Care Settings
Covered positions and settings must comply with primary vaccination series by mid-February and with boosters by March 30th.
Executive Order 271-Governor Murphy Directs Vaccination or Testing Requirements for All State Contract Employees
All Sate contract employees must maintain a policy that requires all covered workers to either provide adequate proof to the covered setting that they have been fully vaccinated or submit to COVID-19 testing at minimum one to two times weekly. This order is effective immediately.
Executive Order 264-Governor Murphy Directs Vaccination or Testing Requirements for All Childcare Center Personnel
All Childcare Centers must maintain a policy that requires all covered workers to either provide adequate proof to the covered setting that they have been fully vaccinated or submit to COVID-19 testing at minimum one to two times weekly. This requirement shall take effect on November 1, 2021, at which time any covered workers that have not provided adequate proof that they are fully vaccinated must submit to a minimum of weekly or twice weekly testing on an ongoing basis until fully vaccinated.
Executive Order 253-Governor Murphy Directs Vaccination or Testing Requirements for All Preschool to Grade 12 Personnel and for All State Workers
All State workers and All public, private, and parochial preschool programs, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools (“covered settings”), must maintain a policy that requires all covered workers to either provide adequate proof to the covered setting that they have been fully vaccinated or submit to COVID-19 testing at minimum one to two times weekly. This requirement shall take effect on October 18, 2021at which time any covered workers that have not provided adequate proof that they are fully vaccinated must submit to a minimum of weekly or twice weekly testing on an ongoing basis until fully vaccinated.
Executive Order 252-Governor Murphy Directs Vaccination Requirements in Health Care Facilities and High-Risk Congregate Settings
Covered health care and high-risk congregate settings must maintain a policy that requires covered workers to either provide adequate proof that they have been fully vaccinated or submit to COVID-19 testing at minimum one to two times weekly. This requirement shall take effect on September 7, 2021, at which time any covered workers that have not provided adequate proof that they are fully vaccinated must submit to weekly or twice weekly testing on an ongoing basis until fully vaccinated.
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 see the link below for an up to date list of Executive Directives of the NJDOH: