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Posted on: January 1, 2021

Coronavirus: News Updates January 2021

COVID-19 Updates

January 14, 2021

Union County Vaccination Site Update

Vaccination appointments for the Union County vaccination site at Kean University filled up quickly when the online registration portal went live Wednesday night. The Township is trying to get more information on an additional site planned for the West Side of the county to alleviate some of the stress on the Kean site. There are also plans for a mobile vaccination system in the County; the state has confirmed this is an option going forward. This will allow the vaccine to get to more residents, particularly older residents and those who cannot drive.  County officials hope to double the amount of vaccinations being administered as soon as possible.

The Union County vaccination site is eligible to receive the vaccination are individuals ages 65 and older, persons 18-64 with high-risk medical conditions, uniformed police officers, firefighters, health care workers and others identified in Group 1A. To speak to an operator, please contact our Union County COVID Call Center at 908-518-4307.

At this time, all appointments at the County site at Kean are full. Residents are encouraged to check the website regularly for updates. Additional information is available at

The registration system will only log those who are eligible to receive the vaccination at this time. Those who are ineligible to receive vaccinations will not be allowed to pre-register, and must wait until they are eligible. The County is offering the Moderna vaccine.

Berkeley Heights Case Numbers

  • 6 new community cases
  • 78 active cases (4 Vulnerable Population Institute (VPI) cases, 1 case from 1/09 is from Autumn Lake)

The 6 new cases:     

  1. Female (unknown)
  2. Male 60s
  3. Female 13-19yrs
  4. Female 20s
  5. Male 60s
  6. Female 60s

For a Total of 829   Sites Hed

**** 1 Case out of Jurisdiction, removed from total case count.Sites

**** 5 cases out of jurisdiction, removed from total case count****

  • 60 long-term care facility (LTC) deaths 
  • 7 BH resident deaths
  • 168 recovered LTCs/VPIs

In Other News:

January 13, 2021

Latest on Vaccinations for BH Residents in Union County

Today, Governor Murphy announced that New Jersey residents 65 and older – and anyone ages 16 to 64 with chronic medical conditions – will be eligible starting tomorrow to get a COVID-19 vaccination. As of now, registrations are only taking place online.

We understand there is a lot of confusion over how – and when – to register, and we are working feverishly with our Town Hall employees, Office of Emergency Management (OEM), town seniors and others to put a system into place to help register our seniors for their vaccinations if they are not able to register online. For now, here is what we know.

Union County residents MUST REGISTER on the Union County vaccination site at You should not register at the state site. As of this post, the state site is not yet connected to the County site, so registrations may get lost. If you have already registered with the state, make an appointment with the county THEN cancel your appointment.

  1. If you have access to a computer and fall under the category currently allowed to be vaccinated, you must register online.
  2. Once you access the vaccination site, you will be asked to choose a date and time, then must fill out information such as name, birthdate, address and gender.
  3. Vaccinations are taking place at the Union County COVID testing center at Kean University, Monday through Friday, 3-7 pm.

Here is what we are doing, or in the process of doing, for our older seniors who do not have a computer or access to the Internet:

  • Our Office of Emergency Management Coordinator or Deputy will drop off registration forms at Park Edge for residents who do not have computer access to fill out. OEM will collect those forms a few days later (to be coordinated with Park Edge representatives).
  • Volunteers will take those forms and register those seniors online, then contact those seniors with their vaccination date and time.
  • We are exploring setting up a vaccine hotline at Town Hall where residents who cannot register online can leave their information and be registered in the County system by volunteers.
  • We are exploring ways to help seniors get to the vaccination site at Kean – whether that be by use of the senior bus or other means.

Please know that we are working round the clock to get more information as it comes out, and to put a system into place to get our community’s most vulnerable vaccinated as soon as we can. Thank you and we will issue more information as we get it.

From our Berkeley Heights OEM: SMG to offer Vaccinations

Beginning Monday, January 18th, Summit Medical Group (SMG) will begin COVID vaccinations for the following SMG patients. Please note that you must be an existing SMG patient to get the vaccine at this location:

  • Patients 65 or older.
  • Patients 18-64 years with one or more of the following chronic conditions:
    • Cancer
    • Chronic Kidney Disease
    • Down Syndrome 
    • COPD
    • Heart Conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies.
    • Obesity
    • Sickle cell disease 
    • Type 2 Diabetes

Residents whom are SMG patients can call (908) 739-3200. Advise them who your Doctor is and that you meet the criteria as mandated by the Governor. 

Berkeley Heights Case Numbers

  • 13 new community cases
  • 88 active cases (4  Vulnerable Population Institute (VPI) cases, 1 case from 1/09 is from Autumn Lake)
1.      Male 50s
2.      Male 50s
3.      Male 13-19yrs
4.      Female 50sCOVID talk
5.      Female 50s
6.      Male 20s
7.      Female 20s
8.      Female 40s
9.      Female 50s
10.    Male 30s
11.    Female 13-19yrs
12.   Female 13-19yrs
13.   Male 20s
For a Total of 824
(5 cases out of jurisdiction, removed from total case count)

January 12, 2021

Vaccine Rollout

New Jersey will roll out COVID-19 vaccines to serve all adults who live, work, or are being educated in the state. While the State's current plan is highlighted here the plan will continually be updated in response to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.

New Jersey's COVID-19 vaccination program aims to:

  • Provide equitable access to all who live, work, and/or are educated in New Jersey 
  • Achieve community protection
  • Assuming vaccine effectiveness, availability, and uptake 
  • Build sustainable trust in COVID-19 and other vaccines

The State's goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population – or 4.7 million adults – within six months.

Union County Residents: Please register for your vaccine here.

In Other News:

Berkeley Heights Case Numbers
There are 24 new cases today and 85 active cases. I know we are all tired and raw. Please wear a mask, DO NOT have INDOOR gatherings of more than 10 PEOPLE, use hand sanitizer frequently and socially distance. We do not want to lose another family member, friend or neighbor. 
  • 24 new community cases
  • 85 active cases (4  Vulnerable Population Institute (VPI) cases) **One case from 1/09 is from Autumn Lakes**
1. Female 80s
2. Male 13-19yrs
3. Male 13-19yrs
4. Male 13-19yrs
5. Female 30s
6. Female 50s
7. Female 20s
8. Female 5-12yrs
9. Female 20s
10. Male 40s
11. Female 5-12yrs
12. Male 13-19yrs
13. Male 20s
14. Female 50s
15. Female 60s
16. Female 13-19yrs
17. Male 20s
18. Female 20s
19. Male 30’s
20. Female 50s
21. Female 13-19yrs
22. Female 20s
23. Female 50’s
24. Male 13-19yrs
For a Total of 811
**** 5 cases out of jurisdiction, removed from total case count****
-  60 LTC Deaths 
-  7 BH Resident Deaths
- 168 Recovered LTCs/VPIs

January 8, 2021

Vaccine distribution began in Union County on Thursday January 7th  for Category 1A patients which includes health care workers, (Phase 1B) police officers and firefighters by appointment only at the Kean University site. A more detail list of patient categories can be found on our website

New Jersey’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of the adult population, or 4.7 million adults within 6 months. 

The vaccinations will take place Monday-Friday, 3PM-7PM. Registration is mandatory.  Details can be found on the Union County COVID19 Vaccination page.

Kean TestingCounty officials will distribute 300 vaccinations in the 4-hour time frame. Again, currently, vaccinations are for 1A, and specific 1B residents only. Presently a paper-based registration is in place, but a web-based registration site should be available by Monday. Likely, the County will open another location possibly on the west side of Union County in an area like the City of Plainfield.

Once established, the vaccine registration portal will automatically schedule the 2nd part of the vaccine, 28 days later.   Patients insurance will be billed directly.  If someone does not have insurance, they may still receive the vaccine at no charge, as there is money set aside for uninsured residents.

It is also anticipated the vaccine will be given to the rest of Phase 1B soon, which includes residents 75 and older, but there is no exact date. Please check the Union County COVID-19 website for information, as it is updated as often as possible:

Category 1B – Once vaccine availability expands, those in Category 1B will begin receiving vaccines. Individuals who fall into Category 1B include persons 75 years and older as well as frontline essential workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and are at a substantially higher risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Category 1C – The next category of individuals, Category 1C, are adults 65 and over and adults with underlying medical conditions.

After these phases are complete, the general public will be eligible for vaccination.

Click here for more on the Vaccination Schedule

As a result, Union County will scale back on COVID-19 testing to accommodate vaccination distribution.  Officials plan to administer approximately 1000-1200 tests per day. In partnership with Kean University, a lab has been added at Kean and results can come back in approximately 24 hours. The Drive-through testing site Kean University information is as follows:

  • Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 9AM-2PM
  • The mobile walk-up site will be reduced to Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10AM-1PM
  • Locations will continue to rotate throughout Union County, and I have requested a third mobile testing date when available. 

Berkeley Heights Case Numbers

  • 19, new community cases
  • 56 active cases
  • 3  Vulnerable Population Institute (VPI) cases
            1. Male 13-19yrs
            2. Male 40’s
            3. Female 13-19yrs
            4. Male 50’s
            5. Female 20’s
            6. Female 50’s
            7. Female 50’s
            8. Male 13-19yrs
            9. Female 70’s
            10. Female 13-19yrs
            11. Male 40’s
            12. Female 60’s
            13. Male 60’s
            14. Female 50’s
            15. Female 20’s
            16. Female 13-19yrs
            17. Female 5-12 yrs
            18. Male 5-12 yrs
            19. Male 5-12 yrs

For a Total of 758

  • 60 LTC Deaths 
  • 7 BH Resident Deaths (1 new community death, Male, 60s)
  • 168 Recovered LTCs/VPI

Free Testing

Free COVID-19 testing is available at many locations across the state.

Here you can find a list of free public testing locations in New Jersey by county, including short-term pop-up testing sites. You can search New Jersey's 400+ permanent testing locations, both public and private, using the test site finder tool here. Union County's free testing site is at the above-mentioned Kean Univeristy.

In addition, free COVID-19 testing and treatment is available at Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), to all people whether you have health insurance or not and regardless of your immigration status Find an FQHC near you with this search tool, through 211online, or by directly calling 2-1-1 (support is available in English and Spanish).

Individuals with urgent symptoms may also continue to access services at acute care hospitals. The COVID-19 testing cost will be waived for uninsured individuals eligible for charity care. Information on the Charity Care Program can be found at: You should talk to a medical provider before going to your local hospital.

Message from the BH Volunteer Rescue Squad

The Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad is here for you. As we experience a surge in transportation requests due to COVID-19, we want to remind everyone to please help us prioritize our life-saving service. For those with less severe, non-life-threatening symptoms (like a cough, low-grade fever or congestion), call your primary care physician first or an urgent care center near you. When we transport patients that do not require life-saving emergency medical services, it increases our responders' risk, strains our local emergency departments, and takes an ambulance out of service that could be used for medical emergencies such as heart attacks, strokes, allergic reactions, and traumatic falls. 

Please consider your transportation options—if you are experiencing non-life-threatening symptoms, ask a family member to drive you first. An ambulance ride to the hospital for non-emergent cases does not guarantee any type of preferential treatment during this pandemic. You will not be seen more quickly in the emergency room if you arrive by ambulance.  

If you or a loved one is experiencing emergent and/or severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, confusion, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, do not hesitate to call 911. 

We appreciate your partnership with us to provide the best possible care for our community and helping to protect ALL of our town's first responders.

Joe Savino 

President Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad

In other news...

  • New Certified COVID-19 Testing Lab Opens at Kean
  • Updated state travel restrictions
  • Gov Murphy tours 'mega site' for vaccinations in Morris County
  • Murphy Administration Reminds New Jerseyans of Coverage Benefits for COVID-19 Vaccine
  • Governor Murphy Signs Historic Economic Recovery Legislation. The legislation includes a host of new initiatives including the Main Street Recovery Finance Program, which will provide a direct $50 million appropriation for grants, loans, loan guarantees, and technical assistance to small and micro businesses.
  • January 7, 2021

    NJ Vaccine Rollout

    For all of the latest official information on New Jersey's COVID19 vaccine rollout, please check the state website here.

    Governor Murphy announced that effective today, police and fire uniformed personnel will be considered part of group 1A for vaccinations. New Jersey will roll out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all adults who live, work, or are being educated in the state. While the State's current plan is highlighted below, the plan will continually be updated in response to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.

    New Jersey's COVID-19 vaccination program aims to:

    • Provide equitable access to all who live, work, and/or are educated in New Jersey
    • Achieve community protection, assuming vaccine effectiveness, availability, and uptake
    • Build sustainable trust in COVID-19 and other vaccinesVaccine
  • The State's goal is to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population – or 4.7 million adults – within six months.

    In other news...

    • Union County Walk-up COVID-19 Testing Site Draws Huge Turnout in Berkeley Heights
    • Gov. Murphy Vetoes a Bill that Would Have Expanded Outdoor Dining for New Jersey Restaurants, Distilleries and Breweries – It would have allowed the establishments to extend their footprints and serve patrons in parking lots, yards, patios, decks and public sidewalks. In vetoing the legislation Monday, the governor said it “circumvents existing licensing and regulation processes critical to protecting the public’s health and safety.” Murphy said the state already has taken steps to allow these businesses to bring their operations outdoors through the end of March. (  
    • Gov. Murphy Defends the Pace of the COVID Vaccination Program – The governor said there were changes in the federal government’s shipping schedules and a limited pool of clinicians to administer the vaccine. The timeline for reaching the 70% rate of immunized residents could now push into the fall. (NJ Spotlight News) 
    • What Groups Will Be Next to Get the Vaccine? – After the 1a vaccine recipients of health care workers and long-term care residents get their doses, the 1b group, made up of “frontline essential workers” and people who are 75 and older, will be next. ( 
    • Trump Administration Speeds Plan to Deliver COVID-19 Shots in Pharmacies – Within two weeks, Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s vaccine accelerator, estimates 3,000 to 6,000 pharmacies could begin administering COVID-19 shots, an HHS official said. (Politico) 
    • New Jersey Adds New Testing Numbers to Its Official COVID-19 Case Count – The number of infections grew by 50,000 with antigen tests included. If the additional positive results are accurate, it would mean more than six of every 100 residents have been infected. (NJ Spotlight News) 
    • Deadline in Two Days – A new NJEDA program provides grants of $100,000 or more to organizations, such as qualifying nonprofits, that buy meals from restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are due Jan. 8
    • Pension Payments, Maintaining a Surplus, Promised Tax Relief: N.J.'s Looming Budget Challenges – After a year marked by credit-rating downgrades and pandemic-related revenue losses, managing New Jersey's budget will not get any easier for Gov. Murphy and lawmakers. (NJ Spotlight News) 
  • N.J. Coronavirus Cases - New Jersey Residents (Source: N.J. Health Department)


    • Total Confirmed Deaths Reported: 17,464
    • Total Positive COVID-19 Cases Reported: 504,647
    • For data on hospitalizations and discharges, click here.
  • Resources

    New Jersey small businesses can buy PPE at a 10% discount through this state program

    The N.J. Economic Development Authority is offering assistance programs for New Jersey businesses. Information and applications can be found here.

    For the U.S. Chamber's return-to-work playbook for employers, click here.

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's report on reopening and preparing workplaces for COVID-19.

    The CDC's recommendations for employers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus when they reopen their offices.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Survival Guide has a complete listing of coronavirus resources for small businesses.

    The state's jobs and hiring portal matches employers and candidates.

    For employers to participate, click here.

    New Jersey's website for information on all of the state's business resources during the pandemic.

    New Jersey's website for up-to-date information about COVID-19.

    Have Questions about the Status of an Unemployment Claim? - You can send a message to the state Labor Department through its website – Then follow these instructions:

    • On the top of the page, scroll to the right for “Need Help” and unveil the drop-down menu
    • Choose Send an Email
    • Choose Email: Submit a message through the new online form.
    • Follow the prompts
  • January 2, 2021

    There are 60 active cases reported in Berkeley Heights with zero active cases from the vulnerable population institutions (VPI). There have been 702 total cases reported in Berkeley Heights since the inception of the pandemic, 60 Long Term Care deaths, six Berkeley Heights resident deaths.

    The following is summary of reported cases by date since December 1, 2020:

    • 1/2/2021: 1 new case; 60 active cases
    • 12/31/2020: 8 new community cases, 68 active cases, 1 reported death (person in 70s)
    • 12/30/2020: 5 new community cases, 62 active cases
    • 12/29/2020: 4 new community cases, 58 active cases
    • 12/28/2020: 6 new community cases, 58 active cases
    • 12/27/2020: 3 new community cases, 52 active cases
    • 12/24 &25/2020: 3 new community cases, 52 active cases
    • 12/23/2020: 18 new community cases, 50 active cases
    • 12/22/2020: 9 new community cases, 40 active cases, 1 reported death (person in 50s)
    • 12/21/2020: 3 new community cases, 40 active cases
    • 12/20/2020: 10 new community cases, 47 active cases
    • 12/19/2020: 3 new community cases, 39 active cases
    • 12/18/2020: 5 new community cases, 37 active cases
    • 12/17/2020: 4 new community cases, 37 active cases
    • 12/16/2020: 9 new community cases, 35 active cases
    • 12/15/2020: 2 new community cases, 30 active cases
    • 12/14/2020: 3 new community cases, 33 active cases
    • 12/13/2020: 11 new community cases, 38 active cases
    • 12/12/2020: 8 new community cases, 38 active cases
    • 12/11/2020: 4 new community cases, 32 active cases
    • 12/10/2020: 2 new community cases, 29 active cases
    • 12/09/2020: 5 new community cases, 33 active cases
    • 12/08/2020: 9 new community cases, 36 active cases
    • 12/07/2020: 8 new community cases, 41 active cases
    • 12/06/2020: 7 new community cases
    • 12/05/2020: 6 new community cases
    • 12/04/2020: 5 new community cases
    • 12/03/2020: 7 new community cases
    • 12/02/2020: 4 new community cases
    • 12/01/2020: 9 new community cases
  • Union County will be hosting a free saliva COVID-19 testing site in Berkeley Heights on Tuesday, January 5 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the old Little Flower Church parking lot at 110 Roosevelt Blvd. in Berkeley Heights. 

    COVID Alert NJ - Add Your Phone to the COVID Fight COVID Alert

    COVID Alert NJ is New Jersey's free and secure mobile app that anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app also provides users with up-to-date information on New Jersey reopening news, key COVID-19 metrics, and a user-friendly symptom tracking tool. COVID Alert NJ uses Bluetooth proximity technology. The app will never record any identifying data. All users will remain anonymous.

    How it Works:

    1. Download COVID Alert NJ on the App Store or Google Play Store. Opt-in to receive "Exposure Notifications"
    2. As you go about your day, the app will use Bluetooth to sense any "close contacts"—other app users who are within 6 feet of you for more than 10 minutes
    3. When your app senses a close contact, your phone will exchange a secure random code with the close contact's phone. It's important to note that your location and name are never disclosed
    4. If you test positive for COVID-19, a public health representative will call you and ask if you're willing to anonymously notify your "close contacts" by uploading your app's close contact codes
    5. Each day, the app will compare your list of close contact codes to the list of codes associated with positive COVID-19 app users. If there's a match you will get an Exposure Alert, along with appropriate next steps
  • Governor Livingston Senior Desmond Lam contributed to these reports. 

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