As we near the last few days of the year, once again Berkeley Heights, our fortitude is being tested. With the Omicron variant emerging with a vengeance and Delta variant the dominant strain just a few weeks ago, we are harshly reminded Covid is still with us.
I know you are weary; I am too. But we must remain Berkeley Heights strong, Berkeley Heights healthy so that we all may emerge stronger together.
It is important that we return to the protocols that allowed us to stay stronger together. I strongly encourage all residents to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible. This is especially important indoors but also in large crowds both indoors and outdoors. Omicron is extremely transmissible. Please use hand sanitizer or wash your hands frequently. Socially distance yourself from others when practically possible. Consider getting vaccinated if you are not and boosted if you have not done so already. As we have witnessed the quick spread of Omicron, we are also experiencing less severe illness due to the vaccine. It is imperative that hospitalizations and deaths do not surge again as it did during those dark days of March, April and May of 2020.
Berkeley Heights residents with at least one dose of the vaccine:
12 through 17:
18 and over:
30 and over:
65 and over:
Those Berkeley Heights residents who have completed their vaccine courses:
12 through 17:
18 and over:
30 and over:
65 and over:
These measures are not only important to keep ourselves and our families safe, but to ensure that our businesses stay open. As many know, our recycling hauler, Giordano Recycling, could not pick up the Township recyclables during the time of greatest demand because of a shortage of drivers, most of who contracted Covid. Our Township staff has also been affected. Anyone waiting on inspections or permits from our Building Department may have to wait a bit longer, as that department has been hit with virus. We have reverted to some pre-vaccine measures to try to prevent further spread among our employees in all departments.
So I implore you, let’s work together Berkeley Heights to ensure our amazing restaurants, personal care facilities, shopping centers and retail stores remain open. During these unprecedented times, no business can afford to close their doors due to a workforce shortage and massive infection spread.
Additionally, during these heightened Covid case counts which are expected to continue to climb, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) has instructed all health departments to focus on patients 18 years and under AND those 65 years and older to meet the current staffing availability. To facilitate this, NJDOH will be implementing a rule to auto close cases in the case investigation system at 7pm each night. This statewide pivot will give our local department of health the ability to focus investigations, or contact tracing, on those within the priority criteria.As a result, I will not be able to report active cases at this time provided to me by the Union County Office of Health Management (UCOHM). The health office defines “active cases” to include those who tested positive and are still within their 10-day isolation period. To achieve this information contact tracers call every confirmed case at the end of their isolation period for a recovery status. I will continue to report daily positive case counts to keep you abreast of this evolving situation with a running daily total at the top of the post.
Please be patient as the contact tracers and nursing staff are making every attempt to contact those within the priority criteria in a timely manner. Residents who do not receive a phone call from contact tracers and have questions or concerns regarding quarantine/isolation may contact UCOHM at 908-518-5620 for guidance or may use the NJDOH Isolation and Quarantine calculator. NOTE**, while the CDC has changed its guidance about isolation and quarantining, the New Jersey Department of Health has not yet aligned its directive with the CDC. Our health department will be following and recommending the longer isolation period as prescribed by the State until otherwise notified.
UCOHM continues to provide vaccinations/boosters and testing at various locations. For the most up-to-date schedule please visit www.ucnj.org
Moreover, The NJ Department of Health and Vault Medical Services have partnered to offer a free, at-home COVID-19 saliva test kit that is available to every New Jerseyan who thinks they need a test – even if you don't have symptoms.
To order a free test kit, visit learn.vaulthealth.com/nj
The kit will be shipped through UPS with next-day delivery. Once received, you will connect over Zoom with a Vault healthcare professional who will walk you through the test and answer your questions. When complete, the test can be sent back in a prepaid package via UPS next-day shipping. You will receive your test results 24 to 48 hours after your sample arrives at the lab.
You will not be charged for the test, and you will not be asked for your credit card information.
While we beat back another variant of Covid and attempt to enjoy the holidays, celebrate a new year and look back on 2021, I want to wish everyone the happiest of New Year’s and all the best wishes for 2022.
As always, if you need me, I am here for you. Please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
, 908-464-2700 x 2116, facebook.com/mayorangiedevanney