11-20: “Exponential Growth” of COVID in Montgomery; Mayor Urges Caution; School Sports Paused; Municipal Building Access Restricted

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been thirty-three (33) new cases in Montgomery/Rocky Hill since our last report on Wednesday, 11-18-20.  There have been sixty-six (66) new cases over the last 7 days. Full report at the end of this bulletin.


“EXPONENTIAL GROWTH” OF COVID IN MONTGOMERY

 

By Stephanie D. Carey
Montgomery Township Health Officer

 

Montgomery is experiencing exponential growth in new cases of COVID-19 with 66 cases this week, more than triple the number of a week ago. We are at the point where most cases cannot be linked to a specific, known exposure because the virus is circulating so widely in the community.

The Montgomery Health Department cannot stress enough the importance of everyone hunkering down and avoiding social contacts. Governor Murphy has restricted indoor gatherings to 10 people, but our advice is to avoid hosting or attending indoor social events with anybody you do not live with. The risk is simply too great. That includes limiting Thanksgiving celebrations to household members.

To the extent we can identify likely exposures among the dramatic rise in new, local COVID-19 cases, we are seeing cases linked to youth sports and playdates, indoor socializing, and workplace exposure. We cannot rule out the possibility that outdoor socializing may also be contributing to cases as well, which is why we recommend wearing a mask when with other people regardless of whether it is indoors or outside.


 

MAYOR URGES CAUTION FOR THANKSGIVING

 

By Sadaf Jaffer
Mayor, Montgomery Township

 

The dramatic increase in new COVID-19 cases in Montgomery is a cause for great concern. Until recently, Montgomery has been fortunate to avoid major outbreaks.  But we are deeply connected to the rest of our state and nation, and COVID-19 is accelerating dramatically across the country. It was only a matter of time until it arrived on our doorsteps.

I am grateful to the Montgomery Health Department for its heroic efforts to investigate and manage cases, for guiding policy decisions for the municipality and schools, and for keeping the community informed. I feel confident they have saved lives here in Montgomery. I also appreciate the efforts of our Board of Health, which this week endorsed a new “COVID-Safe Pledge” that we will roll out next week to encourage everyone to take care of themselves and their neighbors by following public health guidance.

Finally, I am thankful for our residents and businesses who continue to cooperate with Health Department contact tracing at levels far above the statewide averages. This has helped avoid an even worse outbreak than we have today.

Next week many in our community will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control announced that people should not travel for Thanksgiving, and Montgomery’s health professionals have strongly endorsed this advice. Nobody should feel bad about rescinding an invitation, or about canceling plans to attend a holiday event, in the face of a national and local emergency.

Let’s look forward to giving thanks a year from now for the health of our families—an outcome we must earn with our vigilance today.


 

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS PAUSED

 

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association yesterday announced delays in the start of winter sports because of COVID-19 concerns. Under the NJSIAA’s new guidance, high school basketball teams will not be allowed to start practice until Jan. 11, with game competition to begin Jan. 26. The basketball season would run until March 6, with a limit of 15 games and no state tournaments, although leagues would be allowed to stage their own postseason playoffs.

The NJSIAA decision coincided with a decision by Montgomery Schools to suspend the fall sports season immediately due to a recent cluster of cases that has results in 80 student athletes requiring quarantine due to close exposures to COVID-positive classmates.

 


 

MUNICIPAL BUILDING ACCESS RESTRICTED

Due to the increasing number of COVID increases in the community, access to the Montgomery Municipal Building in Belle Mead will be restricted to necessary appointments made in advance. A new buzzer system is being installed at the front door.

A drop box at the front of the building is already available for payments and documents that need to be dropped off. We encourage people to use the drop box starting immediately rather than entering the building unnecessarily.

To make an appointment, call 908-359-8211 during workday hours. Upon arrival at the building you’ll be asked to call that number again from your vehicle so that somebody can escort you to your appointment. All visitors, and employees, are required to wear masks.

 


 

TODAY’S COVID-19 FULL CASE REPORT

 

There have been thirty-three (33) new cases in Montgomery/Rocky Hill since our last report, Wednesday, 11-18-20.     

As of 9AM today, November 20

Montgomery cases: 323

Montgomery deaths: 7

Rocky Hill cases: 9

Rocky Hill deaths: 0

 

332 confirmed and probable cases for Montgomery and Rocky Hill in total, of which:

– 273 presumed recovered

– 52 currently ill

– 7 fatalities

 

a “Presumed recovered” means cases that have met the criteria for discontinuation of isolation. A minimum of 10 days from diagnosis, or three days after symptoms resolve, whichever is longer. This definition represents a change from earlier in the pandemic before the CDC provided a definition.

For further statistics, go to the Health Dept.’s COVID-19 portal: https://health.montgomery.nj.us/covid19/,  State of NJ DOH’s COVID-19 Case Chart , and https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Testing Site info found at: https://health.montgomery.nj.us/covid-testing/