2-24: Fifteen New Cases; Vaccination Update; Life in Yellow Zone Requires Caution; Black Professionals Series Continues; Free Mental Health Help; Rent Relief; Detailed COVID Case Report

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been Fifteen (15) new cases in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Monday, 2-22-21.  A detailed case report follows at the end of this ebulletin.


LIFE IN YELLOW ZONE REQUIRES CAUTION

By Stephanie D. Carey
Montgomery Health Officer

Throughout the month of February, Montgomery and Somerset County have been in the “yellow zone,” meaning that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is “moderate,” an improvement over the orange rating of “high risk” that we had throughout the holiday period.

The most important implication is that we can begin to expand classroom instruction in our schools. On Monday night, I participated with the Board of Health in a meeting organized by the Montgomery Township School District to explain plans to expand classroom days for students currently enrolled in “hybrid” instruction starting Monday, March 1. I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of school officials and community members who attended. The presentation given by school physician Dr. Bert Mandelbaum was very well done.

Gradually returning to more normal school operations is important, and the science tells us that it can be achieved safely. But ALL members of the school community have crucial roles to play in our success.

Currently, the single biggest source of COVID-19 outbreaks is unauthorized practices and competitions among our student athletes. Most often, these outbreaks occur when students are carpooling and/or “hanging out” afterwards. NONE of this unauthorized activity should be occurring. If it continues, it could force us to slow down or reverse the reopening of our schools.

On a traffic light, yellow means caution. Just because the situation has improved, we cannot let down our guard. Everyone needs to do their part to get through the final stretch of this pandemic.


VACCINATION UPDATE

Eligibility for vaccine in New Jersey continues to be limited to persons 65 and older and younger adults with underlying health conditions.  To get vaccinated, all residents must sign up on the state website,  covidvaccine.nj.gov, so you can be notified when you become eligible. You can also call the New Jersey Call Center Vaccination Support Number between 8 AM and 8 PM:  855-568-0545.

Those who are eligible may also sign up for hospital-based, public, and private sites offering vaccination, such as CVS, and the several New Jersey “Mega Sites”.  All are experiencing demand in excess of supply, so you may need to try multiple times: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-eligible-recipients.  Some CVS and Rite Aid locations are starting to offer vaccine, with the appointments filling within an hour of posting.

You can also use social media to help get an appointment. Join the New Jersey Covid Vaccine Info Facebook group. The 61,000-member group gives New Jerseyans the opportunity to share up-to-date information on vaccine availability.

Follow VaxxUpdates on Twitter. The page helps Garden State residents secure vaccine appointments with instant updates on availability.

Montgomery Township is keeping a limited list of vulnerable, elderly residents lacking internet access or transportation, to help them get access to vaccine.  If you have no internet access, nor transportation, call 908-359-8211 x2400. If you have a neighbor meeting this definition, consider bringing this phone number to his or her attention.


 

MONTGOMERY BLACK PROFESSIONALS SERIES CONTINUES

As part of Black History Month, The Montgomery High School Black Student Union and the Montgomery Township Inclusion and Equity Committee present another virtual Black Professionals Roundtable Series on Thursday February 25 at 7 PM.

This week’s event will focus on the Humanities and Creatives. Speakers are musicians Franklin Perkins and Lakin Starling; music industry leaders Ashley Coleman, Esteban Serrano, and Dan “Dilemma” Thomas; and artist Jason Thomas; Biographies are available online.

The goal of the event series is to empower viewers of all ages and races to pursue their professional dreams, and to celebrate Black success. Online registration is required. All are welcome via Zoom.


COUNTY OFFERING FREE MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCE

If you or your family are experiencing feelings of isolation, fear, confusion, anxiety, or stress, Somerset County is offering free counseling through the new Somerset County Hope and Healing Crisis Counseling Program (CCP). The CCP  is funded through a FEMA/SAMHSA grant in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All support provided through this program is confidential, anonymous, and free. For more information, visit the Somerset County website or call the support hotline at 908-231-6414.


APPLY NOW FOR LOCAL RENT RELIEF

 

In response to the financial hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, Somerset County has established a rent relief program using Federal grant monies. About $400,000 in rent relief is still available to county residents, including in Montgomery, who have suffered COVID-related income loss, subject to income limitations.

Additional information, and an easy-to-use online application are available here. Paper application forms are available by calling 908-541-5756.


TODAY’S COVID-19 FULL CASE REPORT

There have been fifteen (15) new cases in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Monday, 2-22-21.

As of 9AM today, February 24

Montgomery cases: 939

Montgomery deaths: 20

Rocky Hill cases:  23

Rocky Hill deaths: 1

 

Age Ranges of Cases in Montgomery & Rocky Hill:

233   <20

148   20-29

86     30-39

148   40-49

145   50-59

96     60-69

36     70-79

70     80+

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

– 879 presumed recovered a

–  62   currently ill

–  21 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.

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/