4-14: One New Case plus a Suspected Cluster of Cases; Montgomery Will Start Moderna Vaccine Clinic; Mental Health Program for Kids Tonight; Help Stop the Spotted Lanternfly; Get Ready for Earth Day; Detailed COVID Case Report

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There has been just one (1) new confirmed COVID-19 case in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Monday, 4-12-21. However, the Health Department is investigating a suspected cluster of cases associated with a high school sports team.  The team is currently quarantined and will not impact the district’s in-person education program.

Detailed case data are available at the end of this ebulletin.


MONTGOMERY CLINIC TO OFFER MODERNA VACCINE TO VULNERABLE RESIDENTS

A vaccination clinic held last week at the OKCC.

The Montgomery Township Health Department is developing plans for a series of small vaccination clinics at the Otto Kaufman Community Center using the Moderna two-dose vaccine.  The plan follows a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine based on CDC guidance. The Moderna vaccines will be limited to those who cannot use the larger county and New Jersey vaccine sites due to language, internet, or transportation limitations.

“We are very pleased that Montgomery will have weekly batches of the Moderna vaccine. As one of the earliest municipalities to invest in special refrigeration equipment required for the Moderna vaccine, we’re glad we did, so that we can continue to assist our most vulnerable residents in getting vaccinated,” said Mayor Devra Keenan.

Last week, 95 residents received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine before it was paused due to a very small number of side effects nationwide. Montgomery Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey explains the side effects are “exceedingly rare,” but that her department is monitoring those who received the vaccines.

A batch of the Moderna vaccine arrived in Montgomery this week and the Health Department will soon announce details for clinics at the Otto Kaufman Center for vulnerable residents. Montgomery and Rocky Hill residents who believe they may qualify should call 908-359-8211 x2400. If you have a neighbor who has limited language, internet or transportation capabilities, consider bringing this phone number to his or her attention.


FREE MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN TONIGHT

Trained crisis counselors will present a highly creative and interactive reading of “Penelope the Powerful Parrot” this evening, April 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., via Zoom. Children and Families will enjoy this storytelling experience, which incorporates movement and the spoken word to deliver a message of hope.  The goal is to help alleviate COVID-19 related stress among kid and families.

The program teaches skills for managing pandemic stress and empowers children to feel seen and heard. The program is offered in English and Spanish.

“As we collectively navigate the anniversary of New Jersey’s COVID-19 lockdown, this is a vital time for us to come together and heal as a community, said Somerset County RHCHWC Executive Director Nicci Spinazzola. “‘Penelope The Powerful Parrot’ gives our families the opportunity to discuss their feelings and challenges and provides everyone a chance to find hope and healing in these uncertain times.”

To register for “Penelope the Powerful Parrot” reading via Zoom, click here. The program will be offered monthly.


HELP STOP THE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY

 

Now is a critical moment for controlling the expected infestation of the spotted lanternfly, an invasive insect that is harmful to agriculture, forests, and home landscaping. The insects are getting ready to emerge from eggs, at which time they will be much more difficult to control.

Destroying  egg masses found on trees now is a “stitch in time”—people who take preventive action can reduce damage to their own properties. Residents are also encouraged to patrol parks and public areas, too. It is as simple as knowing how to recognize the egg masses and keeping an old credit card with you.

More information is available on the main Montgomery Township website, including a video from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture for a demonstration of the egg mass-crushing technique.

The removal of the invasive Ailanthus Tree (Tree of Heaven) that attracts the spotted lanternfly is also recommended.


GET READY FOR EARTH DAY 2021

Leaders of the 2018 Stream Clean Up.

Montgomery Township will celebrate Earth Day 2021 with a weekend of COVID-safe activities.

On Saturday April 24th from 9 to 11 AM join the Montgomery Environmental Commission and the Watershed Institute for our annual “stream clean-up.” Meet at Hobler Park (1645 Great Road, Skillman) wearing long pants and close-toed shoes and a mask. Bring a reusable water bottle and gloves; bags will be provided.   Register online at:  https://thewatershed.org/stream-cleanups/

On Sunday April 25th from 11AMto 1PM join us for a Drive-Through Earth Day in Skillman Park where you can pick up a free tree sapling and milkweed to plant at home, and free LED lightbulbs and reusable shopping bags. Contact Lauren Wasilauski (l-wasilauski@twp.montgomery.nj.us) with questions.


 

COVID-19 FULL CASE REPORT

There has been one (1) confirmed new case in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Monday, 4-12-21.

 

As of 9AM today, April 14

Montgomery cases: 1173

Montgomery deaths: 23

Rocky Hill cases:  27

Rocky Hill deaths: 1

 

Age Ranges of Cases in Montgomery & Rocky Hill:

286    <20

195    20-29

127    30-39

182    40-49

178    50-59

120    60-69

40      70-79

74      80+

 

1200 confirmed and probable cases for Montgomery and Rocky Hill in total, of which:

– 1147 presumed recovered a

– 29  currently ill

– 24 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/

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (nhtsa.gov), between 2012 – 2017, nearly 20,000 people in the U.S. were killed in a crash involving a distracted driver.

In April, as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, NHTSA will again be partnering with state and local enforcement for the U Drive. U Pay campaign as a reminder to all drivers that distracted driving is deadly and illegal.

Common distracted driving behaviors include, grooming, eating, texting, drinking, using your smart phone for directions or other types of browsing, all of which will be monitored and ticketed. Texting is considered the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds, which is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.

Everyone can get involved in ending distracted driving. Teens and parents need to talk to each other and parents need to be careful to model good behavior. educators and employers can help spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. Employers have the opportunity to set a company policy on distracted driving.

Take responsibility. When you’re behind the wheel, your only commitment is to driving. Everything else can wait.

4-12: Eight New Cases; Montgomery Vaccinates 100 Vulnerable Seniors; 30% of County Adults Fully Vaccinated; Free Trees for Arbor Day; Financial Relief; Detailed COVID Case Report

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been eight (8) new cases in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 4-9-21. Detailed case data are available at the end of this ebulletin.


MONTGOMERY VACCINATES 100 VULNERABLE SENIORS

The Montgomery Township Health Department has over the last two weeks vaccinated 95 homebound and transportation-limited Montgomery seniors with the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine provided directly by the State of New Jersey in response to requests from the township. Five more vulnerable seniors are scheduled for the vaccine this week.

Many doses were given by health department professionals visiting the homes of homebound seniors. In addition, pop-up clinics were organized at the Otto Kaufman Community Center and at the affordable senior housing complex at McKinley Court (photo above).

Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan said she appreciated New Jersey providing vaccines directly to the township. “The fact that our health department is nationally accredited was a huge advantage in making the argument to Trenton that these doses should be sent to Montgomery for vulnerable residents. We are working hard to get more doses.”

Montgomery Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey described the reaction of local seniors: “There is a sense of joy in the seniors I talk to—it has been such a long, hard, and lonely year.  This vaccine is a vial of hope for better times around the corner.”

A mother and her developmentally disabled daughter came to be vaccinated together.  “This gives my daughter a chance to get back to her school and her friends. She has missed them so much.  This is a chance to get back to normal.”

An older couple said: “Our children made us do it!  They were afraid of making us sick, afraid to see us.  We want to see our grandchildren again.”

Another woman added, “I haven’t seen my granddaughter in a year.  She is about to graduate high school and I want to go to her graduation.  I want to hug them all.”

To get on the list for transportation-limited seniors, contact the Health Department at 908-359-8211 x2400. If you have a neighbor meeting this definition, consider bringing this phone number to his or her attention.


30% OF SOMERSET COUNTY ADULTS FULLY VACCINATED

Somerset County announced on Friday that 30% of all adults in the county are fully vaccinated, compared to 20.5% of all adults in the United States, according to the CDC on Friday.

In a newly released video, Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Robinson announced that the county recently received a larger allotment of the Moderna vaccine, and a new supply of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine.

The video provides photographs from Somerset County’s new drive-up vaccination site at Rutgers Plaza in Franklin Township to supplement Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg.

Both the RVCC and Rutgers Plaza vaccination clinics are be scheduled through the state system at http://www.covidvaccine.nj.gov/.  Registering does not create an appointment, but registers you to be notified of when you are eligible to make a an appointment. Starting Monday April 19, all New Jersey adults will be eligible. Once you receive a second email from the state with a link to schedule an appointment at any of the sites on the list, including RVCC and Rutgers Plaza.


ARBOR DAY CELEBRATION INCLUDES FREE TREES

An Arbor Day tree planting at Mill Pond Park

The Montgomery Township Shade Tree Committee led an Arbor Day celebration on Friday with the planting of a Willow Oak tree at Mill Pond Park, shown in the photo above featuring (l-r) Sarah Roberts and Larry Koplik of the Shade Tree Committee, Administrator Donato Nieman, Twp. Committeeperson Shelly L. Bell, and Mayor Devra Keenan.

As part of the celebration, children at Village Elementary School received free Witch Hazel tree saplings to plant at home. VES Principal Susan Lacy thanks the Shade Tree Committee saying: “Our students were thrilled to receive their seedlings and we were pleased with the virtual family turnout to pick up seedlings at the door.”

The VES program had some left-over trees, now available to anyone at Mary Jacobs Library in Rocky Hill during open hours, while the supply lasts. The library is open 10 AM to 8 PM Monday to Thursday, and until 6 PM on Fridays and Saturdays.


FINANCIAL RELIEF AVAILABLE

Relief programs are available to people impacted financially by the pandemic.

  • Somerset County has established a rent relief program using Federal grant monies for 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.
  • Funeral expense relief is available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people who have had to pay funeral expenses for a family member lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Funeral relief information is available online.

COVID-19 FULL CASE REPORT

There have been eight (8) new cases in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Friday, 4-9-21.

As of 9AM today, April 12

Montgomery cases: 1172

Montgomery deaths: 23

Rocky Hill cases:  27

Rocky Hill deaths: 1

 

Age Ranges of Cases in Montgomery & Rocky Hill:

284    <20

195    20-29

127    30-39

182    40-49

177    50-59

120    60-69

40      70-79

74      80+

 

1199 confirmed and probable cases for Montgomery and Rocky Hill in total, of which:

– 1143 presumed recovered a

– 32 currently ill

– 24 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/

4-9: 12 New Cases; A 7-Week Peak for Weekly Cases; Montgomery Introduces 2021 Budget; 150 Holiday Hams Donated; Vaccine Eligibility Expands; County Opens New Vaccine Site; Financial Relief; Detailed COVID Case Report

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been twelve (12) new cases in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Wednesday, 4-7-21. Detailed case data are available at the end of this ebulletin.


WEEKLY CASES REACH 7-WEEK HIGH

Weekly COVID-19 cases reached their highest level in seven weeks for Montgomery and Rocky Hill, with 46 new cases for the week ending today, April 9. That is the highest number since the Montgomery Health Department reported 63 cases for the seven days ending February 19th.

About half of the new cases in April are among adults in their 20s and 30s, a pattern of new infections that is evident across the country.  But new cases in Montgomery and Rocky Hill have slowed among youth under age 20, and there has been only one new infection this month in an adult 70 or older.

“We are seeing lots of evidence that the vaccines are working among our older population, which is good news for everybody,” said Montgomery Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey. “I can’t stress enough how important it is for young adults to continue social distancing and wearing masks until it is their turn to be vaccinated.”


TOWNSHIP INTRODUCES 2021 BUDGET

Montgomery Township Chief Financial Officer Michael Pitts last Thursday introduced a $28.2 million municipal budget for the fiscal year 2021, down from $28.4 million last year.  The formal introduction to the Township Committee will be followed by a public hearing on May 6th.

The impact of the COVID-19 impact was evident in the budget, with spending rising 22% for the health department and declining 55% for recreation, since many programs have been canceled. The budget does not factor in the $2.27 million in Federal COVID relief funds earmarked for Montgomery Township since New Jersey has not yet provided guidance on how those funds can be used.

The municipal property tax rate is proposed to increase 1.09% or by $23 per year on the median assessed home, the smallest increase in at least ten years, according to Mr. Pitts.  For more information, watch Mr. Pitts’ presentation to the Township Committee.  Write to mpitts@twp.montgomery.nj.us with questions.


150 Holiday Hams Donated in Montgomery

The Montgomery Food Pantry and ShopRite of Montgomery collaborated on a program that generated about 150 donated hams for local food-insecure families during the spring holidays. ShopRite enabled residents who didn’t plan to redeem the holiday ham they had earned through the frequent shopping program to donate them through the Food Pantry.

Some of the families received their hams as well as ShopRite gift cards to purchase side dishes and dessert. Other families picked up their hams at the Princeton Elks who also donated fresh string beans, red potatoes, dinner rolls, eggs, milk, butter and a dessert of fresh fruit, pound cake, and whipped cream.

The Montgomery Food Pantry thanks the many residents who donated their hams, as well as the staff and ShopRite store manager, Nicole O’Day, for help in organizing and coordinating the donations.


 

ALL ADULTS ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE APRIL 19TH

Starting this week, all adults in New Jersey 55 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines. Starting April 19, all adults ages 16 and older will be eligible.

New Jersey is relaxing travel rules are relaxing for people who are fully vaccinated.  Governor Phil Murphy said, “New Jersey is no longer advising fully vaccinated individuals who travel domestically to self-quarantine after their trip or to get tested before or after travel. The federal requirement for testing upon return to the United States following international air travel stands.”

Important: Fully vaccinated means two weeks after the second Pfizer or Moderna shot, or 2 weeks after the single J&J shot.

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.”  There is a new Vaccine Finder website that may be useful, particularly for local pharmacies: https://vaccinefinder.org/search/.


COUNTY OPENS SECOND VACCINE SITE

Somerset County has opened a new drive-up vaccination site in Franklin Township to supplement Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg. Located at Rutgers Plaza, the former location of a K-Mart on Easton Avenue, the “pop-up” clinic will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As with the RVCC vaccination clinic, the Rutgers Plaza clinic’s appointments will be scheduled through the state system at http://www.covidvaccine.nj.gov/.  Registering does not create an appointment, but only registers you to be notified of when you are eligible to make a Covid-19 vaccination appointment. Once you qualify, you will receive a second email from the state with a link to schedule an appointment at one of the sites on the list, including RVCC and Rutgers Plaza.


 

FINANCIAL RELIEF AVAILABLE

Relief programs are available to people impacted financially by the pandemic.

  • Somerset County has established a rent relief program using Federal grant monies for 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.
  • Funeral expense relief is available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people who have had to pay funeral expenses for a family member lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Funeral relief information is available online.

 

COVID-19 FULL CASE REPORT

There have been twelve (12) new cases in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Wednesday, 4-7-21.

As of 9AM today, April 9

Montgomery cases: 1164

Montgomery deaths: 23

Rocky Hill cases:  27

Rocky Hill deaths: 1

 

Age Ranges of Cases in Montgomery & Rocky Hill:

283    <20

193    20-29

124    30-39

182    40-49

175    50-59

120    60-69

40      70-79

74      80+

 

1191 confirmed and probable cases for Montgomery and Rocky Hill in total, of which:

– 1119 presumed recovered

– 48  currently ill

– 24 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.

4-7: One Death and 25 New Cases; Free COVID Tests; Vaccine Eligibility Expands; County Opens New Vaccine Site; Vaccines for Homebound Seniors; Financial Relief; Public Health Week; Detailed COVID Case Report

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been twenty-five (25) new cases and the death of another senior resident in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Monday, 4-5-21. Detailed case data are available at the end of this ebulletin.


 

FREE COVID TESTING TOMORROW IN MONTGOMERY

Spring Break is concluding this week, which makes this an important time for many residents to get tested for COVID-19.  Travelers should be sure to get tested before interacting with friends, families, and neighbors upon their return home.

  • Montgomery Township has arranged to hold a free COVID testing clinic at the Township Municipal Building on April 8th from 1-4pm. You can sign-up for the clinic here, or you can walk-in.
  • Central Jersey Urgent Care is offering rapid testing and PCR at its mobile test center in Montgomery Shop Rite parking lot. Telemedicine consultation required before appointment is given.  Call 732 538-2300 or see their website: CJ Urgent Care Skillman.
  • Jersey Pediatric Care (In Hillsborough) is offering testing and care for those up to age 21. Travel-related testing is also available for adults over age 21 without symptoms.  Call their office to schedule at 908-262-2343.

 

ALL ADULTS ELIGIBLE FOR VACCINE APRIL 19TH

Starting this week, all adults in New Jersey 55 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines. Starting April 19, all adults ages 16 and older will be eligible.

New Jersey is relaxing travel rules are relaxing for people who are fully vaccinated.  Governor Phil Murphy said, “New Jersey is no longer advising fully vaccinated individuals who travel domestically to self-quarantine after their trip or to get tested before or after travel. The federal requirement for testing upon return to the United States following international air travel stands.”

Important: Fully vaccinated means two weeks after the second Pfizer or Moderna shot, or 2 weeks after the single J&J shot.

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.”  There is a new Vaccine Finder website that may be useful, particularly for local pharmacies: https://vaccinefinder.org/search/.  

 


COUNTY OPENS SECOND VACCINE SITE

Somerset County has opened a new drive-up vaccination site in Franklin Township to supplement Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg. Located at Rutgers Plaza, the former location of a K-Mart on Easton Avenue, the “pop-up” clinic will offer the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

As with the RVCC vaccination clinic, the Rutgers Plaza clinic’s appointments will be scheduled through the state system at http://www.covidvaccine.nj.gov/.  Registering does not create an appointment, but only registers you to be notified of when you are eligible to make a Covid-19 vaccination appointment. Once you qualify, you will receive a second email from the state with a link to schedule an appointment at one of the sites on the list, including RVCC and Rutgers Plaza.


 

MONTGOMERY VACCINATING TRANSPORTATION-LIMITED SENIORS

Montgomery Township last week received 100 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for homebound and transportation-limited seniors in Montgomery, ages 65 and older, and we are hopeful we will receive more doses. If you or somebody you know meets these criteria, please contact the Montgomery Health Department at 908-359-8211 x2400 as soon as possible to get on the list of transportation-limited seniors.


FINANCIAL RELIEF AVAILABLE

Relief programs are available to people impacted financially by the pandemic.

  • Somerset County has established a rent relief program using Federal grant monies for 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.
  • Funeral expense relief is available via the Federal Emergency Management Agency for people who have had to pay funeral expenses for a family member lost to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Funeral relief information is available online.

 

PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK CONTINUES

Montgomery Township is one of only three municipalities in New Jersey that has achieved the rigorous public health accreditation through the Public Health Advisory Board. The public health community has declared this week to be National Public Health Week and is emphasizing several themes, including racism as a public health issue.

According to American Public Health Association, “Racism is an ongoing public health crisis that has played a significant role in widening health disparities. Racism shapes where and how people live, what resources and opportunities they have and directly affects the physical and mental health of people of color.”

“Our department is very focused on working to overcome conscious and unconscious bias that can lead to different health outcomes based on race and ethnicity,” said Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey.

As part of its efforts to address the many aspects of racism, Montgomery Township last year established and Equity and Inclusion Committee.

 


 

COVID-19 FULL CASE REPORT

There have been twenty-five (25) new cases and one (1) new death in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Monday, 4-5-21.

As of 9AM today, April 7

Montgomery cases: 1153

Montgomery deaths: 23

Rocky Hill cases:  26

Rocky Hill deaths: 1

 

Age Ranges of Cases in Montgomery & Rocky Hill:

281    <20

192    20-29

118    30-39

180    40-49

173    50-59

121    60-69

40      70-79

74      80+

 

1179 confirmed and probable cases for Montgomery and Rocky Hill in total, of which:

– 1113 presumed recovered

– 42 currently ill

– 24 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/

4-5: Thirteen New Cases; Public Health Week; Free COVID-19 Testing; Vaccines for Transportation-Limited Seniors; Free Mental Health Assistance; Video Update of New Municipal Center; COVID Testing

TODAY’S COVID-19 CASE SUMMARY

There have been thirteen (13) new cases in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Wednesday, 3-31-21. Detailed case data are not available today, due to staff being out to vaccinate homebound seniors in town. 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, andhttps://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/


 

LOOKING TOWARD PANDEMIC’S END DURING PUBLIC HEALTH WEEK

By Stephanie D. Carey
Montgomery Health Officer

 

The year 2020 was historic in the way that the pandemic impacted the global community. This year is about the challenge of bringing the pandemic to an end. Because this is Public Health Week, it is the ideal time to reflect on where we are and where we are going.

One of the important themes of public health week is rebuilding our public health capacity, including environmental protection, and improving racial equity. Montgomery has made major investments in our public health, doubling our department’s size during the pandemic.

Our health department is one of only three municipal health departments in New Jersey that has receive national public health accreditation, an achievement we reached as the pandemic began one year ago, after four years of effort. This accreditation has helped us respond during the pandemic. Indeed, I am very proud of the fact that last week we were among the first municipalities to directly receive vaccine from New Jersey to administer to homebound and transportation-limited seniors.

This is a key moment.  COVID-19 cases are rising in our community, with highly transmissible variants of the virus present.  At the same time, vaccination efforts are accelerating. We are in a race between vaccination and infection. It is very important that we all continue to use public health measures to keep ourselves and our families safe until vaccines are more widely available. That means continuing to wear your mask in public to protect yourself and others.

In the coming months, we can expect our focus will shift from vaccine shortages to efforts to persuade vaccine-reluctant people to get vaccinated for the health of the entire community. We also expect we will be vaccinating children this summer, which will help our schools become even safer places for the next school year.

Last Thursday I provided a more detailed public health update to the Township Committee that can be watched on the township website.


 

COVID TESTING IMPORTANT FOR SPRING BREAK TRAVELERS

Spring Break is concluding this week, which makes this an important time for many residents to get tested for COVID-19.

Travelers should be sure to get tested before interacting with friends, families, and neighbors upon their return home.

  • Montgomery Township has arranged to hold a free COVID testing clinic at the Township Municipal Building on April 8th from 1-4pm. You can sign-up for the clinic here, or you can walk-in.
  • Central Jersey Urgent Care is offering rapid testing and PCR at its mobile test center in Montgomery Shop Rite parking lot. Telemedicine consultation required before appointment is given.  Call 732 538-2300 or see their website: CJ Urgent Care Skillman.
  • Jersey Pediatric Care (In Hillsborough) is offering testing and care for those up to age 21. Travel-related testing is also available for adults over age 21 without symptoms.  Call their office to schedule at 908-262-2343.

MONTGOMERY VACCINATING TRANSPORTATION-LIMITED SENIORS

Montgomery Township last week received 100 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine for homebound and transportation-limited seniors in Montgomery, ages 65 and older, and we are hopeful we will receive more doses from New Jersey. If you or somebody you know meets those strict criteria, please contact the Montgomery Health Department at 908-359-8211 x2400 as soon as possible to get on the list of travel-limited seniors.

About two-thirds of seniors in Somerset County have been vaccinated, but that leaves many still vulnerable, as indicated by the death of another Montgomery senior last week due to COVID-19.


COUNTY OFFERING FREE MENTAL HEALTH HELP

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.


SEE MONTGOMERY MUNICIPAL CENTER PROGRESS IN VIDEO

The construction of Montgomery’s new Municipal Center is making rapid progress near the corner of Route 206 and Orchard Road. Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan has released a video update for residents including drone footage and interviews with the building’s architect and construction manager.

You’ll also see detailed architectural drawings that will allow you to imagine what the new municipal offices and library will be like to visit.  The project remains on schedule for opening mid-2022.

The municipal complex is partly funded by more than $5 million in New Jersey state grants 30-year, low-interest bonds.

 

 

Free COVID-19 Testing This Sat., April 3 at Skillman Park

Somerset County to Provide Free COVID-19 Testing at Mobile Site

Walk-Ins Are Welcome, Prescriptions Are Not Required

Walk-ins are welcome from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Somerset County is providing free COVID-19 testing for county residents at a mobile test site on Saturday, April 3, between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Skillman Park in Parking Lot A, off park entrance from Rt. 601 (Main Blvd.), Skillman, NJ 08558.

Although the COVID-19 vaccination rollout has begun, it is still recommended that people practice social distancing and get tested for COVID-19 if they think they have been exposed to the virus.

To receive a COVID-19 test, participants must be age five-years and above and reside in Somerset County. At the test site, residents must show proof of residency with a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification.

Participants do not have to show any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to receive a test. Walk-ins are welcome, and pre-registration is not required. Click here to learn more about coronavirus symptoms.

Click here to download MAP at right.

Click here for more about the Somerset County testing site  (English) or (Spanish).

Click here for general information about Somerset County COVID-19 testing.

Somerset County’s Department of Health is committed to making tests available for all residents. Any Somerset County municipality that is interested in hosting a mobile testing site should contact Justin Berger at SCCOVID@co.somerset.nj.us.

The Skillman Park COVID-19 mobile testing site is sponsored by Clarity Labs, the Somerset County Board of Commissioners, Somerset County Department of Health, Somerset County Park Commission and the Township of Montgomery.