9-24: Five new COVID Cases; Monty Vaccination Update; Hurricane Ida Report at Township Committee; Last Call for Storm Debris Pickup; Disaster Resources Available

COVID CASE SUMMARY

There have been five (5) new cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery and Rocky Hill since our last report on Tuesday, 9-21-21, and thirteen (13) in the last week, less than half the number of a week earlier.


90% OF ELIGIBLE RESIDENTS VACCINATED IN MONTGOMERY

Fully 90% of Montgomery residents 12 and older have had at least one shot of vaccine against COVID-19, including 95% of adults 18 and older. Rocky Hill’s numbers are even higher.

Even with a high level of vaccination, the Montgomery Township Health Department points out that close to 5,000 residents are not vaccinated, either because they are under age 12 and ineligible, or eligible but unvaccinated.

“The biggest priority right now should be getting our teenagers vaccinated, especially with school back in session. About one-third of teens 12 to 17 are eligible but not yet vaccinated,” said Montgomery Township Health Officer Stephanie D. Carey. “The township urges the parents to schedule a first Pfizer shot right away. Getting your teen vaccinated now is the best way to keep them in school and on the playing field.”

The Township is hosting vaccination clinics with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine each Friday afternoon from 1 to 3pm at the Municipal Building at 2261 Route 206 in Belle Mead. These clinics are well suited to people seeking to quickly comply with new vaccination rules at work.


MONTGOMERY GIVES REPORT ON IDA RECOVERY

A Fire Department photo taken on Hollow Road during Ida Sept. 1.

Last night the Montgomery Township Committee had its first meeting since the remnants of Hurricane Ida forced officials to declare a local disaster. Township Administration, Police, and emergency officials reported on the response to the storm and its aftermath. Their report at last night’s meeting is available to watch online.

Police Director Captain James Gill said that in 25 years of police work, including Hurricanes Floyd, Irene, and Sandy, “this was by far the worst as far as impact and devastation to our town.” Captain Gill said his department had 200 calls for service in the first 30 hours. At the peak he indicated that the regional 9-1-1- service was receiving 1,000 calls per hour. He reported that 11 police cruisers were lost when the municipal parking lot flooded. Eight bridges and three main arteries through town were closed.

In terms of residential impact, 23 homes were seriously damaged. Although there was no loss of life within the township, one township resident died in the flooding while in Hillsborough returning home to Belle Mead.

At the end of the report, Mayor Devra Keenan thanked staff for the coordinated storm response and acknowledged community losses due to Ida. “We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our residents who lost her life in this flood. And I also want to acknowledge the people who lost their homes, either permanently or temporarily.”

The mayor thanked residents for donations to support displaced residents, and township staff who worked to find housing for them. She then led the Township Committee in a moment of silence in memory of losses due to Hurricane Ida.


LAST CALL: LIMITED CURBSIDE PICKUP OF IDA DEBRIS

The Montgomery Township Department of Public Works has received DEP approval to pick up storm debris from residences most seriously impacted by the Hurricane Ida flooding.

Residents unable to address debris removal themselves are advised to fill out an Emergency Help Form on the township website indicating their situation no later than midnight this Sunday.  Alternatively, call Montgomery’s storm Ida hotline at (908) 395-7991 and leave a message with your name, address, and phone number.

The Container Facility remains open through tomorrow (Saturday) from 8am to 2pm, with coupons/fees waived for storm debris originating in Montgomery. Be prepared to prove residency when dropping off debris.


DISASTER RESOURCES FOR RESIDENTS, BUSINESSES, NONPROFITS

Somerset County is part of a declared Federal Disaster area due to Hurricane Ida, meaning that Federal relief monies may be available to residents through the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster process.  Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

If you are facing a major loss, use the state portal to report damage and keep documentation, photos, and receipts. This should expedite reimbursement. Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. FEMA has created a webpage that includes New Jersey resources and assistance for families. If you wish to assist with the recovery efforts, visit FEMA’s Volunteer/Donate page.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority Board approved a disaster relief program that will provide grants between $1,000 and $5,000 to New Jersey businesses and non-profits with up to 50 employees that suffered physical damage as a result of Tropical Storm Ida and any additional flooding immediately thereafter. Landlords and home-based businesses are not eligible.

Local lists of recovery resources are available on the Montgomery Township and Somerset County websites.  Montgomery’s Office of Emergency Management has established a special hotline for Ida-related questions or concerns at (908) 395-7991. In addition, Montgomery Township is collecting requests for help with a range of extraordinary challenges via an Emergency Help Form on the township website.

Additional resources include these hotlines: NJ Mental Health 866-202-HELP, SAMSA Disaster Distress Hotline: 800-985-5990.