COVID cases have increased in Maplewood in March, but are not yet surging at levels seen during Omicron’s advance last fall and winter.
Health Officer Candice Davenport noted at Tuesday’s Board of Health meeting that the increase is mirroring the movement towards mask optional policies and that “While we are currently moving, happily, from a pandemic to an endemic phase, just because we are endemic does not mean that this disease is not still dangerous and fatal to our unvaccinated [population].”
The Omicron BA.2 variant now accounts for 70% of the lab-tested cases from Maplewood, Davenport said. Cases have also risen among students, as masks are now optional for K-12 graders and large gatherings have increased, she noted.
In the meantime, county vaccine sites are still open at the KMart in West Orange and in Newark. Appointments can be made here.
Davenport recommended that residents use the Docket App to obtain their vaccine records, and print them out if necessary.
75% of 5-11 yr olds have completed their primary series of vaccinations, while the CDC is only recommending 4th booster to those 50 and older who are immunocompromised and those 65 and older.
Davenport also mentioned the health department’s alliance with Blue Cross Blue Shield to help those without healthcare gain access to health checks such as blood and cholesterol screenings. “During Covid one out of five persons admitted that they delayed getting health screenings…which resulted in worsening health conditions for our townspeople,” she said. The next free screening will be April 25th for ages 18 and up.