Maplewood COVID Cases Up ‘Quite a Bit’ with Breakthough Cases Seen; Vaccination Rates ‘Robust’

by Carolyn Parisi
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Maplewood has a total of 1,984 cases of COVID-19 as of December 2, 90 of which were reported in the month of November.

That was the update from Health Director Candice Davenport at Tuesday’s Board of Health meeting. “[O]ur numbers are going up quite a bit,” Davenport said, noting that “We are seeing breakthrough cases” particularly in residents who have traveled.

 

In terms of age distribution, a large number of cases are in 20-39 year olds. “This is the same age group that are parents to young children,” said Davenport, indicating they are likely breakthrough cases in people with young children who are not yet vaccinated.

More than half of New Jersey is now in the “High” transmission category; Davenport expects that Essex County will soon be in the High category.

80% of residents ages five and up are fully vaccinated, which is good news, Davenport said. “Our numbers are very robust and help to contribute to our safety and herd immunity.” Also, 87% of 12-17 year-olds are fully vaccinated, and that number is steadily increasing. “Keep it going, 12-17 year olds, and go and get vaccinated.”

The vaccination trend is positive in Essex County as a whole as well, she said.

As for the Omicron variant, it is spreading fast, Davenport said. In the next few weeks, “we will see if Omicron starts to dominate the variants that spread across New Jersey.”

She noted that the vaccines still appear to be protective against Omicron, with only mild cases observed so far.

Davenport reminded residents that they can get vaccinated and booster shots at county sites including Essex County College, the former Sears in Livingston and the former Kmart in West Orange. Testing is also available at those sites, and at mobile testing sites throughout the county. (See this site for more information.)

In addition, the South Orange-Maplewood School District has testing available at a mobile clinic on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

 

The Maplewood Health Department will be adding a crisis intervention social worker in 2022, to assist the health department and first responders in dealing with pandemic-related issues — including mental health issues — in the community.

“We are expanding our services…to be more holistic and encompassing,” said Davenport. “So the health department is growing and we’re happy about that.”

She thanked the community for supporting public health as we approach two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Davenport also thanked TC member Greg Lembrich, who is finishing up his current term.  “A big thank you for your service to us and the community, as a Maplewood resident.”

Davenport pointed out that only 3% of the federal government’s health care funds go toward public health; she thanked the TC for supporting the public health department.

“It takes a lot; what you guys do is amazing, the amount of hours and time and service and dedication and research that you guys do every day to assist us is incredible, so thank you for being there.”

 

 

 

 

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