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The original item was published from 3/8/2021 2:44:06 PM to 4/10/2021 2:19:27 PM.

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Posted on: March 8, 2021

[ARCHIVED] COVID-19 Advisory: March 8, 2021 - Vaccine and General Information Update

Please find the latest information regarding COVID-19 vaccination efforts and COVID-19 below.

New Jersey has developed an extensive network of vaccination sites to serve those currently eligible for vaccination. Though there have been sharp increases in supply to NJ over the last week, vaccine is still very limited and will be for some time. At this time, there are over 250 vaccination centers across the State, none of which have received enough vaccine to be anywhere close to their throughput capacity. The State will not authorize additional vaccine providers, vaccination centers, or clinics for the foreseeable future. Opening additional, undersupplied locations will not contribute to the efficient administration of vaccine. Therefore, the strategy is to provide a steady and reliable supply of vaccine to the existing sites so they can operate at capacity, as quickly as possible. Local health departments are trained to support the mega-sites and other existing sites where possible. 

On February 27, 2021 Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA

Johnson and Johnson immediately began shipping Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine after receiving the EUA. Initially, four million doses have been shipped to states across the US, and approximately 70,000 doses to NJ.  This vaccine is being equitably distributed to those who are eligible in communities across the State, through various, pre-selected outlets.   

It is anticipated that there will be approximately twenty million doses of the Janssen vaccine ready to ship by the end of March.  

Determining If You Are Eligible for the Vaccine

Currently, vaccines are available to: 

  • Paid and unpaid healthcare workers
  • Residents and staff of long-term and high-risk congregate settings
  • First responders including sworn law enforcement and fire professionals
  • Individuals aged 65 and older
  • Individuals aged 16-64 that have certain medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • Learn more here.

Beginning Monday, March 15, the following categories are eligible for vaccination:

  • Educators, including support staff, in pre-K through 12th grade settings; It has been announced that a program to prioritize educators and staff is being implemented and will involve approximately 9,000 chain pharmacy locations across the United States.
  • Childcare workers in licensed and registered settings;
  • Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, and airport employees; NJ TRANSIT workers; and Motor Vehicle Commission staff;
  • Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors;
  • Migrant farm workers;
  • Members of tribal communities; and,
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters.

Beginning on Monday, March 29, frontline essential workers in the following categories are also eligible for vaccination:

  • Food production, agriculture, and food distribution;
  • Eldercare and support;
  • Warehousing and logistics;
  • Social services support staff;
  • Elections personnel;
  • Hospitality;
  • Medical supply chain;
  • Postal and shipping services;
  • Clergy; and,
  • Judicial system.

If you are eligible to receive a vaccine, there are multiple ways to get vaccinated. It is recommended that you try them all:

  1. Pre-register and make an appointment through the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System. Register here.
  • You will first be notified when you become eligible for the vaccine and you will be notified again when an appointment is available to you through the scheduling system.
  • This online portal enables eligible individuals to schedule an appointment when one is available.
  • If you experience an error, need support with the scheduling system, or need to correct an error, you can complete an online form at covid19.nj.gov/vaccinehelp or call 855-568-0545 for phone support from 8 am to 8 pm. Due to high call volumes, callers are experiencing long wait times.
  1. Make an appointment directly with a vaccination location. View locations here.
  2. If you work or volunteer at a select healthcare facility, make an appointment through your place of work.
  3. Veterans who receive care from VA health facilities or live in VA long-term care facilities may be eligible for vaccines through the VA. Learn more here.

Note: If you make your first dose appointment by booking directly with a vaccine clinic, you should schedule a second dose appointment when you have your first appointment. If you did not receive a second dose appointment at the time of receiving your first dose, you need to contact the site where you received your first vaccine for assistance scheduling the second dose.

Six mega sites throughout New Jersey will serve as vaccination hubs for phased priority groups, part of a critical network of over 250 sites tasked with carrying out the State's COVID-19 vaccination plan fairly and equitably. These mega sites opened in January:

  • Atlantic County: Atlantic City Convention Center (opened 1/22/21)
  • Bergen County: Racetrack at Meadowlands, East Rutherford (opened 1/22/21)
  • Burlington County: Moorestown Mall (opened 1/15/21)
  • Gloucester County: Rowan College of South Jersey, Sewell (opened 1/8/21)
  • Middlesex County: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, Edison (opened 1/15/21)
  • Morris County: Rockaway Townsquare (opened 1/11/21)

Morris County Mega Vaccine Center

Residency in Morris County is not required for this Vaccination Center. At this time, COVID vaccinations at this, or any site, are for the eligible priority groups specified above, only

Registration Instructions for Eligible Priority Groups at the Mega Vaccination Center, Sears Building, Rockaway Townsquare Mall – This site requires those seeking vaccinations at this location to register directly with this vaccination center.   

  • Please use the link https://bit.ly/3onkSkC to register and schedule an appointment at the Morris CountyMega Vaccination Center. For those who are unable to schedule an appointment because none are available, additional appointments will be released as allocations of the vaccine are received. 
  • The Morris County Mega Vaccination Center is a collaborative effort of Atlantic Health System, Morris County, and the State of New Jersey. It’s located inside the former Sears building at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall, in Rockaway. Sign up for additional COVID-19 information and vaccine updates from Atlantic Health System at (atlantichealth.org/covidvaccine)  
  • No one will be permitted to walk in to a facility without authorization and no vaccine will be provided to individuals who show up unannounced.

Additional Atlantic Health System Vaccination Centers

  • Additional Atlantic Health System Vaccination Centers are open in Clark, Hackettsown, Morristown, Mountain Lakes, Newton and Pompton Plains.
  • Follow this following link to make an appointment and/or sign up for alerts. Additional COVID-19 information and vaccine updates from Atlantic Health System are also available on this webpage. 
  • No one will be permitted to walk into a facility without authorization and no vaccine will be provided to individuals who show up unannounced.

Vaccine Supply to NJ is Steadily Increasing

The  vaccine supply in NJ is gradually increasing with each passing week. 

  • It is anticipated that the Mega-Centers will be at full vaccine capacity within the next two weeks. 
  • Chain pharmacies, such as CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Walmart and others, are prioritized to receive vaccine. They will also begin providing a higher volume of appointments to those who are eligible, over the coming weeks.  

Important Tips that Might be Helpful: 

  • First, be patient.  The speed in which two vaccines were developed with a high level of safety and 95% efficacy is a miracle of modern medicine. Waiting a few extra weeks to find an appointment certainly is still much quicker than waiting years for a viable vaccine, which is normally what should be expected. For the next several weeks, it is likely that most sites will not have appointments available, as vaccine supply is scarce. Be emotionally prepared for this likelihood. Continue practicing COVID safety precautions.  
  • Those who are in the eligible priority groups, as described above, should attempt to make appointments at the vaccination centers of their choice from the list provided on the NJDOH website
  • Many of the vaccination centers listed may have a link to their own registration and appointment portals.  It may be helpful to go to every vaccination site’s link for which you have an interest, and register or attempt to make an appointment, until you are successful. 
  • In most cases, you do not need to be a resident in the town or county where the vaccination centers on the list are located. Some vaccine centers are geographically restricting access by town or county. In many instances, this would not be consistent with Federal and State guidelines. The State has notified all sites accordingly, to make this clear. 
  • Some of the sites that do not have vaccine appointments available will only ask that you try again at another time, but others may allow you to register and will send a follow –up email notifying you when they do receive vaccine and have appointments available. 
  • Please check your emails frequently and immediately attempt to make an appointment as soon as this type of email notification is received. Vaccine is scarce and the limited number of available appointments will be booked up very quickly.   
  •  Please note, it is important that those interested in receiving vaccine have access to email capabilities. If not, they should seek this capability to receive and send emails through friends, family, neighbors, caretakers, etc. 
  • In addition to these efforts, periodically check with the NJDOH telephone call center for assistance in finding or making appointments. The call center phone number is (855) 568-0545. In the coming weeks, the call center may eventually have the capability to assist callers with making appointments at the various vaccination centers where vaccine may be available, at that time. High call volume is causing long wait times on hold.

If You Have Additional Questions or Need More Information

COVID-19 Activity

Nationally, the sharp decline in the number of new COVID-19 infections that were observed over the last weeks has leveled off. In New Jersey, the numbers of new COVID infections and hospitalizations have also leveled off. The numbers of deaths have stabilized. 

 The rate of transmission in NJ is fluctuating in recent weeks between .90 and 1.10  Anything above 1.0 is considered concerning. The higher the number, the greater the risk of viral spread throughout the community. As of March 8, 2021, two of the regions of the State remain classified as MODERATE (yellow) COVID Activity and four regions are classified as HIGH (Orange) COVID Activity. The Northwest region had fallen into the  MODERATE (yellow) COVID Activity classification for a period of a week, but has now returned to HIGH (Orange) COVID Activity after increases in the case rate were documented. Over the course of the last week, the sharp decline in the numbers of new COVID cases have stabilized in all of the municipalities within the Pequannock Health Department’s jurisdictions. 

 It is important to note that the risk of increases in infection still exists. This is largely because of the following: 

  • Cooler weather causing more indoor activities
  • Travel
  • COVID outbreaks internationally, some of which includes a more contagious variant of COVID (the vaccine appears to be effective against the UK Variant and might appear to have marginal protection against the South African and Brazilian Variants) 
  • Pandemic fatigue causing people to abandon basic precautions
  • Increased levels of testing

 Please note, the daily cumulative numbers of infected individuals displayed by municipality in the Morris County link below are subject to fluctuate. At times, a percentage of cases are assigned to the wrong municipalities. Also, labs sometimes mistakenly enter the healthcare provider’s address rather than the patients’ addresses, which may skew the numbers to some extent. Corrections are made over time, as these inaccuracies are discovered. However, it should be emphasized, that the trends illustrated by the data are generally accurate. 

Please see the links below for the NJDOH COVID Activity Dashboard, the NJ Regional COVID Activity Reports and the links to the Morris and Passaic County Health Department COVID Websites. Morris County links include daily updates of cumulative numbers of cases by municipality and the COVID Activity and Risk Level in each of the State’s six regions. 

NJDOH Dashboard

Statewide and Regional COVID Activity Report and Risk Level by Region

Morris County-Based COVID Information including Data for Total Positive Cases by Municipality and COVID Testing Availability

COVID-19 Testing

At-Home Testing

Morris County has transitioned away from the Vault At-Home testing option, however, please be advised that symptomatic individuals who are unable to leave their homes will still have the ability to order an At-Home COVID test via pixel by Lab Corps,  which will remain posted on the Morris County website. 

  • Only Morris County residents are eligible
  • You will be asked to provide your health insurance information, but you will not be billed. If you are not insured, your test will still be completed with no cost to you.

No-Cost In-Person Testing at the County College of Morris (CCM)

Morris County is now offering no-cost, in-person saliva COVID testing at County College of Morris. On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9am to 4 pm.   

Requirements:

  • You must present proof during the appointment that you live or work in Morris County.
  • You must schedule an appointment to get your test. No walk-ins.
  • You can get a test whether or not you’re experiencing symptoms.
  • Don’t eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes prior to your COVID test.
  • You must wear a mask during your appointment.

Directions and Precautions

Parking at CCM for people with appointments will be reserved in Lot 6, where individuals using public transportation to and from CCM also may board or disembark from a bus. To find directions to CCM and learn more about public transportation options to and from the campus, please go to the CCM website.

List of Testing Sites in Morris County

Anti-Viral Treatments

Anti-Viral Therapies Continue to be Approved and they have Become More Available at Healthcare Facilities Across the Country

For additional information about COVID vaccines, therapeutics and Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) please see the FDA and CDC links below:

FDA Site

CDC Vaccines Index

CDC Vaccines FAQ 

Contact Tracing and Disease Investigation

The NJ Department of Health (NJDOH) has provided additional contact tracers to our local Health Department from the State work force. They support the operation while under the direction of the Pequannock Health Department’s nurse supervisors. The Department has recently received  additional contact tracers to assist in our jurisdiction. 

Revised Definition of Close Contact to a COVID Positive Individual

Effective as of  October 22, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) updated their criteria for what is now considered a “Close Contact” in regards to someone’s exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual. This definition has now been changed by the NJDOH to read – “a total of 15 minutes or more of close contact exposure (6 feet or closer) to an infected person during a 24-hour period”. Those who have been determined to be a close contact to a COVID -19 positive individual must quarantine for a period of not less than 14 days. 

Quarantine Timeframes Including for those who’ve been Tested COVID Positive or those who’ve been Fully Vaccinated

1. A 14-day quarantine is preferred for all individuals and groups where feasible. There are certain narrow circumstances that might allow for quarantine periods to be reduced to 7 or 10 days.

2. Persons not needing to quarantine: 

A. COVID-19 positive (lab-confirmed viral test) within 3 months: Persons who tested positive for COVID-19 (lab-confirmed viral test), clinically recovered from COVID-19 and then have close contact with someone with COVID-19 within 3 months does not need to be quarantined or retested. However, persons who have close contact with someone with COVID-19 more than 3 months after the initial infection should quarantine. 

 B. Fully Vaccinated Persons within 3 months: Vaccinated persons should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, following CDC travel guidance, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance, including guidance related to personal protective equipment use and SARS-CoV-2 testing. However, fully vaccinated persons who have close contact with someone with COVID-19 do NOT need to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria: 

  1. Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine), AND 
  2. Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series, AND 
  3. Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine during the 3 month period described in 2. B. above, should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If they experience symptoms, they should be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, including SARS-CoV-2 testing, if indicated.   

Revised Definition of Close Contact to a COVID-19 Positive Individual
Effective as of  October 22, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) updated their criteria for what is now considered a “Close Contact” in regards to someone’s exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual. This definition has now been changed by the NJDOH to read – “a total of 15 minutes or more of close contact exposure (6 feet or closer) to an infected person during a 24-hour period”. Those who have been determined to be a close contact to a COVID -19 positive individual must quarantine for a period of not less than 14 days. 

School and University Operations While Addressing COVID Outbreaks
The Pequannock Health Department is working closely with these institutions to contact trace, investigate, isolate, and quarantine individuals to quickly contain any spread of the COVID-19 virus that may be identified within these institutions. In many cases, when COVID cases have increased, classes or schools have suspended in-person instruction for 14 day quarantine periods, when spread within the school population exceeds CDC and NJDOH guidelines. Updated K thru 12 guidance may be found at https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/topics/covid2019_schools.shtml

Attendance at Crowded Gatherings and Travel Increases Risk of COVID Transmission

During the winter and as we are now in cold and flu season, it cannot be stressed enough that large, crowded gatherings, especially indoor or in closed tents, where social distancing isn't being practiced and where face masks aren't being worn when necessary, are in part contributing to the spread of COVID-19. This is especially true at parties or large events where eating and drinking precludes the use of masks. At certain events music may also be playing loudly, which causes people to get close and project so they can be heard in conversation. Indoor spaces are not as well ventilated as the outdoors and these indoor spaces may make it difficult to socially distance properly. Another driver is travel and /or  other smaller social interactions, especially indoors, while not practicing safety precautions.

It is advised that indoor gatherings be limited to 10 people or less.  

 The public must continue to be diligent about the following, while enjoying activities:

  • Distancing six or more feet
  • Wearing masks/face coverings when appropriate
  • Practicing hand hygiene
  • Avoiding touching the eyes, nose or mouth
  • Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces
  • Staying home when symptomatic
  • Stay away from indoor gatherings or crowds, especially if at a higher risk of serious illness because of age or specific underlying health conditions
  • Following all of the requirements and advisories set forth in the Executive Orders and Executive Directives and Travel Advisories. 
  • Adhering to isolation and quarantine recommendations and orders from the Health Department’s contact tracers and disease investigators 

It is advised that travel be limited to necessary travel only. For more NJDOH Travel Advisory Information please visit the FAQ Website:

Executive Orders

Executive Order 228 - Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Clarifying Wedding Receptions Can Operate at Increased Capacity

  • The number of individuals at an indoor gathering that is a wedding reception shall be limited to 35 percent of the capacity of the room in which it takes place, but regardless of the capacity of the room, such limit shall never be smaller than 10 persons or larger than 150 persons, excluding the reception venue’s staff. For purposes of this Paragraph, any private residence or residential unit shall be treated as a single “room.” Paragraph 1 of Executive Order No. 196 (2020) is hereby rescinded to the extent that it conflicts with the provisions of this Order.  
  • The number of individuals at an outdoor gathering that is a wedding reception shall be limited to a number that ensures that individuals can remain six feet apart, but such limit shall never be larger than 150 persons, excluding the reception venue’s staff. Paragraph 4 of Executive Order No. 204 (2020) is hereby rescinded to the extent that it conflicts with the provisions of this Order. 
  • It is hereby clarified that the capacity limits for indoor wedding ceremonies, as stated in Paragraph 1 of Executive Order No. 225 (2021), exclude the venue’s staff.
  • This Order has taken effect on Friday, March 5, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. and shall remain in effect until revoked or modified by the Governor.

Executive Order 225 - Governor Murphy Announces Increased Capacity Limits for Religious Services and Large Sports and Entertainment Venues, and Spectators for Collegiate Sporting Events

  • Effective immediately, the number of individuals at indoor gatherings that are religious services or celebrations, including wedding ceremonies, funerals, and memorial services that involve religious services, shall be limited to 50 percent of the capacity of the room in which it takes place, but regardless of the capacity of the room, such limit shall never be smaller than 10 persons. 
  • For purposes of this Paragraph, any private residence or residential unit shall be treated as a single “room.” 
  • For details on large sports and entertainments venues, and spectators for collegiate sporting events, please see the link below for Executive Order 225 in its entirety.

Executive Order 219 - Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Raising Indoor Capacity Limits from 25 Percent to 35 Percent for Certain Businesses

Please note, Executive Orders may be issued by the Governor at any time to establish or relax restrictions on certain businesses, social activities and gatherings. For up to date and detailed information, please refer to the entire content of the Executive Orders and Executive Directives listed at the links below.

Additional Links

Please seethe link for all Executive Orders to date:

Please see the link for an up to date list of Executive Directives that the Health Department is responsible to enforce

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