Following a month during which numbers of positive cases of COVID-19 seemed to have plateaued, South Brunswick’s COVID-19 cases appear to be rising again with 49 new cases.
Although the reason for this increase in cases is not immediately apparent, the curve of the weekly case graph appears to be very closely mirroring that of Middlesex County, according to information provided by the South Brunswick Office of Emergency Management on March 15.
In addition, 20 cases were reported from previous weeks. South Brunswick currently has 2,229 cases of residents who have tested positive since March 2020, according to the statement.
No new COVID-related fatalities were reported over the past week, and the total number of deaths since March 2020 remains at 60, according to the statement.
Statewide, 1,870 people are hospitalized due to COVID, a 4.7% increase in the number of hospitalizations from the previous week, according to the statement. Middlesex County saw its numbers increase to 71,279 total cases.
As for vaccine distribution, South Brunswick is one of the top three communities in the county for residents vaccinated. Many residents have volunteered through social media and helped navigate the different vaccine websites which has created the vaccine rate, according to the statement. The state has reported that nearly 1 in 7 adults in New Jersey have received both doses of the vaccine.
The state has established a system through which seniors age 75 and older are able to access free, dedicated COVID-19 vaccine appointments in New Jersey:
- Directly call the senior-specific hotline at 856-249-7007 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to register, schedule and reschedule appointments as needed.
- Receive calls from the NJ COVID Vaccine Call Center for the Gloucester mega-site; Inspira Health (Mullica Hill and Vineland; and Walmart.
- Schedule directly with hospitals, pharmacies, and other sites, such as CVS 800-746-7287 or www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine; Rite Aid 800-748-3243 or http://ritea.id/newjersey; or Walgreens 1-800-WALGREENS or www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19/ for Walgreens account holders only.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced expansion of eligible groups to receive the vaccine in the coming weeks. While more persons will be able to schedule an appointment, vaccine demand still exceeds supply.
As of March 15, the following additional groups may make appointments:
- Educators and support staff in pre-K through 12th grade settings
- Childcare workers in licensed/registered settings
- Public and local transportation workers including NJ TRANSIT and Motor Vehicle Commission staff
- Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement/fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors
- Migrant farm workers
- Members of tribal communities
- Persons experiencing homelessness, those living in shelters or domestic violence shelters.
For more information on who is eligible for vaccination under different phases, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/who-is-eligible-for-vaccination-in-new-jersey-who-is-included-in-the-vaccination-phases
Murphy also announced an increase from 35% to 50% of capacity in indoor capacity limits beginning on March 19 in the following locations:
- Restaurants (with the exception of bar seating)
- Recreation and amusement venues
- Gyms and fitness facilities
- Barber shops and salons
- Personal care businesses
Face coverings are required in indoor public spaces and in outdoor public spaces when social distancing is difficult to maintain. Given the current surge in COVID-19 cases, indoor gatherings should be limited to immediate household members if possible.
- General indoor gatherings must be limited to 10 people. All attendees at indoor gatherings must wear face coverings and stay six feet apart. At 6 a.m. on March 19, the indoor capacity limit will increase to a maximum of 25 people.
- Indoor gatherings for religious services and celebrations, including wedding ceremonies, funerals and memorial services that involve a religious service, must be limited to 50% of a room’s capacity. Wedding ceremonies, funerals and memorial services that do not involve a religious service must be limited to 35% of a room’s capacity, but no more than 150 individuals.
- Indoor wedding receptions are capped at 35% of the room’s indoor capacity, but no more than 150 individuals.
- Indoor gatherings for political activities protected under the First Amendment must be limited to 35% of a room’s capacity, but no more than 150 individuals.
- Indoor sports practices and competitions may exceed the general indoor gathering limit under specific exceptions, described at https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/reopening-guidance-and-restrictions/can-organized-sports-resume-what-are-the-safety-requirements-for-sports-facilities
- Indoor performances at entertainment centers, including movie theaters, performing arts centers, and other concert venues, must be limited to 35% of a room’s capacity, but no more than 150 people, not including staff.
- Large venues, including sports and entertainment venues, with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or more will be permitted to host events at 10% capacity indoors; the 10% capacity limit will exclude participants, such as athletes and performers, and staff, such as coaches and ushers, but include patrons and other members of the public.
- Indoor meetings of addiction support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, must be limited to 35% of a room’s capacity, but no more than 150 individuals.
- Legislative and judicial proceedings are not subject to the limits on indoor gatherings.
- General outdoor gatherings must be limited to 25 people and social distancing must be practiced. At 6 a.m. on March 19, the outdoor capacity limit will increase to a maximum of 50 people.
- There is no limit for outdoor gatherings for wedding ceremonies, funerals, memorial services, religious activities or political activities.
- Outdoor wedding receptions are limited to 150 individuals.
- Outdoor sports practices and competitions may exceed the general outdoor gathering limit under specific exceptions, described at https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/reopening-guidance-and-restrictions/can-organized-sports-resume-what-are-the-safety-requirements-for-sports-facilities
- Outdoor performances at outdoor entertainment centers, including movie theaters, performing arts centers, and other concert venues, are limited to a number that ensures that all people can remain six feet apart, but no more than 150 people. Outdoor performances in an outside area adjacent to an indoor entertainment centers must be limited to 35 percent of the facility’s indoor capacity, but no more than 150 people, not including staff.
- Large venues, including sports and entertainment venues, with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or more may host events at 15 percent capacity outdoors; the 15 percent capacity limit will exclude participants, such as athletes and performers, and staff, such as coaches and ushers, but include patrons and other members of the public.