Woodbridge new COVID-19 cases slightly trickling down

WOODBRIDGE – The township reported 155 new COVID-19 cases over a three-day period, which brings the total number of cases to 10,228, according to Mayor John McCormac in his coronavirus report on April 1.

Forty-one new cases of COVID-19 were reported for March 29, 65 new cases were reported for March 30 and 49 new cases were reported for March 31.

“They are still higher than what we experienced back in February and early March, but very much below the numbers from the last two weeks so maybe we are getting back on the right track,” McCormac said. “Let’s hope so.”

The new COVID-19 cases include younger people getting COVID-19 with 55 of the 155 aged 30 or younger – that’s 35% of the total – and 16 who are 65 or over which is only 10% of the total, the mayor said.

The number of COVID-19 cases include East Jersey State Prison and a number of related state facilities in the Avenel section of the township. The state reported zero new cases from their facilities over the three-day period. The total number of cases at the facilities remain at 840.

There are 68 COVID-19 cases reported from St. Joseph’s Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility. The residents at St. Joseph’s Nursing Home devastated by COVID-19 were initially counted in the township’s statistics before residents were moved to another facility out of town on March 25, 2020. On April 16, residents started moving back home after a massive cleaning effort. On May 4, the last resident moved back to the facility.

The township is reporting statistics from the state facilities and nursing home separately. McCormac said tracking the numbers separately – general population, state facilities and health facilities – gives the township a better indication of the real impact on its everyday residents.

The township has lost two more residents to COVID-19 – a 67-year-old female and a 75-year-old male – which brings the total number of residents lost to 179, 22 residents lost from state facilities and 28 residents lost from the St. Joseph’s Nursing Home.

Vaccinations

The township had been chosen by the state and Middlesex County to assist in the distribution of the Moderna vaccine. According to regulations established by Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 Task Force, the first doses are allocated to health care professionals and emergency medical technicians. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use approval to the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 18.

Residents who work in the healthcare field and first responders in category 1A can make an appointment to get the vaccine at the township’s Health Center next to the Woodbridge Library. For more information call 732-855-0600 ext. 5004.

Category 1B includes people over 65 and people between 16 and 64 with specific medical conditions and it is next on the list after first responders and health care workers.

Educators from pre-kindergarten to high school and support staff, child care workers, transportation workers and additional public safety workers are now eligible for the vaccines.

Food production, agriculture, food distribution, eldercare and support staff, warehousing and logistics, social services support staff, elections personnel, hospitality, medical supply chain, postal and shipping services, clergy and anyone in the judicial system are now eligible for the vaccines.

As of April 5, the following new categories of people are eligible for vaccines – people 55 and over, individuals over 16 with intellectual and developmental disabilities, higher education educators and support staff and workers in the fields of communications, information technology, press, real estate, building, home services, retail financial institutions, sanitation, laundry service, utilities and libraries.

Any currently licensed doctor or nurse, active or retired, who wishes to work on a part-time basis with compensation to assist with the vaccine distribution can call the Health Department at 732-855-0600 ext. 5026 and ask for Kim.

The township has trained all of its senior center employees to help the senior citizen population register for the vaccine with the state Department of Health. The township has established a hotline for people to call at 732-726-6264.

The township’s senior transportation busses can drive people to vaccine appointments in town or at Raritan Center in Edison. Call 732-726-2394.

The Woodbridge CVS drug store on Main Street is now offering vaccinations, which are all handled by appointment through their website at cvs.com/coronavirus. Both doses of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine are offered and inoculations occur at the store.

Immediate Care has opened two no-cost mobile COVID-19 testing centers in Woodbridge. One is open on Mondays from 2-6 p.m. at 1460/1480 Route 9 North – office building right after the Green Street merge and the other location is open on Fridays from 2-6 p.m. at 555 Route One South – office building next to Red Lobster.

Community

The township is running a Woodbridge wide girls softball league for kids from kindergarten through 9th grade with a goal toward participation. For more information call 732-596-4048 or email recreationdepartment@twp.woodbridge.nj.us.

A list generated of local businesses and restaurants offering outside dining are on the township’s website and Facebook pages.

The state has allowed parental attendance at all high school winter sports contests including basketball and hockey beginning immediately.

The township’s miniature golf course and batting cages behind the Woodbridge Community Center (WCC) will open on April 2 just in time for the school spring break with specials through April 11 and then will be open from Fridays to Sundays through the end of school and every day for the summer. Check the WCC website for details.

Many businesses can now be open at 50% of capacity including restaurants, recreational and amusement operations, gyms and fitness clubs, barber shops and salons and other personal care businesses. Indoor gathering limits are increased to 25 from 10 and outdoor gathering limits are increased to 50 from 25 for any events other than religious services, political events, weddings and funerals (which have no limit), which have already been assigned higher limits of 35% of capacity for indoors and now 200 maximum count for outdoors.

Senior centers Colonia, Hickory in Fords, Sycamore in Port Reading and Five Branches in Iselin, reopened on June 22, on a limited basis. There will be no luncheons or large gatherings, but seniors can call in advance to schedule times to visit for crafts, games or other recreational activities, McCormac said.

McCormac recognized Alan Bigdelle of Advanced Micro Distribution Channels for a generous donation of hand sanitizers to the township, which was distributed to the township senior centers and senior housing complexes.

Woodbridge Center and all indoor malls are open. Woodbridge Center will open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information visit www.woodbridgecenter.com.

The Woodbridge Main Library has eliminated Sunday hours and is the only library open during the week. The other library branches – Fords, Colonia and Iselin – will continue curbside pickup and drop-off. For more information visit woodbridgelibrary.org or call 732-634-4450.

The library has some programs in honor of Women’s History Month, for more information visit woodbridgelibrary.org for details.

The library has launched a next generation mobile library app called “WPL on the Go,” which can be downloaded on Google Play or the Apple Store. The app offers everything at the library plus library-sponsored events.

We Feed Woodbridge is a coalition of 11 food pantries and a soup kitchen. With national reports indicating that as many as one in five children suffer from food deprivation and township officials reporting a 33% increase in utilization of the township’s food pantries, community efforts to collect food and money really never ends, McCormac said.

The township is now serving double the normal number of families through its 11 food pantries.

Donations of food, gift cards and checks for the food banks can be dropped off at Town Hall, the Main Library, Health Department, Barron Arts Center and Woodbridge Community Center. Checks can be made payable to We Feed Woodbridge and mailed to the Mayor’s Office at 1 Main St., Woodbridge, NJ 07095.

McCormac recognized the Woodbridge AARP for its generous donation to We Feed Woodbridge.

The soup kitchen at Trinity Episcopal Church, 650 Rahway Ave., in Woodbridge is open again from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday for a hot lunch to go.

Most interaction with local government can be done by phone, mail or on-line. Township officials are also accepting appointments if a person needs to meet with someone to conduct business. Phone numbers are on the township’s website or call 732-634-4500.

Hematology and Oncology Associates at 540 Green St. in Iselin and Excel Urgent Care at 740 Route 1 north in Iselin are offering antibody testing. For more information call Hematology and Oncology Associates at 732-913-8500 and for Excel Urgent Care call 732-874-5507.

The Avenel Performing Arts Center reopened on Oct. 1 with a full schedule, but limited capacity.

The Woodbridge Township Concert Field has sufficient capacity to once again hold all of the township’s summer concerts. Shows have been booked for Doo-Wop Mondays, 70s/80s Tribute Band Tuesdays, Eclectic Wednesdays, Local Band Thursdays and Country Band Sundays. All shows are 7:30 p.m. except Sundays, which are at 7 p.m. and the complete lineup is on the township website and social media pages.

Bulk pickups have restarted. To schedule a bulk pickup call 732-738-1311 ext. 3600.

Township officials remind the public organized games are not permitted and encourage people to be careful and diligent about cleaning equipment before and after usage. The township will continue to also diligently clean the equipment.

The mayor continues to urge neighbors to check on people who live alone and cannot leave their homes and to continue to follow the rules and guidelines for social distancing, good personal hygiene, proper disposal of trash and avoiding non-essential travel. He also continues to warn residents of potential fundraising scams as well as contact tracing and vaccine scams for COVID-19.

For more COVID-19 information, visit covid19.nj.gov. Visit www.twp.woodbridge.nj.us for local information.