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Municipalities see COVID-19 cases rise as residents spend more time indoors

Hopewell Township is reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases this holiday season as 63 new cases have been confirmed in mid-December.

The Hopewell Township Health Department stated that the 63 confirmed cases occurred during a two-week period from Dec. 6-17, according to the department’s latest update report.

“The Omicron variant has quickly taken hold in New Jersey and we can expect to see more cases in the coming weeks,” Health Department officials wrote in the statement. “We know that being fully vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself from severe illness, but because this variant is highly transmissible it is vital to do what we can to reduce its spread and protect those in our community who remain vulnerable.”

Residents wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, ventilation, and staying home when sick are several measures still recommended by the department as ways to reduce risk, in addition to receiving a vaccine.

“Get tested if you may have been exposed, are having symptoms, and before gathering with loved ones at higher risk of severe illness this holiday season,” they added.

As of Dec. 20, Hopewell Township has had 1,212 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Hopewell Township is not the only municipality in New Jersey to report increases in COVID-19 cases this holiday season. The Montgomery Township Health Department, which provides health services to Pennington and Hopewell Borough through shared service agreements, released that Montgomery and Rocky Hill have also experienced a surge in new cases.

Montgomery Township Health Officer Devangi Patel suggested that the increase in cases is partly due to the Thanksgiving holiday last month; and cold weather, because residents are spending more time indoors, according to the department.

“It’s very important that adults get booster shots and children get their first shots as we head into even colder weather and the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, when people will be gathering more often,” she said in the statement. “I also urge people to get tested before and after travel and wear masks when entering indoor public places.”

In Mercer County, there are 192 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. From Nov. 27 to Dec. 20, the county had seen an increase of 126 cases when the newly confirmed cases went on to rise from 66 on Nov. 27 to 192 for Dec. 20.

Statewide, 6,505 new cases have been reported as of Dec. 20, according to the state COVID-19 dashboard. Previously on Dec. 8, the state had 3,274 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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