A surge in COVID-19 cases during January affected municipalities in Hopewell Valley and across the state.
Due to the Omicron variant, a significant increase in cases occurred in Pennington and Hopewell Borough after New Year’s Eve.
“At the end of the year, the week leading up to New Year’s Eve through Jan. 15, we had 30 cases in Hopewell Borough and 59 in Pennington Borough during the peak,” Montgomery Township Health Officer Devangi Patel said. “Compare that to after Christmas, Hopewell Borough was about 26 cases and Pennington Borough about 43. Cases were still high, but the highest for both boroughs was after the New Year.”
The Montgomery Township Health Department provides health services to Hopewell Borough and Pennington Borough.
“For us at the local level, immediately getting the breakthrough information is difficult. What we are doing is relying on the state numbers,” Patel said. “The breakthrough cases we are hearing from the state is very low and most of the cases that we are seeing are among the unvaccinated. The numbers I received regarding breakthrough cases at the state level were at less than 3% of cases were breakthrough cases and less than 1% were amongst people who received a booster.”
Patel added that she is hopeful that the pandemic will soon be declared an endemic.
“Hopefully, within the next few weeks my dream is for this virus to be declared endemic in the near future. The caveat from experts is that we do not know if there will be another variant or not,” she said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they define endemic constant presence of a disease that is no longer unpredictable.
Patel continued to stress that residents mask up, wash their hands, socially distance and follow CDC guidelines.
“I absolutely recommend that residents wear a mask while out in public around others. I want people to consider a mask that fits well over their nose and mouth and is snug against their face with no gap,” Patel said. “The protection from a cloth mask is less compared to a three-layer or multi-layered mask and a KN95 mask. It is important to know the level of protection the mask you are choosing to wear offers you.”