Today marks the two year anniversary of the first COVID case identified in New Jersey. In some ways it seems hard to remember life before COVID, and the numbers of the past two years tell a somber story.
Worldwide, 440M COVID cases have been reported, along with 5.97M reported deaths from COVID. In the US, 79.1M reported cases have been logged and 955,000 US citizens have lost their lives to COVID over the past 24 months.
Here in New Jersey, 1,875,575 cases have been reported, and 32,982 New Jerseyans have had COVID-related deaths. One in four Union County residents have had a reportable positive COVID test, and 1 in 237 Union County residents have died from the virus over the past two years.
The Westfield Regional Health Department has had a total of 20,718 COVID cases reported for the eight communities it serves over the past 24 months. That equates to 18.9% of the department’s service population with a reported positive test.
In Westfield, a total of 5,538 cases have been reported throughout the past 24 months (17.8% of residents using 2020 census data).
To say these numbers were unimaginable when this pandemic began two years ago is an understatement, and we are all relieved to see signs of a return to normalcy.
215.9M individuals are now fully vaccinated in the US, with 94.8M being boosted as well. In New Jersey, 78.9% of all eligible residents (age five and above) are fully vaccinated, and 74.4% of the entire state population is fully vaccinated.
The Westfield Regional Health Department has administered 3,287 vaccinations during the pandemic to date.
Locally, 61% of children 5-11 have received at least one dose of vaccine (up from 58% last month) and 53% of those 5-11 years old are fully vaccinated. In Westfield, 69% of those who are eligible for a booster have received one.
Booster doses by age can be broken down as follows:
- Ages 12-15: 39% (14 point increase since last month)
- Ages 16-17: 53% (13 point increase since last month)
- Ages 18-29: 60% (5 point increase since last month)
- Ages 30-49: 70% (3 point increase since last month)
- Ages 50-64: 74% (4 point increase since last month)
- Ages 65-79: 83% (4 point increase since last month)
- Ages 80 and above: 80% (2 point increase since last month)
Additional breakdowns of vaccination statistics by location and age group can be found on the NJ COVID-19 Dashboard.
For the month of February, there were 137 new cases reported in Westfield (down from 976 in January). Of these 137 cases, the pediatric cases can be broken down as follows:
- Under age 5: 12 cases
- Ages 5-9: 13 cases
- Ages 10-14: 29 cases
- Ages 15-19: 13 cases
Sadly, there were two additional COVID-associated deaths last month in residents, both of whom were over the age of 80. This brings the total of Westfield residents who have died of COVID to 66.
Today, Governor Murphy held his final COVID briefing, and announced that he will lift New Jersey’s latest COVID-19 public health emergency on Monday. The state’s seven-day average for confirmed positive tests is down 7% from a week ago and 68% from a month ago – with yesterday’s average marking the first time since early August that it has dropped below 1,000 cases. New Jersey’s rate of transmission remains under the benchmark of 1 at 0.77. Overlook Medical Center reports eight patients hospitalized with COVID for the week ending February 24.
Statewide, vaccination rates have decreased by 4% from last week’s rate, with an average of 13.7K doses administered per day.
Masking will no longer be mandated in schools or child care centers beginning on March 7. The Health Department has been working closely with the school district and the child care centers to assist with interpreting the evolving guidance. In addition, masks will no longer be required in Town Hall beginning March 7.
The department’s immunization outreach continues, with numerous clinics that resulted in 145 COVID vaccinations during the month of February (down from 613 individuals vaccinated in January). They continue to offer vaccinations in homes and offices for those ages five and above. Any resident interested in receiving the vaccine can call 908-789-4070.