VACCINATING THE SCHOOLS: Princeton Deputy Administrator for Health and Community Services Jeff Grosser, left, and Princeton Public Schools (PPS) Director of Special Services Micki Crisafulli were among the organizers of a November 30 free vaccination clinic sponsored by the Princeton Health Department and PPS. The next PPS clinic will be held on Tuesday, December 21 from 4-8 p.m. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Public Schools)
By Donald Gilpin
The Princeton Health Department reported on Monday a total of 24 new COVID-19 cases in the previous seven days and 59 in the previous 14 days, with 82 percent of Princeton residents age 12 and over fully vaccinated.
Princeton Public Schools recorded a total of eight new cases, including five students and three staff members, for the week ending December 3. Princeton University has announced its campus risk status as “moderate to high” with 71 new cases reported between November 27 and December 3 for a 0.34 percent positivity rate.
Meanwhile the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) on Monday announced increases in new cases and hospitalizations and a rise in the transmission rate to 1.26, with any rate over 1 indicating an expansion of the pandemic.
“The local numbers are not dropping off, but not really increasing,” said Princeton Deputy Administrator for Health and Community Services Jeff Grosser. Noting rising rates throughout the region, he pointed out that many of the new infections in Princeton and elsewhere are occurring in unvaccinated individuals as well as many breakthroughs, mainly among those vaccinated more than six months ago who have not gotten booster shots.
“The booster is definitely necessary,” he said, and added that, among those who have been vaccinated, reported cases are almost always mild.
Grosser pointed out that the numbers of new cases are about even across the spectrum of ages, but that the highest totals come from the 18- to 29-year-old population, which, at 68 percent, make up the group least fully vaccinated. Grosser applauded the 5- to 11-year-olds (and their parents), citing a 54 percent vaccination rate as of November 30. Grosser added that Princeton 12- to 17-year-olds have a 98 percent vaccination rate.
He urged parents to continue to bring their children for the pediatric vaccine and to “make sure you’re getting the boosters for yourselves at the same time. That’s almost as important as the original vaccine.”
Concerning the Omicron variant that was first detected in South Africa and has recently spread around the globe with the
first New Jersey case appearing this past week, Grosser promised “continuing surveillance” and “hyper-vigilance” in the health community about what could be next with spreads and variants. The Princeton Health Department has been getting regular health alerts from the NJDOH concerning the Omicron variant, but no definite guidance yet.
“Vaccines seem to help manage these variants and mitigate the severity of the illness,” Grosser said, “and it sounds as if the medical professionals and epidemiologists are at least somewhat optimistic at this point.”
The Princeton Health Department will be posting upcoming vaccination clinics on Thursday, December 9. Mercer County, in partnership with Capital Health, will hold COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the CURE Insurance Arena, Gate A/South Broad Street entrance on Monday, December 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, December 14, noon to 6 p.m.; Thursday, December 16, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, December 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, December 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Tuesday, December 28, 12 noon to 6 p.m.; as well as pediatric-focused clinics on Thursday, December 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Tuesday December 21, noon to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, December 30, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mercer County clinics will also take place in a heated tent next to the Trenton Farmers Market, 930 Spruce Street in Lawrence, on Friday, December 17 and Wednesday, December 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and a pediatric-focused clinic on Friday, December 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition there will be Mercer County pop-up clinics at the Mercer County Park Skating Center, Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, on Thursday, December 16 and Thursday, January 6, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and at the Ewing Senior Center, 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing, on Monday, December 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Princeton University is hosting Pfizer clinics at Jadwin Gym, open to the general public, as well as students, faculty, and staff, on Wednesdays, December 8 and 15 and January 5, from noon to 6 p.m.; and Moderna clinics on Thursdays, December 9 and 16, noon to 3 p.m.
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