COVID Surge Ends 3-Month Decline in Cases
By Donald Gilpin
The Princeton Health Department on Monday, April 4 reported that COVID-19 cases had doubled in the past week, with 53 cases in Princeton in the previous seven days and 80 cases in the previous 14 days.
The BA.2 sub variant of Omicron, which has been spreading in the state over the past few weeks, is largely responsible for the surge, the health department reported. BA.2 is responsible for about 84 percent of COVID-19 cases in the region, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
BA.2 apparently spreads more easily than the original strain of Omicron, but it does not seem to cause more severe illness. The New Jersey COVID-19 transmission rate was 1.09 Tuesday, with any number over 1 signifying that infection numbers are expanding and new cases are leading to an average of more than one additional case.
The Princeton University COVID Dashboard recently reported rising case numbers with a seven-day daily average of 32.43 new cases on April 4, but the campus mitigation level remains at “baseline,” which does not require a change to current testing or mitigation measures, and campus case severity is reported as “mild.”
Princeton Public Schools also reported an increase in case numbers, with 12 new cases for the week ended April 1, an increase from seven cases in each of the previous two weeks.
All of New Jersey’s 21 counties are still listed as having low rates of transmission, according to CDC updated guidelines. Case numbers and transmission rates locally and statewide are still far below their peaks in December and January.
Mercer County saw 51 new cases on Monday, a five percent increase from the previous day and a 55 percent increase in the 14-day daily average, according to The New York Times. New Jersey saw a 2 percent increase from the previous
day in new cases on Monday, and a 50 percent increase in the 14-day daily average. Hospitalization and death rates continue to decline throughout the state and the country.
Princeton’s vaccination rates have climbed slowly in recent weeks, with 89 percent of residents age 5 and over, 90 percent of those 12 and over, and 100 percent of those 65 and over fully vaccinated. As of March 24, 67 percent of Princeton residents 18 and over had also received booster shots.
Last week the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved an additional booster for those who are immunocompromised and those who are 50 and older. Immunocompromised individuals are eligible at least three months after their third dose, and those over 50 are eligible at least four months after their third dose.
The Princeton Health Department will be hosting COVID vaccine clinics on Thursday, April 13, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., at the Princeton Senior Resource Center and on Thursday, April 28, 5 to 8 p.m., at La Mexicana, 150 Witherspoon Street. Princeton University will be holding COVID-19 vaccine clinics open to the public at the Frist Campus Center multi-purpose room B on Wednesdays, April 6 and 20, from 1 to 4 p.m.
Appointments for all of the above clinics can be made on NJ Vaccine Finder at covid19.nj.gov, but walk-ins are also welcome.