LIVINGSTON, NJ — With 149 new COVID-19 cases reported among Livingston residents in the first 15 days of January, the Township of Livingston has recorded 18 more cases in the first half of January than it did in the first half of December and is on track to surpass 300 cases in one month for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

Although there we only six new cases reported on Friday, the Livingston Health Department reported 20 new cases on Thursday after seeing 15 new cases on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. As of Friday morning, the township had received 52 positive test results since Monday, indicating a five-day rolling case average of about 10.4 cases per day.

There has also been one confirmed COVID-19 death reported thus far in January, bringing Livingston’s total to 82 deaths since the start of the pandemic. As of Friday, the Township of Livingston has recorded a cumulative total of 1,314 COVID-19 cases since March.

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Despite the increase in cases, the Township of Livingston currently leads Essex County in the number of residents who have been vaccinated, including many healthcare professionals and several first responders who were inoculated prior to the governor’s announcement about expanding eligibility to those over 65 years old as well as those over 16 with underlying health conditions (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)).

Earlier this week, the township sponsored a virtual information session about the COVID-19 vaccinations that featured panelists from RWJBarnabas Health, the Livingston Health Department and the Essex County Department of Health.

Mayor Shawn Klein explained that the purpose of this forum was to address the community’s questions about the latest COVID-19 vaccine administration and to discuss the science of the COVID-19 virus, current treatments with vaccines as well as the logistics of the vaccine rollout.

“We are here to give you the best information we can please, but keep in mind that this is a fluid situation and that there may be questions where the answers are not known at this time,” he said.

During the forum, Dr. Lincoln Miller from RWJBarnabas Health spoke about the increased intake of COVID-19 patients in recent weeks, but also spoke positively about the ability for hospitals to manage COVID-19 patients while also continuing to treat other patients, which was not always possible at the height of the pandemic.

Also on hand were Essex County Chief Health Officer Maya Lordo as well as Livingston Health Department representatives Lou Anello, Melissa Kimmel and Jessica Kelly among others, who discussed recent changes in quarantine protocols and other frequently asked questions.

In response to a common inquiry about whether to register for the vaccine through the state or the county, Klein reiterated that residents should continue to visit Essexcovid.org as their primary source for registration.

“If you don’t get through the first time, keep checking and keep trying to sign up,” he said. "Eventually you'll get into the system. Just be patient because there's a long waiting list of people who are trying to get in, but we're going to get to everybody.”

As of Friday afternoon, more than 3,000 community members had viewed the one-hour discussion, which remains on the Livingston Township, NJ Facebook page for the public to view at any time.

More information about how to register for the vaccination can be found on the township website BY CLICKING HERE.

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