LIVINGSTON, NJ — As August came to a close on Monday, the Livingston Health Department (LHD) reported that the Township of Livingston has confirmed only 13 new COVID-19 cases among residents and zero deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus since Aug. 1.
According to LHD officials, there have been 51 total cases reported between June 1 and Aug. 31, bringing the locally documented total to 526 cumulative cases and 69 deaths attributed to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. At the height of the pandemic in early April, the Township of Livingston was seeing a five-day rolling average of nearly 18 new cases per day (as reported on April 7), whereas the five-day average has remained around 1.0 or below since June.
Despite the encouraging numbers, the LHD encourages residents to help stop the spread of the virus by continuing to follow COVID-19 protocols and cooperating with contact tracers.
“Those who test positive for COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 will be contacted by the local health department or a trained contact tracer,” said Livingston Health Educator Jessica Kelly. “If you test positive for COVID-19, providing information about your close contacts so they can be followed up with by a contact tracer can help stop the spread of the virus.
“If you have been identified as having been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, the contact tracer will ask you some questions and can offer resources for testing and assistance with quarantining. Close contacts will be asked to self-quarantine and compliance with the self-quarantine is crucial in stopping the spread.”
The township continues to remind residents that COVID-19 data being reported through Essex County—which reported a total of 537 cases and 70 deaths in Livingston as of Monday—rapidly fluctuates due to increased testing and investigations being conducted into each positive COVID-19 test result.
In a recent message to the community, Livingston officials explained that the county reports its daily case numbers based on the statewide database, which is “not an ‘up-to-the-minute’ report of diagnosed cases in real time, particularly with respect to the residency of each case.”
Notification of all positive COVID-19 test results for Livingston residents is delivered to the local health department, which then assumes responsibility of follow-up, contact tracing, etc. for those cases. According to the township, this means that the LHD database “more accurately reflects the actual change in cases during any 24 hours or other period of time.”
Health officials further explained that many cases reported through the state or county are being based on place of employment, where the test was administered, place of temporary confinement for treatment, or another location outside the affected individual’s municipality of residence. In other instances, cases are being entered into the statewide database after the actual date of the confirmed COVID-19 test, which could cause a sudden increase in the county’s daily case report after a streak of zero new cases.
The database is revised on an ongoing basis, including cases being added or subtracted from previous days or weeks based on subsequent research, follow-up and additional information being gathered. According to the township, these deductions make it appear as though Livingston “lost cases,” and the corrections result in “day-to-day fluctuations in the case counts that are not representative of actual new cases in that 24-hour period.”
Statewide on Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey's rate of transmission (Rt) has remained below the key figure of 1.0 for more than a week, reporting a 0.90 Rt on Monday as well as a spot positivity rate that is among the lowest in the nation.
The New Jersey Department of Health confirmed 352 new coronavirus cases on Monday for a cumulative total of 191,960 total and eight new deaths for a total of 14,165 (with 1,780 considered “probable” but awaiting lab-conformation). As of Monday, there are 484 patients hospitalized for the respiratory illness, with 231 patients still under investigation, 103 in intensive care and 36 on ventilators.
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