SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — As we head into Thanksgiving week, and with increased restrictions on indoor gatherings, Maplewood and South Orange keep seeing increased COVID-19 cases. 

Yesterday South Orange was at 242 total positive test cases, up three from the day before. Scott Egelberg, Director of the Office of Emergency Management in South Orange, spoke with TAPinto SOMA and said Gov. Murphy is “making the right moves” to keep residents safe. “We hope that people adhere to those guidelines” so that the curve will go down again, he added.

When asked the impact of Seton Hall University’s cases, he said that “we don’t comment on the school” and that the steady increase in cases mirrors what is going on in the rest of the state. “There is an issue with cases that goes beyond Seton Hall,” he said.

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Egelberg advises people to “stay vigilant” and accept that “this year’s holidays are going to be different.”

At Maplewood’s Township Committee meeting on Tuesday, Health Officer Candace Davenport gave a report about the local numbers. 

We are moving the needle in the wrong direction and it is taking a toll on our health care system, our public health system, and on the essential workers who are putting themselves at more and more risk every day,” Davenport said. “Covid-19 risk and exposure is unfortunately in every facet of our daily lives, and we can't stop it unless we change our societal behavior.”

She said of the increase in cases, “The numbers are stark and sobering.” At the last Board of Health presentation, Oct. 6, Maplewood had 373 cases. By November 2, she said, there were 417 cases. “That's an addition of 44 cases in that past month. As of today, November 17th, we have 508 cases.” She noted that doubled the increase from the month before in only two weeks.

“Most of these cases in our town are from people having contact with positive cases and getting exposed to prolonged contact, notably other not wearing a mask or gathering indoors or both. Several of our cases are within the same household, which speaks to how quickly Covid-19 can pass within a closed setting like a house, and not everyone will experience it the same way. Even within a household, some people are more vulnerable to the disease and are sicker due to it and are having a longer recovery time because of it. 

“I want to emphasize that these instances are preventable if we follow public health practices.” In addition to following the Governor’s new restrictions, she said, “we need to go low and slow, meaning lower the number of people you see per setting or per gathering to less than 10 people and slow down the frequency with which you see different groups of people.” She also noted that “We need to stop now and face the reality, which means we need to wear masks at social gatherings just like we do in public settings.”

For more information on the new restrictions and guidance on getting through Thanksgiving week safely, see this page of the New Jersey COVID-19 information portal, https://covid19.nj.gov.

Each town also has a COVID-19 portal on their websites:

https://southorangecovid19.com

https://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/COVID19

The Setonian, the student publication of Seton Hall University, has its own COVID-19 numbers tracker as well.

 

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