COVID Cases Decline Locally, Rise in NJ – Town Topics

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department on May 2 reported 60 new cases of COVID-19 in the previous seven days, an 8.5 daily average, and 109 cases in the previous 14 days.

“Princeton has begun to see a decrease in COVID-19 infections after four weeks of sustained increases,” said Jeff Grosser, princeton deputy administrator and director of health.

The New Jersey statewide transmission rate was 1.18 on May 3, with any number over 1 indicating that the outbreak is expanding, with each new case leading to least one additional case. Hospitalizations remain far below peaks reached during this past January’s Omicron surge.

Mercer County and seven other counties out of New Jersey’s 21 counties were recently raised from “low” to “medium” transmission rate level, according to the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We continue to monitor these scores as well as hospitalization rates from COVID-19 to assess COVID-19 severity level,” said Grosser. “As we have now seen multiple case surges with mostly mild cases, this helps to guide us forward in the pandemic, allowing normal activities to continue through the summer months.”

Grosser noted that the health department is tracking clustered outbreaks in Princeton schools. The Princeton Public Schools saw an uptick in cases, with 48 new cases for the week ending April 29. The previous week there had been just 18 cases reported, 26 and 31 in the weeks before that.

“In situations where we identify clustered cases and/or linked outbreaks, such as a particular grade level in a school, we have advised schools and other organizations to strongly recommend masking to assist in breaking the chain of infection in particular cohorts,” Grosser added.

For the week ended May 2, Princeton University reported 133 new COVID cases with a positivity rate of 2.8 percent and campus case severity level of “mild.”

The health department is continuing to monitor COVID-19 cases in order to identify clustered outbreaks. “Depending on the community transmission, we will continue to advise residents of additional precautions they can take,” said Grosser.

The Princeton Health Department is providing free at-home COVID-19 test kits to Princeton residents, with five test kits per household available from the health department office at 1 Monument Drive, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The health department will be hosting free COVID-19 vaccine clinics on May 5 at Monument Hall, 2 to 4 p.m.; on May 10 at Hinds Plaza, 55 Witherspoon Street, 5 to 7 p.m.; on June 2 at Princeton Farmers Market in the Dinky Train Station Parking Lot, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; on June 16 at Princeton Farmers Market in the Dinky Station Parking Lot, 10 a.m. to noon; and on June 29 at Princeton United Methodist Church, 7 Vandeventer Avenue, 5 to 7 p.m.

Grosser noted that booster doses are currently approved for those who are over 50 years old, four or more months after their initial booster, and for those who are immunocompromised.