I know that we are all fatigued and upset that the coronavirus cases are surging, and we want it to be done! But, unfortunately, cases of the highly contagious COVID variants have been increasing recently in New Jersey and across the United States.
Governor Murphy and health care professionals are urging everyone to be aware of the increase in COVID cases in New Jersey and to do what we can to keep ourselves and our families as healthy as possible — especially our loved ones with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). The current surge in COVID cases is due to the Delta variant, but there are also concerns that the Omicron variant is likely to cause an additional spike in cases.
These are the current recommendations on COVID vaccines:
- Everyone age 5 and older should receive the two-shot COVID vaccination. We believe that a majority of the adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in New Jersey received the COVID vaccines that were available earlier this year. For anyone who has not yet been vaccinated, the COVID vaccines are widely available, and the link below provides information in real-time on vaccine availability.
- The efficacy of the COVID vaccines wanes over a period of months, which has resulted in a considerable number of breakthrough cases of COVID among persons who were vaccinated at least six months ago. Therefore, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is strongly recommending that everyone 18 and older should receive a booster dose if it has been at least six months since the last dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least two months since receiving the J&J vaccine.
New Jersey has a Vaccine Call Center, in multiple languages: 1-855-568-0545The Vaccine Call Center is available from 8 am to 8 pm Monday thru Friday, to register individuals in the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System, answer questions about the vaccine, provide contact information for sites, check registration status, and update registration information.
Where to get the COVID booster or the initial vaccinationPlease see this Vaccine Appointment finder link, from nj.gov, to find a location in your area that is providing COVID vaccines for individuals who need the booster dose or the initial vaccination:https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/finder
How to arrange for the booster or initial vaccine at home, if a loved one with IDD is not able to go to a vaccine sitehttps://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/testing-and-treatment/how-can-i-get-the-covid-19-vaccine-if-im-homebound#direct-link
How and where to get testedEspecially with the Christmas and New Year’s holidays approaching, it will be helpful to know how to get tested for COVID. See this link for information: free testing sites; free at-home testing; and local pharmacies (where payment is required). https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing#test-sites
What are some of the symptoms of COVID?Common COVID symptoms may include headache, loss of smell and taste, nasal congestion, cough, muscle pain, sore throat, fever, diarrhea, fatigue, or breathing difficulties. People with the same infection may have different symptoms, and their symptoms may change over time. Sometimes a person who tests positive for COVID has only one or two of the classic symptoms.
Recommendations from the CDC to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:Get the COVID vaccine and a booster (see above on eligibility for the booster).Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others who don’t live with you.Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.Clean your hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.Avoid close contact with people who are sick.Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.Clean frequently touched objects and surfaces daily. If someone is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19, disinfect frequently touched surfaces.Monitor your health daily.
Here are three additional links that may be of interest:
Helpful information on COVID-19, including FAQs, from nj.govhttps://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine
Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines, from the CDChttps://bit.ly/cdc-keythings
The NJ Department of Health has a YouTube Channel with education and informational video clipshttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOXWk66_cfg2MClHHv4AAxA/videos
Please share this with others who may also be interested. Our best wishes to everyone for a very healthy, safe, and happy Holiday Season!