Although COVID-19 infection rates remained high in Maplewood and the state of New Jersey, the Maplewood public health officer told elected officials at a June 8 Board of Health meeting that the borough’s population will soon decline.

Medical Officer Candice Davenport also provided an update on influenza, monkeypox, vaccination locations, infant formula resources, free summer meals for children, and the South Orange Health Department’s health plan during an update to the Maplewood Township Health Board. Commission meeting June 8th.

Two types of micromicron variant of COVID-19 have spread through Maplewood “quickly and furiously over the past few weeks,” Davenport said at the June 8 meeting. She said the Department of Health was “watching for outbreaks” in the South Orange-Maplewood School District but would shut down monitoring “within a week” as no cases were reported in the district in two weeks. Most of these outbreaks were caused by students traveling or attending shows or other large events, Davenport said. “The school district has taken precautions and we hope we have a good break,” Davenport said when school ends later this month.

According to data shown during Davenport’s presentation to the Department of Health, the township had 577 cases of COVID in May, but the numbers are “gradually leveling out,” she said. “Hopefully COVID has passed through our community and dissipates soon.”

If people need COVID vaccines or tests, the Essex County site at the former Sears in Livingston Mall now has more limited hours than earlier this year, but offers both services three days a week, Davenport said. Mobile sites offer extra time. All community centers also offer pediatric COVID boosters for children ages 5 to 11. If a pediatric dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six months to four years is approved by the FDA, Davenport said the county will also begin offering those vaccines as soon as possible, Davenport said. how are they available. “We’re looking forward to it,” Davenport said.

Davenport warned those at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 that taking the antiviral drug Paxlovid to reduce symptoms carries a risk of developing “rebound” illness two to eight days after a negative test result. If that happens, Davenport said, people should self-isolate for five days, get retested, and then wear a mask for another five days, as they did during the initial exposure.

Davenport spoke about two other illnesses that have been in the news recently. Flu cases in Maplewood and New Jersey have been high for several weeks, she said. “It’s strange to talk about the flu in June,” she said, “but since mask requirements have been lifted in the past few months and people have returned to normal activity levels, there is some delay time for the flu.” Influenza cases, according to Davenport, are now trending “moderate to low” in the area.

Monkeypox, which has recently made headlines, is rare and poses little risk to most people in the area, Davenport said. But with eight cases reported in New York City, most travel-related, she warned Maplewood residents to take precautions when using local airports, including Newark Liberty Airport. Monkeypox is transmitted more in close proximity to an infected person or animals and less through the air, Davenport said, but she added that wearing a mask, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, can help reduce the risk of infection.

Davenport welcomed the installation of a new suicide line in New Jersey. Residents who believe they or someone they know are at risk of harming themselves can call 988 for advice and assistance.

A website is now available to help Maplewood residents find or import baby food during the current shortage created by the federal Department of Health and Human Services. Click here for these resources.

She encouraged residents to take the New Jersey Behavioral Health Survey by phone in the next few weeks, saying the results have spurred funding and grants to municipalities.

And she said the Maplewood Township website now has resources for both people with disabilities to access services and LGBTQ+ health care.

Davenport also announced that Maplecrest Park will provide free breakfast and lunch to Maplewood children under 18 and local adults over 18 with special needs from July 11 to August 19. City committee member Jamaine Cripe asked Davenport to look into services for food insecure adults, noting that in two recent campaigns Cripe participated in, demand was much higher than supply. Davenport said she can provide social support to local seniors to help with food insecurity and will discuss the issue with Cripe to make sure other adults’ needs are met.

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