As Omicron Variant Spreads, Hughes Urges Residents to Vaccinate, Boost Before Holidays
While the Delta variant continues to circulate, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is expected to become the dominant strain in the United States in the coming weeks.
“We know what we must do to protect ourselves and loved ones from contracting the virus — wear masks in public places, practice physical distancing and frequently wash your hands — but the best prevention strategy is to get vaccinated and get your booster shot,” urged Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes.
December 15, 2021 marked the 1-year anniversary of the first COVID-19 vaccinations in New Jersey, and thanks to ongoing efforts throughout the County to get shots into as many arms as possible, Mr. Hughes says the county is in a much better place than this time last year, when vaccines were first being introduced and doses were in short supply. “But case numbers and hospitalizations have been increasing in recent weeks and our continued vigilance is needed to prevent a surge of patients from entering our local hospitals and straining our healthcare system during the holiday season,” Mr. Hughes said.
Since the Thanksgiving holiday, cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, yet as of today only about 40 percent of New Jersey’s over 4.5 million residents eligible for booster shots have received one, according to the New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 data dashboard. In response, the Hughes Administration has conferred with its regional hospital partners to verify hospital capacity in the event that COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise as a result of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
“Over the last few weeks, St. Francis has experienced a sharp increase in the number of COVID patients we’re treating,” said Daniel P. Moen, President and Chief Executive Officer, St. Francis Medical Center. “While we are able to manage the current surge, our team strongly recommends that residents take all precautions available, including COVID vaccinations and booster shots for those eligible, proper masking, regular handwashing, and avoiding crowds. With the holidays approaching, and the Omicron variant now present in New Jersey, this is the time to be as cautious as we can to help protect our loved ones and our community.”
To date, Mercer County Division of Public Health and its partners have dispensed nearly 32,000 vaccines at about 130 clinics. Al Maghazehe, President and CEO,Capital Health, agrees being vaccinated can help prevent further spread.
“As we celebrate the holiday season and the new year, it is important that we remain vigilant in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID, particularly given the uptick we have seen recently in hospitalized patients,” said Maghazehe. “We know there are some very concrete actions people can take such as getting vaccinated and boosted when eligible, and practicing recommended precautions. I would encourage members of our community to take advantage of the many opportunities available to get vaccinated and to follow recommendations for masking, handwashing and social distancing, and to use other resources such as the testing kits being made available through the county.”
Use the NJ Vaccine Appointment Finder to find available vaccination appointments near you or sites with walk-in vaccinations. Upcoming Mercer-sponsored clinics are:
CURE Insurance Arena, Gate A South Broad Street entrance
- Monday, Dec. 20, 10 am – 4 pm.
- Tuesday, Dec. 21, noon – 6 pm.
- Monday, Dec. 27, 10 am – 4 pm.
- Tuesday, Dec. 28, noon – 6 pm.
- Thursday, Dec. 30, 10 am – 4 pm.
930 Spruce St., Lawrence, heated tent next to Trenton Farmers Market
- Friday, Dec. 17, 9 am – 4 pm.
- Wednesday, Dec. 29, 9 am – 4 pm.
Pop-up Clinics21cer County Park Festival Grounds (trailer), Old Trenton Road, West Windsor.
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