Get your flu shot early, health officials urge


Aug. 19

  • Dept. of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli urged everyone over the age of 6 months to get their flu shot early this year, stating that the CDC has warned that this flu season might be the most difficult because it will be combined with COVID as well. Persichilli stated that both flu and COVID have similar symptoms so this may take up unnecessary COVID testing. Early fall, September, is the best time to get the flu vaccination, but it will still be effective if given later in the fall and early winter. This year the state will have an increased amount of vaccines given to them. She said that 48% of those over the age of 6 months get vaccinated each year. Last year the 2019-2020 flu season caused 24,000 emergency room visits, 4,000 discharges, 529 in intensive care, and 117 on ventilators. Numbers such as these could help overwhelm the health care systems this winter.
  • Murphy reiterated that those school resubmitting plans to begin the year with virtual learning must site specific health and safety reasons that they cannot comply with the state issued guidelines and they must give a specific date that they will be able to complete them and begin in-person learning.
  • The Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program is now taking applications. Visit for more information. Applications will be accepted until next Wednesday.
  • Murphy showed a chart of the state with the state broken into different school regions. This is done each year for health reasons so if an outbreak of something like flu or in this case COVID happens, schools can be closed by region. One of the reporters asked why this was not done for the opening and closing of businesses. Murphy explained that as it pertains to things like indoor dining, if your location didn’t allow it, you could easily drive down the road to an area that does allow it, eat, and then drive back home, taking with you possible germs. In the case of schools, most students go to school close to home.
  • Murphy said that he didn’t think that indoor dining and the opening of gyms would happen at the same time “if I had to guess”. He said that with indoor dining you are faced with an indoor situation where you can’t wear a mask. With a gym, you can regulate capacity, spacing, and have face coverings. No timeline was given on the opening of either one.
  • Test return turn around time has improved to under 3 days with most labs.
  • Voting: Murphy said that he is not opposed to opening outdoor voting locations. He also said that he is not opposed to opening more than one polling location if it is approved by the county.
  • The spot positivity statewide on Aug. 15 was 1.78%. In North Jersey 1.47%, Central Jersey 1.42%, South Jersey 2.52%. Murphy said that the higher new case numbers and the low spot positivity are a result of more testing being done.
  • In the last 24 hours, there were 7 deaths reported at hospitals from COVID suspected cases. These are not lab confirmed so are not included in the daily total yet. This number was given to give an idea of the day to day reality in hospitals currently. The 11 deaths reported today were lab confirmed and happened in July and August.
  • There are no changes in the number from local long term care facilities.

— By Karen E. Viereck, Editor/Publisher

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Swedesboro NJ
June 3, 2023, 11:35 pm
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