Mercer County- While the Delta variant continues to circulate, the CDC announced today 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.
Thanks to ongoing efforts to get shots into as many arms as possible, 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.
Keep your loved ones safe by getting vaccinated!
Now that all adults, along with children 5 and up, are eligible to be vaccinated, the risks of gathering during this holiday season are generally lower. While nothing is 100 percent, if you are celebrating the holidays with vaccinated family members, you should feel safe, according to the National Institute of Health's Dr. Anthony Fauci.
"We all are anxious to get back to doing more things that we enjoy," added Mr. Hughes. "To make that possible, it’s important that we continue to do what we can to protect ourselves and those around us. COVID-19 vaccines have been proved to be safe and highly effective at preventing serious illness, and I strongly encourage everyone who is eligible for a booster to get one as soon as possible."
- If you had the Pfizer shot, you can receive a booster dose 6 months after your second dose if you are 16 or older
- If you had the Moderna shot, you can receive a booster dose 6 months after your second dose if you are 18 or older
- If you had the J&J shot, you can receive the booster dose 2 months after your single dose
To date, Mercer County Division of Public Health and its partners have dispensed nearly 32,000 vaccines at about 130 clinics.
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
- Wednesday, Dec. 29, 9 am – 4 pm.
- Monday, Dec. 20, 10 am – 2 pm, Ewing Senior Center, 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing.
- Thursday, Jan. 6, 4 pm – 6 pm, Mercer County Park Festival Grounds (trailer), Old Trenton Road, West Windsor.
Free COVID-19 test kits available through Mercer County
County residents 14 years or older, and anyone employed as a first responder or health care worker in Mercer can sign up to receive a free COVID-19 saliva test to be administered at home..
The saliva collection test for COVID-19 has the same effectiveness as the nasal swab test. It is designed to determine if an individual is currently infected with COVID-19 and has the potential to infect others. This test is performed under the supervision of a Vault healthcare provider through a video telehealth visit.
Individuals seeking a test should visit www.mercercares.org to register. After your eligibility is verified, you will receive a digital link to Vault’s webpage to request a county-funded test kit. The kit will be shipped overnight with instructions on how to schedule a Zoom telehealth meeting with a certified healthcare worker who will virtually instruct you about how to properly collect a saliva sample for shipment to the Rutgers Clinical Genomics Laboratory for testing. Test results are expected to be returned within 72 hours. Any questions can be directed to HomeTesting@mercercounty.org.
When registering, individuals should have their health insurance card handy, but a lack of insurance will not prevent someone from using at-home COVID-19 testing. Federal rules require the collection of insurance information to support the testing program. Under federal law, all forms of public and private insurance must cover FDA-approved COVID-19 tests with no out-of-pocket costs to insured persons.