N.J. Coronavirus Update: Website, Call Center Now Available To Book Homebound Vaccinations
New Jersey officials reported Wednesday an additional 3,009 COVID-19 cases. Broken down, that accounts for 1,309 PCR tests and 1,700 antigen tests. You can learn the difference between PCR and rapid tests here.
Officials explained that the spike in antigen test results, mostly in Bergen County, is due to a reporting error from a provider that conducts COVID-19 tests.
“Of the 1,700 [antigen] cases we are reporting today, 1,402 specimens were reported more than two weeks ago,” said Dr. Christina Tan, state epidemiologist, who added that about half of the older reports were from 2020 and the remainder were collected this year.
Combining both PCR and Antigen tests, the total number of cases in the Garden State since the pandemic began is 1,004,525.
The state saw an additional 34 deaths, raising the total number of mortalities to 23,067. This week, 15 deaths were added to the number of probable deaths from the virus; that number is now at 2,640.
As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, there were 1,382 hospitalized across the state; 314 were in intensive care while 196 were on ventilators.
Centralizing vaccinations for the homebound
Homebound residents or their caregivers can now turn directly to the state’s vaccine call center at 855-568-0545 to arrange an in-home vaccination or request appointments on a new state website.
Organizations like AARP have been calling on the Murphy administration to centralize efforts to reach the state’s roughly 11,000 homebound residents, citing a confusing patchwork of providers and places to sign up. Wednesday’s announcement was hailed as “good news” by Katie York, AARP New Jersey Associate State Director for Advocacy.
“We are also encouraged the statewide call center will be collecting information to help homebound individuals make appointments for vaccines,” she said. “This centralized approach will make it easier for some of our most at-risk and vulnerable populations to get vaccinated.”
Gov. Phil Murphy said the state had been working with local health departments and area agencies on aging, among other groups, to vaccinate those who are not able to leave their homes easily.
“Through this collaboration … at least 7,000 homebound New Jerseyans have received in-home vaccinations,” he said.
In addition to the new website, the governor announced that the state Health Department would allocate vaccine doses directly to home health care providers.