The Hopewell Valley continues to see a sharp rise in cases each week, with 39 cases valley-wide in the past seven days. Mercer County has seen a slight drop off in average new cases, but New Jersey overall continues to rise rapidly with a total of 28,480 in the past week (for more statistics and graphs, click here.)


Hopewell Valley Regional School District

There have been several communications from the school district recently:

  • On December 4, HVRSD Superintendent Dr. Tom Smith reported that a staff member at Timberlane Middle School and two fully remote students at the Hopewell Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19.
  • On December 7, Smith reported that a student at Timberlane Middle School and a student at Stony Brook tested positive for COVID-19
  • On December 9, Smith reported that two students at the Hopewell Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. One student is fully remote and the last time the hybrid student was in school was Tuesday, November 24
  • On December 11, Smith reported that a Toll Gate student tested positive for COVID-19. The last time the student was in school was Tuesday, November 24.

Smith also wrote to the District December 10 regarding a change in school schedule. First, he thanked the District community for adhering to protocols and keeping infections down as much as they have. Smith continued:

“In coordination with our Department of Health and our school physician, we have determined that a temporary move to full-remote learning connected with winter break will help address issues we are facing related to student and staff quarantining and will help mitigate the potential for additional spread in our schools and community.  

“All HVRSD schools and programs will transition to full remote learning from December 21 through January 15.  All schools will reopen for in-person learners on January 19.  This move does not impact our plan for our K-5 students to transition to a five day a week program. Your building principals will share additional information on this in the coming days. 

“We recognize the impact this move has upon district families. We have again coordinated with the Hopewell Valley YMCA who will offer child care for students in Kindergarten through 8th grade.  This childcare service will be based at Stony Brook Elementary School and will run on a day-by-day basis.  Please register here.


New Jersey

Governor Phil Murphy announced this morning that New Jersey’s FIRST COVID19 vaccines will be administered Tuesday morning at University Hospital. The Governor will be there with Pennington’s own NJ Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. He said that the first 76,000 doses will be for: Health care workers, LTC residents and staff

The Governor has recently made the following adjustments to try to stem the spread of infection:

Vaccines: In preparation for the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines to New Jersey, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 207, which automatically enrolls residents who choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine into the state’s existing vaccine registry. The Governor’s Executive Order changes the New Jersey Immunization Information System from an opt-in to an opt-out program for residents who elect to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Residents will be automatically enrolled into the system, andwill then be permitted to opt-out of the registry 30 days after the public health emergency expires.

Travel: New Jersey strongly discourages all non-essential interstate travel at this time. Travelers and residents returning from any U.S. state or territory beyond the immediate region (New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) should self-quarantine at their home, hotel, or other temporary lodging following recommendations from the CDC:

  • If travel is unavoidable, travelers should consider getting tested with a viral test (not an antibody test) 1-3 days before the trip and again 3-5 days after the trip.
  • If travelers test positive, they should self-isolate for at least 10 days and should postpone travel during that time.
  • If travelers test negative, they should quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
  • If testing is not available (or if the results are delayed), travelers should quarantine for 10 days after travel.

The advisory is no longer specific to certain states. Because of the rising number of case counts across all states, there is an increased risk of spread of COVID-19 upon return from any travel.

The self-quarantine is voluntary, but compliance is expected. Travelers arriving from areas with increasing COVID-19 cases may wish to postpone their travel to the region if they are unwilling or unable to follow the quarantine advisory. State officials ask that anyone who travels to New Jersey from a state/territory outside the immediate region (New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) complete a voluntary online survey to provide information about where you are traveling from and your destination.

Business access during COVID. Most businesses can open, so long as they follow appropriate mitigation requirements. For a timeline of reopening dates and more information about the framework guiding the State’s decisions, visit the State’s Reopening page. For additional information on COVID-19 and its impact on businesses, please visit the State of New Jersey’s COVID-19 Business Information Hub.

Effective November 5, employers must adhere to new employee protection guidelines,summarized here. Detailed requirements, as well as exemptions for certain employers, can be found inExecutive Order No. 192.

Please note that municipalities and counties are allowed to regulate the operating hours of non-essential businesses after 8 pm, but municipalities and counties cannot impose other restrictions that differ from statewide rules, such as restrictions on essential businesses, full business closures, or restrictions on gatherings or capacity limits. Non-essential businesses should confirm whether their respective county or municipality will restrict hours of operations after 8 pm.

BUSINESSES THAT REMAIN CLOSED as of last update on the Governor’s website 11/26

Adult Day Care Centers remain closed.

BUSINESSES THAT MAY OPEN

Workplaces that do not have walk-in customers or products for sale, including office spaces, were never closed, but must allow employees to work remotely if their job can be performed remotely. Employers must comply with mandatory social distancing and safety protocols.

Bars and restaurants may reopen while following appropriate safety and sanitization protocols. All restaurants, bars, clubs, and lounges that serve food and drink must close their indoor premises for business by 10 pm each day and cannot open until at least 5 am the following day. Outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery services may continue past 10 pm. 

Microbreweries and brewpubs may be open for home delivery. Depending on the type of license they hold, food service may also be allowed.

The following other businesses also can open so long as they follow required mitigation requirements and all safety guidelines:

  • Retail businesses and indoor portions of retail shopping malls
  • Child care centers 
  • Golf Courses
  • Entertainment businesses, including indoor performance venues, such as movie theaters;
  • Shared space tutoring facilities;
  • Playgrounds, amusement parks, and water parks
  • Swimming pools
  • Casinos
  • Horse racetracks
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing and warehousing businesses
  • Personal care businesses 
  • Libraries 
  • Gyms and fitness centers may reopen indoor and outdoor spaces

Free COVID-19 testing is available at many locations across the state.

You can find a list of free public testing locations in New Jersey by county, including short-term pop-up testing sites. You can search New Jersey’s 400+ permanent testing locations, both public and private, using the test site finder tool here. In addition, free COVID-19 testing and treatment is available at Community Health Centers, also known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), to all people whether you have health insurance or not and regardless of your immigration status. Find an FQHC near you with this search toolthrough 211 online, or by directly calling 2-1-1 (support is available in English and Spanish).

Individuals with urgent symptoms may also continue to access services at acute care hospitals. The COVID-19 testing cost will be waived for uninsured individuals eligible for charity care. Information on the Charity Care Program can be found at:https://www.nj.gov/health/charitycare. You should talk to a medical provider before going to your local hospital.

If you need health insurance coverage, you can visit GetCoveredNJ, a one-stop shop for health insurance for residents who do not have coverage from an employer or other program. Under the State’s new health exchange, individuals eligible for subsidy assistance and premium tax credits will find the lowest net premiums since the passage of the Affordable Care Act more than a decade ago.

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