New COVID-19 cases continue to climb

After startling the Valley last week with a report of 50 new cases in a week, the Township today reported that 49 new cases arose between November 20 and 5pm on Thanksgiving (six days). Pennington had three new cases and Hopewell Borough had four new cases in the past two weeks.

Charts and information regarding the rest of the Valley, Mercer County, and New Jersey can be found here.

On Hopewell Township’s Facebook page, Hopewell Township Public Health Officer Dawn Marling reminds residents: “It is more important than ever to do your part to slow the spread: Stay home when you can, remain 6 feet apart from others and avoid crowds, wear a mask over your mouth and nose when in public.”

Marling also shared the following useful information from Princeton Nassau Pediatrics:

Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines in Written Detail by Dr. Kate Doyle

As COVID cases surge, the local department of health (DOH) offices are overwhelmed with positive cases. The DOH offices are doing their best to reach out to all positive cases and perform contact tracing, but it is quickly becoming an impossible job due to lack of manpower. Even if the DOH can reach out, it may take many days. Therefore, in order to protect your family, friends and your community, we strongly recommend that any person who tests positive follows these CDC and DOH guidelines outlined below.

Of note, this post is purposefully dense with details of rationale to back up the recommendations. If it is too much information or too hard to follow, please refer to the PDF quarantine flow sheets created by the NJ Health Department. These flow sheets are easy to follow and helpful when explaining the complex COVID quarantine algorithm to others. And, as always, you can make an appointment with your PNP pediatrician to discuss any and all quarantine and isolation questions and concerns.

If you are sick and test positive, you need to do a couple of things.

First is to isolate. You will need to stay at home for 10 days and at least 24 hours with no fever and feeling much better before your quarantine will end.

Second is to make a list of all the people you have been in close contact with (within six feet for an accumulative ten minutes whether or not masks were worn) starting from two days before you became symptomatic. Immediately contact these people (this is the part where the DOH typically helps you with but given the circumstance you need to initiate this process) and let them know they have been exposed and need to quarantine for two weeks. The close contact’s household contacts do not need to quarantine if the close contact remains asymptomatic. If the close contact develops symptoms, then they need to seek testing right away and all of their household contacts should start quarantining until it is known whether the ill symptoms are caused by COVID. If the test is positive, then that close contact becomes a positive case and needs to start their own contact tracing and follow these same guidelines.

If you have a household contact who tests positive, you need to stay away from the positive household case and quarantine for two weeks from the last close exposure with the household contact. If able, the positive household contact should completely isolate and keep to their own bedroom, own bathroom and a wear mask whenever it is absolutely necessary for them to be anywhere else in the house. Food should be prepared and brought to the door of the positive household case. They should not be allowed in the eating and kitchen areas at all. This kind of isolation for a positive household case is feasible for most teenagers and adults. For young children who test positive and are too young to isolate, all the household contacts need to quarantine for the positive household case’s ten days of isolation PLUS an additional two weeks. This is a total of twenty four days. Why does it have to be for so long? The positive household case is thought to be contagious for ten days after testing positive. Therefore, if the positive household contact is unable to completely isolate, the whole family is continuously exposed for those ten days. COVID symptoms can develop up to two weeks after an exposure, and therefore the household must quarantine for those additional two weeks after the positive household case has completed their ten day quarantine.

A nice visual of calendar charts to further explain these quarantine guidelines can be found here:…/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

If you have sick symptoms and test negative for COVID, then you must stay at home for twenty four hours or until your symptoms go away. If your sick symptoms persist and you were initially tested for COVID within the first day of developing symptoms, discuss with your physician about what kind of test you were tested with (antigen test or PCR test) to see if it is appropriate to be retested at a later date.If you are not sick but test positive for COVID, you must stay at home and isolate for ten days. This situation is similar to if you had symptoms and tested positive because asymptomatic people can still spread the virus. Please follow the same guidelines outlined above for symptomatic positive cases.For patients who have had a known exposure and are quarantining, testing is not necessary. However, many families choose to seek testing for peace of mind and information. If interested in testing due to an exposure, discuss with your physician so the correct test can be performed. Some tests are not appropriate for an asymptomatic patient. A negative test would not negate the full two week quarantine. In other words, you cannot test out of a quarantine. As sick symptoms could develop any time over the two weeks from the exposure, it is very important to always complete a full quarantine. If your child was exposed and you are interested in testing, please contact your PNP office.


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