COVID-19 May 2023 Newsletter

By: Matt McGovern, MPH, CHES, LINCS COVID-19 Epidemiologist/Data Manager

As of Friday, April 27th, 2023, the 7-day average of cases in the state of New Jersey was 223, which declined by 54% from a week ago and 61% from 1 month ago. Since mid-March, Morris County has been in the low level of COVID-19 community levels due to the decline in cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions. Currently, CDC forecasts project that on 5/15/23, New Jersey will range between approximately 0 to 135 new hospital admissions. For comparison purposes, on 3/15/23 new hospital admissions were predicted to be at about 40 to 305. The COVID-19 cases in New Jersey continue to be solely attributed to the omicron variant, with its subvariants comprising all cases. According to the most recent COVID-19 Variant Surveillance Report (week ending April 8, 2023), XBB.1.5 is the most common omicron subvariant sequenced in the past 4 weeks in NJ, comprising 84.4% of sequenced samples. From a vaccination perspective, more than 4.3 million people in the state are “up to date” with their COVID-19 vaccinations, meaning that they received their primary series dose(s), and booster dose. For context, there are more than 9.2 million New Jerseyans. Of these, 8 million residents have received a first dose, and 7.1 million are fully vaccinated (received a primary vaccination series).

There has been a new vaccine update from the CDC regarding COVID-19 vaccinations on 4/22/23.

Additionally, there are important updates pertaining to the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, which will go into effect on Thursday, May 11th, 2023.

  • What will not be affected as a result of these changes:
    • Access to vaccinations and treatments like Paxlovid and Lagevrio
    • Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for COVID-19 products (tests, vaccines, & treatments)
    • Major Medicare and Medicaid telehealth flexibilities
    • The process for states to begin eligibility redeterminations for Medicaid will not be affected
    • Access to buprenorphine for opioid use disorder in Opioid Treatment programs (Early in the pandemic, SAMSHA issued guidance allowing patients access to buprenorphine by telehealth)
    • Access to expanded methadone take-home doses for opioid use disorder
  • What will be affected as a result of these changes:
    • Certain Medicare & Medicaid waivers and flexibilities will end
    • Coverage for COVID-19 testing will change
    • Reporting of COVID-19 lab results and immunization data to the CDC
    • FDA COVID-19 related guidance documents that affect clinical practice and supply chains will end
    • FDA’s ability to detect early shortages of critical devices related to COVID-19 will be limited
    • Public Readiness & Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act liabilities protections
    • The ability of health care providers to dispense controlled substance via telehealth

For more information regarding the ending of the COVID-19 public health emergency phase, visit the Department of Health and Humans Services webpage: .

To learn more about COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, please see below for further resources:

I can be reached at