COVID-19 Update – September 2022

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

COVID-19 cases have continued to decline over the past five weeks. As of Monday, 9/5/22, the 7-day average of cases in the state of New Jersey was 1,401, which was down 18% from a week ago, and 45% down from a month ago. In addition, the statewide transmission rate was 0.92. Thus, this rate of transmission signifies that each new case is leading to fewer than one additional case. Additionally, Morris County has entered the medium threshold of COVID-19 community levels due to the lower number of COVID-19 cases.

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 August 20, 2022), BA.5 is the most common omicron subvariant sequenced in the last four weeks (85%) followed by BA.4.6 (6.9%), BA.4 (5.9%), BA.2.12.1 (1.5%), and BA.2 (0.8%). In the U.S., BA.5 is also the predominant variant comprising 88.6% of cases. The following omicron subvariants are circulating nationally: BA.4.6 (8.4%), BA.4 (2.8%), and BA.2.12.1 (0.1%).

Additionally, there were important COVID-19 vaccine updates in the last week as well. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommended new COVID-19 booster vaccinations (Pfizer 12 and up and Moderna 18 and up) that incorporates Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the currently used vaccine, which contains genetic material from the original strain of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. This bivalent vaccine will better protect from waning immunity by targeting variants that are more transmissible and immune evading. Moving forward, people ages 12 years and older may only get the updated (bivalent) mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) booster. They can no longer get an original (monovalent) mRNA booster. Eligibility criteria is as follows: individuals 12 years of age and older (Pfizer), or 18 years of age and older (Moderna) are eligible for a single bivalent booster dose if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine. These updated vaccines are expected to be approved for children younger than 12 years old sometime this Fall.

To learn more about COVID Testing and Vaccines, please look at the resources listed below.

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