Jersey City and Hoboken have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases this December, with the number of cases in Hudson County reaching higher than the previous bump over the late summer.
In Jersey City, 108 cases of COVID were recorded on Dec. 9, reaching a seven day average of 86 cases, according to data from Jersey City. The most recent peak of cases in the city was on Dec. 7 with 125 cases, surpassing the previous peak on Sept. 6 with 70 cases that day.
As of Dec. 9, the new cases reported by zip code were 14 in 07307, 15 in 07302, 27 in 07305, and 36 in 07304, according to the Jersey City COVID-29 dashboard.
A similar scenario is happening in Hoboken, with 53 cases reported on Dec. 3, the highest peak in cases in recent months, according to data from Hoboken. The seven day average on that day had reached about 29.
In greater Hudson County, hospitalizations for COVID have also increased since this November, with an average of 31 patients between Nov. 26 and Dec. 2 being hospitalized.
In response to the recent increase, city officials said that they are taking measures and are working to encourage residents to get vaccinated, including getting boosters for those that have been fully vaccinated.
Jersey City spokesperson Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said that they are closely following all state protocols from the governor’s office.
“Additionally, the city is ramping up education and outreach efforts to increase compliance and address mixed messaging surrounding vaccines and boosters to encourage more people to get vaccinated, especially within our schools citywide,” said Wallace-Scalcione in a statement.
Hoboken spokesperson Marilyn Baer said that the city is continuing to monitor the pandemic, with the Hoboken Health Department and local providers partnering to provide testing, vaccines, and booster shots at city clinics throughout the week, and are also working on contact tracing.
Jersey City currently has 68 percent of its population fully vaccinated, with Hoboken just slightly above at 69 percent.
A multifactorial cause in case increases
The cause of the increase in cases in Hudson County as a whole is multifactorial, according to health experts, with seasonal changes and personal behaviors being factors in such trends.
One factor is that the colder weather has led people to be indoors more.
“There’s less ventilation, more windows or closed, closer proximity, and less outdoor activities,” said Dr. John Rimmer, Chief Medical Officer of Hoboken University Medical Center.
“As people gathered over the holidays, we did see a big spike after Thanksgiving,” he continued. “People travel, they congregate and they eat together. Those are essentially breeding grounds for super spreader events.”
Another factor in the recent trends are behavioral changes. “There are people that are doing less masking, handwashing, and we have children that are also in school and are passing the virus on to their parents,” said Dr. Schubert Perotte, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Jersey City Medical Center.
Other factors that are contributing to the trends according to Perotte is the waning immunity of those who have been vaccinated after around six months, and more testing being done.
As the next few months approach, health experts are recommending those that haven’t gotten vaccinated to do so, along with getting booster shots for those that have been previously fully vaccinated.
Perotte said that people will have to remain vigilant by continuing to wear masks, social distance, and washing their hands.
“It’s all about staying safe, and getting your immunizations sooner rather than later, so your immunity impacts not only you but your community and the people that you hold close, near and dear,” said Perotte.