BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Montclair is seeing a surge in daily COVID-19 cases, with 24 reported this week.
Only half way through the month as of Oct. 17, 38 new cases have been reported so far. For the month of September, Montclair saw 35 new cases, of which 45 percent or 16 were attributed to a long-term care facility.
Montclair cases now total 603.
Of the 24 reported this week — five were on Tuesday, Oct. 13; nine on Wednesday, Oct. 14; five on Thursday, Oct. 15; three today, Oct. 16 and two on Oct. 17.
“Except for two individuals who are household members, the new cases reported on Oct. 14 appear to be unrelated, as are the cases from Oct. 13. The cases represent a variety of age ranges and there has been no evidence that they are linked,” according to Montclair Health Officials.
Montclair officials did not answer requests seeking the ages of the residents who tested positive, if they were related to indoor gatherings and how many resulted in hospitalizations, but said Montclair’s “trend of increasing cases is occurring both statewide and across the country as people are getting out more and participating in more activities.”
Officials have not released beyond the numbers citing the privacy of individuals and their families.
Not all residents are cooperating with contact tracers, however, making it difficult to assess cases, said officials.
“The health department is getting quite a bit of pushback from cases that do not want to provide contact information, making it very difficult to do appropriate contact tracing,” officials said. “When the health department calls people to conduct case investigation or contact tracing, their cooperation is essential to help prevent spread. The information they provide is kept confidential.”
In September, four cases resulted in hospitalizations. The highest age groups during that month were 0-20 and 71-80 at 20 percent, the next highest was the 21-30 age group at 17 percent and then the 81-90 age group at 11 percent, according to data on Montclair’s website.
Residents are reminded to social distance, avoid large gatherings and indoor gatherings, and to wear face coverings.
Montclair has not seen a death since early September. The death toll remains at 57.
Daily case numbers throughout New Jersey have continued to rise breaking 900 a day, with 958 new cases on Saturday. The positivity rate has also increased to 4.3 percent. The rate of transmission is at 1.18. Hospitalizations have continued to rise over the week as well, with 759 hospitalized on Oct. 17 with COVID-related symptoms.
Cases numbers are rising in Essex County, which again is the top county in the number of daily cases, reporting 119 new cases on Saturday, up from the 91 reported on Friday.