The good news: Montclair is ahead of the curve when it comes to coronavirus vaccination. The bad news: The numbers are growing anyway.
As of Monday, the township was up to 2,743 total cases — 28 over the past seven days. In early to mid-June, the township was seeing only about 1 to 4 cases added to the total over any given seven-day period. The growth comes amid several factors, including the increasing prevalence of the ultra-infectious Delta variant of the novel coronavirus.
Montclair has made better-than-average progress on vaccinations. As of Monday, 70% of Montclair residents of any age and 84% of those 18 and over were fully vaccinated, according to state data. That’s well ahead of the state overall, where 57% of people were fully vaccinated.
Also in Montclair, 92% of people over age 18 had received at least one dose of a vaccine.
The state’s rate of transmission was at 1.5 — and anything over 1.0 indicates the spread of the virus is growing.
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“We want to keep pushing, get as many people vaccinated as possible,” Mayor Sean Spiller said at a Township Council meeting July 20. “That is the way to put this pandemic behind us, get us back to where we want to be.”
Councilman Peter Yacobellis, at the same meeting, said people are getting nervous, with the Delta variant now the dominant strain in the United states: “It’s a little scary.” He urged not just vaccination, but continued testing.
“If you know somebody who has not been vaccinated and is eligible, have that conversation with them,” he said.
Montclair Local asked several residents this weekend what they think the community can do to help keep coronavirus under control:
Marc Lacey, 53, of Montclair: “I think we should go back to wearing masks, although it’s inconvenient and we already celebrated when we moved beyond mask mandates. I think masks should be back and everyone in Montclair ought to be getting vaccinated and urging everyone they know and love to get vaccinated.”
Asia Jannah, 23, of Montclair and a Watchung Booksellers employee: “I guess just if you can, get vaccinated and keep your mask on.”
Alex Germain, 18, of Belridge, Massachusetts, visiting from out of town: “I think they have to be smart with mask mandates, and they have to be pretty cautious on how they reopen things like concerts and public gatherings. Try to stay ahead and restrict more rather than taking a chance.”
Mike Tuma, 58, of Little Falls, and a Bonjour Montclair Cafe employee: “Get freaking vaccinated. That’s it.”
Stefanie Snajder, 47, of Montclair: “It seems like a lot of businesses have lifted the restrictions, so I wouldn’t mind if we went back to wearing masks again as a precaution. We don’t want to go completely backwards but we jumped ahead a little too fast.”
Kei Aunte Bree, of Montclair, working as a stylist in town: “I would say we can just be cautious and respectful to and for one another while we are given these mass liberties of life. We still have a responsibility to one another to be safe, and no one wants to relive what happened before.”
The Montclair Health Department will offer COVID-19 vaccinations on Aug. 3 and Aug. 17 at the department’s offices, located on the third floor of the Montclair Municipal Building. The vaccination clinics are open to anyone 18 and over who resides or works in Montclair. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available. Anyone who wishes to receive the Moderna vaccine will be given an appointment for a second vaccination 30 days after a first dose. Residents can register at 973-509-4970, but walk-ins are welcome.
CVS locations on Bloomfield and Clairmont avenues offer the Pfizer vaccine, which is available to anyone ages 12 and over.
Essex County continues to offer all three vaccines at the former Kmart building in West Orange, as well as at Essex County College in Newark. Registration is available at essexcovid.org, but walk-ins are welcome.
There are no out-of-pocket costs for coronavirus vaccines, and no coinsurance, deductibles or copayments. Providers may bill insurance companies for immunization, but those without coverage will not be charged.
— With reporting by Lauren Peacock