Pandemic Raged with 28 COVID Deaths in January in Perth Amboy.

The County reported 28 COVID deaths in Perth Amboy in January 2022. In addition, 4,000 positive local COVID cases were reported in January. At the City Council meeting, community leaders detailed the hardship faced from the Omicron surge. A community leader spoke about delivering food to households of sick people. It was reported that the hospital had been full in January and a COVID death of a young person had occurred. One of the most active community leaders died of COVID in January.

Perth Amboy did not impose a local mask mandate, which Governor Murphy had given the City the power to pass locally. Other cities in Middlesex County, including Sayreville, Highland Park, New Brunswick, East Brunswick and North Brunswick all passed local mask mandates and many others throughout the State. Some cities also required proof of vaccination, like in Newark. In some cities like Asbury Park, the Office of Emergency Management used the transmission rate and number of cases to decide to activate a local mask mandate to stop the spread. The state transmission rate had reached a high of 1.9 and 25,000 cases a day were reported. Some Business Improvement Districts, like in Montclair, circulated information to businesses about the transmission rate, masks and vaccination information and provided signs for local businesses to put in their windows about masking up. The City took the route of promoting testing as a way to help stop the spread.

Though the city had reported a high vaccination rate, the high rate of 90% was for one dose of the vaccine for ages 18 and over. A fully vaccinated and boosted person has a better chance of not dying or being hospitalized by covid, due to waning immunity of the vaccine over time. Under 18 is a demographic in Perth Amboy that still needs to get vaccinated and boosted.

Using all possible measures to protect the community by using a local mask mandate may produce better results when faced with a variant in the future and the serious need to control the spread. Increased updates on the current state of the pandemic in the city during a surge may also produce a more informed community who can better protect themselves.