COVID Second Wave Outpacing Spring Outbreak
Trenton, NJ — Trenton Health Team today urged residents, business owners and public officials to take immediate actions to slow a second wave of COVID-19 infections now exceeding county and state levels and on pace to be worse than the first outbreak.
“COVID-19 is hitting Trenton hard and we may just be at the beginning,” warned THT Executive Director Gregory Paulson. “Things must change now.”
Trenton infection rates are doubling each week, and are projected to surpass the pandemic’s spring peak by Thanksgiving, based on health data from the Mercer County COVID-19 Dashboard. (see graphs below).
The latest local health data showed 59 new COVID-19 cases in Trenton for November 14, 2020, pushing the 7-day average infection rate to 60.6 per 100,000 population — approaching the peak of wave one with no braking in sight.
Trenton’s infection rate per 100,000 population far exceeds levels in Mercer County (36.2) and statewide (35.6). Trenton infection rates have doubled each week, growing from 5.6 per 100,000 on Oct. 20, to 11.8 on Oct. 27, 20.5 on Nov. 3 and 41.3 on Nov. 10, 2020.
At the same time, local emergency room visits and hospital admissions due to COVID-19 are rising significantly — with nearly 60% of those patients coming from Trenton. While elderly and chronically ill patients are considered high risk, recent data shows all ages now suffering serious illness, with 30% of emergency room visits and 11% of hospital admissions for COVID among adults aged 30 and younger.
“Trenton is in the midst of an active outbreak,” Paulson said. “If we don’t get a handle on this now, we will be at crisis level.”
Paulson applauded Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora for announcing new COVID-19 restrictions limiting business hours, encouraging residents to wear masks, follow social distancing safety guidelines and to avoid large family gatherings and hosting visitors from states on the New Jersey travel advisory list.
Local health care providers strongly recommend avoiding any indoor gatherings, including holiday celebrations, restaurant dining, gyms and other events. Wearing a mask, social distancing and washing hands are the only interventions known to reduce coronavirus infections, Paulson noted.
“As we enter the holiday season, avoiding indoor gatherings becomes more difficult–but also more important,” Paulson said. “COVID-19 is actively spreading through Trenton. Canada saw a huge increase in infections following their recent Thanksgiving holiday. We cannot afford that here.”
Rising COVID infections already are putting strain on Trenton’s health care system, with increased demands for hospitalizations, skilled nursing care and home health care. Requests for COVID tests have quadrupled, limiting access to tests and delaying test results.
Earlier this year, doctors and nurses from outside the northeast traveled to help hospitals in our area cope with the initial COVID19 surge. Now, other states are facing their own record-setting outbreaks so, as one local health care leader noted, “There is no cavalry coming.”
“THT joins our health care partners sounding the alarm for our city,” Paulson said. “The time for action is now. Wear a mask. Avoid indoor gatherings. Working together, we can keep our families and our community safe.”
For updated information on COVID-19 testing and other resources, visit the THT COVID Response and Resources webpage.