At this week’s briefing Governor Murphy announced the new emergency rescue mortgage assistance program and the opening of new vaccination megasites in Passaic and Bergen counties. The Governor noted that COVID-19 cases are down by roughly two-thirds from two weeks ago and that the State has seen overall hospitalizations drop significantly over the past week. However, the Governor did caution that these numbers are still higher than numbers seen in the prior two surges.
COVID Data for Friday, January 28, 2022:
- 9,601 new positive cases for a total of 1,817,614 confirmed cases
- 113 new confirmed deaths for a total of 28,413 confirmed deaths
- The rate of transmission is at 0.58
- 26 new outbreaks linked within the school setting. This brings the statewide total number of outbreaks directly related to in-school activity since mid-August 2020 to 432 outbreaks linked to 2,683 school outbreaks.
- 13,413,646 vaccine doses have been administered, including 7,548,134 who have received at least one dose, and 6,366,948 who are fully vaccinated. In addition, the following additional doses have been administered: 1,468,160 of Pfizer, 1,220,497 of Moderna, and 58,237 of J&J.
Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance Program
Starting Monday, February 8, registration will open for a new Emergency Rescue Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) program from the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA). This is being made possible through a $325 million infusion from the Federal Homeowners’ Assistance Fund that is part of the American Rescue Plan. Under this new program, eligible homeowners can receive up to $35,000 to cover mortgage arrearages, delinquent property taxes, and other housing costs delinquencies for those who were negatively impacted by the pandemic. This can help protect thousands of homeowners from foreclosures and neighborhoods from being impacted.
Free housing counseling will also be available through ERMA to assist homeowners in applying for assistance as well as guide them through all available options, even working with their mortgage companies to get the best possible outcome. The ERMA application portal will open for applications at 9 a.m. on February 8, 2022. Individuals can also call 855-647-7700 for assistance.
To qualify for the ERMA program, homeowners must be New Jersey homeowners with demonstrated COVID-19-related financial hardships occurring after January 20, 2020; own and occupy eligible primary residences; with income below 150% of their Area Median Income (AMI).
Two new vaccination megasites have opened. The first site is at the former Lord & Taylor in the Fashion Center, 50 East Ridgewood Avenue, Paramus. This site is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The second site is located within the former Macy’s department store, 1210 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, New Jersey. It is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. To find a vaccine site, including booster information, visit www.covid19.nj.gov/vaccine.
The NJ Department of Health and Vault Medical Service have partnered on a free at-home COVID-19 saliva testing program. This free PCR test will be shipped via UPS with next day delivery. Once received, individuals will connect via Zoom with a Vault healthcare professional who will guide them through the test and answer any questions. When completed, the test can be sent back in a prepaid package via UPS next-day shipping. Test results are received in 24 to 48 hours after the sample arrives at the lab. Free test kits can be requested at https://learn.vaulthealth.com/nj/.
In addition, the federal government has made available free rapid COVID-19 tests to be shipped within 7-12 days of ordering. Tests can be ordered at www.COVIDTests.gov. Every home is eligible to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests.
Homebound residents who have not yet connected with their local health department, or a home health agency and who need an in-home vaccination should visit www.covid19.nj.gov/homeboundvax or contact the call center at 855-568-0545.
The Department of Health is providing access to individuals' COVID vaccination records through NJ Docket, a secure and free smartphone app, which is CDC approved.
Mental Health Resources
As a reminder, the Department of Children and Families has put together a new page on their COVID information hub with a wealth of mental health support resources for youth, parents, and educators. This all can be found at that website, www.covid19.nj.gov/youthhelp