Letter: Westfield Well being Board on Covid-19, Vaccinations, Canine Bites & Extra

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About the editor:

The Westfield Board of Health met on May 3rd. Covid-19, its impact on Westfield and the programs to keep residents informed and vaccinate them were the main areas of discussion.

Currently, Covid-19 activity appears to be decreasing in New Jersey and our city. Many Westfield residents have stepped up and been vaccinated to prevent infections for themselves and their families, friends and neighbors. As of this writing, 79% of adult residents aged 18 and over have received at least one dose of vaccine and 60% are fully vaccinated, which is vastly higher vaccination rates than the state or nation.

If you have not yet been vaccinated, I urge you to get vaccinated if you are eligible. There are walk-in clinics and the Westfield Regional Health Department has stepped up its vaccine dissemination efforts. Community facilities, workplaces, assisted living facilities, places of worship, and other locations in the city are prioritized by the health department to make the vaccine as accessible as possible to our residents, including those who live in their home country.

Although the situation is improving, the pandemic is NOT over. People keep getting infected, sick and dying. New Jersey has the highest overall rate of Covid-19 deaths in the country, with more than 25,000 deaths since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

So we have to keep sticking to that 4 W’s if appropriate. These well-established effective infection control measures for health promotion are:

  • Wear a mask if necessary.
  • If necessary, watch your distance.
  • Wash your hands
  • Work or school only when things are going well.

For more information, see the Westfield Coronavirus Information Center at https://www.westfieldnj.gov/coronavirus and the State Covid-19 Information Hub at https://covid19.nj.gov/forms/datadashboard. They can help you access various community resources to get vaccinated or find a vaccination site if needed.

In April there were three reports of animal bites in the city. Please protect the community with proper leash. Please also clean up after your pet as we all share our streets.

Rabies is still present in Union County. It is most common in wildlife, particularly raccoons, bats, and skunks. However, cats make up the majority of pet rabies. Therefore, you need to license your dogs and cats and protect them against rabies with vaccinations. You can obtain the license application from the city clerk’s office, which can be reached at 908-789-4030. An owner of an unlicensed or unvaccinated dog or cat receives a subpoena.

For information on all of the Department of Health’s activities, including helpful health-related advice and recommendations, and free educational programs, please visit https://www.westfieldnj.gov/health. The latest topics in the department’s monthly newsletter, Your Health Matters, include stroke prevention, smoking cessation, and osteoporosis. It’s available on the department’s website under the May Newsletter tab. You can sign up at https://www.westfieldnj.gov/townupdates for information on the health department.

The full minutes of the May board meeting will be released upon review and approval at our June 7th meeting. As always, the public is invited to participate.

Lawrence D. Budnick, MD, MPH

President of the Westfield Board of Health