NJ DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ISSUES UPDATED PUBLIC HEALTH RECOMMENDATIONS FOR K-12 SCHOOLS AND CHILD CARE SETTINGS
With the state’s school mask mandate set to expire on March 7, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) issued updated public health recommendations for K-12 settings and child care programs.
“Providing a healthy and safe environment is key to keeping our children in schools. Our recommendations will continue to guide schools and child care providers in determining which COVID-related policies, including masking, are most appropriate for their students and staff based on their community-specific circumstances. While masks will not be required by the state, they remain an important part of a layered approach against COVID-19 and are recommended in certain circumstances,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “Other layered preventions such as vaccination and boosters, physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home when feeling ill continue to be critically important in disease prevention.”
GOVERNOR MURPHY AND DOBI COMMISSIONER CARIDE ANNOUNCE RECORD HEALTH INSURANCE SIGN-UPS DURING OPEN ENROLLMENT, INTRODUCE EFFORT TO FURTHER EXPAND HEALTH CARE ACCESS FOR NJ RESIDENTS
Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride announced more than 324,000 New Jerseyans signed up for health coverage through Get Covered New Jersey during the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period – an increase of 20 percent compared to last year – and a record high in New Jersey, as residents benefited from increased affordability from expanded federal and state financial help.
As part of its goal to continue to advance health equity and affordability, the Murphy Administration introduced a new “Expanded Access” initiative, which allows residents at certain income levels to continue to enroll in free or nearly free health coverage through Get Covered New Jersey.
“New Jersey saw a record number of residents enroll in quality affordable health coverage during Open Enrollment as the Biden Administration and the state drastically increased financial help to expand access to affordable coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “We continue to take actions based on our belief that health care is a right, not a privilege, and this new effort builds on the work we have done during our administration. By extending access to free or nearly free coverage to more New Jerseyans throughout the year, we will make health insurance more affordable and ensure residents can get the health care they need and deserve.”
MURPHY ADMINISTRATION AWARDS $16+ MILLION TO REDUCE WASTE AND PROMOTE RECYCLING ACROSS NEW JERSEY
The Murphy Administration is awarding nearly $16.2 million in grants to communities across the state to help them enhance waste reduction and recycling programs, a slight increase over the previous year’s total. The annual awards are based on 2019 recycling performance, the most recent year for which data is available. Municipalities must use their funds for various recycling initiatives. These may include sponsoring household hazardous waste collection events, providing recycling receptacles in public places, or maintaining leaf composting operations.
“Our state recycling grants support local waste reduction initiatives, helping to reduce local property tax burdens for New Jersey residents while improving the cleanliness of our communities,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “This vital state support for our local governments helps to strengthen municipal commitment to recycling and improves the quality of life for countless New Jerseyans.”
LT. GOVERNOR OLIVER CELEBRATES RIBBON CUTTING FOR NEW AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNITS IN NEWARK
Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver joined Lua Homes, LLC and affiliated company M&M Development Company, LLC. to celebrate the completion of two new homes in Newark for unhoused survivors of domestic violence. The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) awarded $700,000 in National Housing Trust Funds (NHTF) to acquire the property and for the new construction of the two-family building.
“These new homes are creating a fresh start and increased stability for families who have faced a great deal of difficulty and adversity in their lives,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “Having a safe, stable and affordable home is extremely critical for people who face domestic violence, and we are proud to partner with Lua, M&M Development, and RWJBH Safe House on this project aimed at helping them live a better quality of life.”
NJ HUMAN SERVICES AWARDS CONTRACT TO PROVIDE CULTURAL COMPETENCY TRAINING TO OPIOID TREATMENT PROVIDERS TO REDUCE TREATMENT GAP EXPERIENCED BY BLACK RESIDENTS
Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced the Department has awarded a contract to provide cultural competency training for opioid treatment providers to narrow the treatment gap experienced by Black residents, who are statistically less likely to receive or access services. The Department awarded a $750,000 contract to Family Connections Inc. to provide training, coaching, and consultation services to counselors and leadership employed at state-licensed opioid treatment providers. A secondary goal of this initiative is to increase the prescribing of medication for Black residents that supports addiction recovery. Medication-assisted treatment is the clinical standard of care for opioid use disorder.
“This training will help counselors and agency leaders develop skills and new approaches to ensure that services are provided in a culturally appropriate manner,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “In the absence of healing, opioid use has been a way of coping when a community has been traumatized by decades of violence, poverty, and historic mistreatment in the health care system. Even today, implicit biases within the system result in individuals going without treatment and experiencing premature termination of treatment. When these factors are ignored or misunderstood, it becomes challenging for Black individuals with opioid use disorder to get treatment. This must change – and this training is a step in the right direction.”