At the beginning of this month influenza activity in all parts of the Garden State was high, but that’s no longer the case and some are wondering if the flu season has already peaked.

According to state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan, influenza activity in New Jersey is now moderate, except in the southeastern section of the state where it’s low.

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She said the trend is encouraging but “we’re not entirely sure if we’ve peaked yet in our flu season because as we know with flu, it’s always unpredictable so it’s unclear whether we’re going to see an increase in activity later this season.”

Tan pointed out “during the flu season there are a variety of different flu viruses that circulate, so it will depend on whether another flu type becomes predominant.”

Why has influenza activity declined in the past few weeks?

Dr. Tan said no one knows for sure but “increased precautions because of COVID, specifically because of increases in omicron activity, certainly could have impacted flu activity."

She said for both COVID and influenza infections, wearing a mask and social distancing helps to limit virus transmission.

Too late for a flu shot?

Dr. Tan said even though flu season has been going for quite a while, “as long as flu is circulating in the community it is definitely not too late to get the flu shot."

Tan said the predominant strain that has been circulating, influenza A3HN2, can cause significant illness in the very young and old, so it’s important to make sure young children and the elderly get their flu shot.

She said Health Department is continuing to monitor influenza data at nursing home and schools across the state.

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NJ towns with indoor mask mandates

Here is a list of the New Jersey municipalities that have re-instated the COVID-19 indoor mask mandate as cases surge because of the omicron variant.

NJ teachers and educators caught in sex crime busts

Over the past few years, state lawmakers have taken on the challenge of dealing with accused child predators among the ranks of teachers and educators.

In 2018, the so-called “pass the trash” law went into effect, requiring stricter New Jersey school background checks related to child abuse and sexual misconduct.

The follow individuals were arrested over the past several years. Some have been convicted and sentenced to prison, while others have accepted plea deals for probation.

Others cases are still pending, including some court delays amid the COVID-19 pandemic.