From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey
August 24, 2020
There have been 1,952 more positive tests in New Jersey since last Monday, bringing the statewide total to 189,719 since the outbreak began. The total number of tests administered in New Jersey is now at 2,676,812, which translates to a 7.1% cumulative positive test rate. We’ve lost 43 more New Jersey residents this past week, bringing that total to 14,120.
In Gloucester County, 129 people tested positive since last Monday, bringing that total to 3,591. The county has also recorded 38,582 negative tests since testing began back in March, making the county’s cumulative positive test rate 8.5%. We lost 5 more county residents this past week, bringing the county death toll to 208.
The positive test count in Harrison grew by 12 since last Monday. We have now had a total of 116 positive tests for the Coronavirus, and 1 death.
CHARTING THE TREND
This is the second consecutive week with a double-digit increase in positive tests here, in Harrison (last week’s increase was 11). Though speculation and discussion about these “spikes” continue, there is no denying that we have seen an uptick in cases, week-to-week, here at home. Based on this small sample of only 11 cases, it is highly unlikely that this number is increasing due to a flaw in the reporting process. I am well versed (and inundated) with all the various theories about the number positive cases being reported, which include positive test results for individuals who were never tested, etc.
For that reason, I created the new chart (below) to focus on the week-to-week trend in Gloucester County. Each entry on the chart shows the total number of tests administered, positive results and corresponding positive test rate for that week, and that week only. Therefore, we can evaluate the trend of the positive test rate this week, compared to last week and beyond. It’s important to have this local/county perspective in addition to the statewide trend being reported, which is currently leveling off after a recent spike.
Though these past five months have been a confusing whirlwind, things have become more intense recently as we transition on several levels. Our School Districts are finalizing their plan for the coming school year tailored to the desires and needs of our community, as districts throughout the state do the same. And there are hardly two plans that will look alike. On the state level, progress is being monitored closely to determine the timing on continued restriction easements, as we seek a path to economic health. Nationally, there is heightened talk of a vaccine and treatment protocols being tested and considered.
All of this is out of our hands as residents, and that can be frustrating. We need to understand that we can only control what we can control in our daily lives. The schools will open for in-class education, or not. The Governor and his team will roll out the next phase of easements allowing the possibility to go sit inside at our favorite restaurant based on the criteria set. The vaccine and medicines will pass the required testing and be available to us at some point. And yes, we are held hostage to all of that and the decision-makers on those fronts.
But here’s what you can control: Your emotions, to start with. Find whatever works for you to relieve this added stress. If you really feel like you have something substantive to contribute to the decision-makers at the state level, then convey that. Our state representatives exist to voice our opinions in Trenton. You can always contact me, and I will pass it on. And lastly, and I believe, the easiest thing to control is our own personal behavior. Yes, I’m talking about wearing masks and the social distancing/gathering protocols.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, certain things in our lives will be permanently altered, even after we gain control of the virus. Corporations will allow more people to work from home, there will be a few less handshakes and hugs, cleaning and disinfecting habits will be different, and you will see some people wearing masks or mouth coverings in public, forever.
That’s in the future, when it’s optional. Right now, it’s not optional, yet some people choose to ignore this protocol. Hardly a day goes by where I’m not getting an email, text or phone call about this type of behavior. Invariably, a person who feels wearing a mask is inconvenient or a violation of their rights also feels that the economy should be fast-tracked to normalcy. So, my message today is simple: Practicing the distancing/gathering protocols and wearing a mask when in the presence of others outside your family is a way for you to do your part to re-opening our economy, sooner rather than later. The two go hand-in-hand……..just like the words Harrison & Strong!
Together for Harrison Township,