July 12 – A message from Mayor Manzo regarding COVID-19

From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey

July 12, 2020

I was out of town and didn’t have the opportunity to write an Update on Friday….apologies. So, these are the numbers related to the virus since Tuesday, five full days ago.

Statewide, there have been an additional 1,420 positive tests, bringing that total to 175,298 since the Coronavirus outbreak began in early March here. The total number of negative tests in New Jersey during that time has risen to 1,685,604. That calculates to a 10.4% positive test rate; down from 11.1% this past Tuesday. The last five days have seen 169 more New Jersey residents lose their lives to this wretched virus, bringing that total to 13,594.

In Gloucester County, there were an additional 84 positive tests since Tuesday, bringing that total to 2,756 since the outset. The negative test count has reached 23,733 in the county, for a positive test rate of 10.4%, identical to the state rate and down a full percentage point (from 11.4%) since Tuesday. Unfortunately, we lost two more county residents to the virus since Tuesday, bringing that total to 186 since the outbreak began back in early March.

We recorded two more positive tests in Harrison since Tuesday, increasing our total to 72. We remain mournful for the one Harrison life lost to the virus.

NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET
There has been much discussion recently about the surge in cases and what that means. I won’t take the time to recount the various perspectives since I know you can tap into this information yourself. I resigned myself to the fact that we are (and have been) in uncharted territory with this novel coronavirus, so nothing should be a surprise. Based on expert medical information, there was an expectation that these warmer, summer months would produce a lull in the spread of COVID-19. In fact, we were already being prepared for a potential surge in the Fall, when the weather cools. A month ago, there wasn’t talk of a summer surge and the need to roll back some of the restriction easing. But look at us now.

Unfortunately, contradictions exist in analyzing these numbers and that continues to cause confusion. I’ve just added to that confusion with today’s numbers, haven’t I? Even though we are experiencing a surge in the positive case count, the data I provided above shows a decrease in the “positive test rate” at both the state and county level. How can that be? This must mean that the increase in positive cases is connected to an increased number of tests being performed. But some experts refute that perspective.

Therefore, I will stay away from those contradictions and focus only on the data I’m provided that pertains to us, here in Harrison. With 72 positive cases now reported, we know we’ve experienced a spike. Why? We only had a total of 7 cases in all of June and we now have 8 cases in just the first thirteen days of July. We also know that we’ve dropped from having the lowest infection rate in Gloucester County to the 4th lowest. That is tangible and irrefutable, which is good, less confusion.
 
As surges in other areas of the country occur and our Governor slows the progress of easing restrictions and implements mandatory masks outdoors, let’s control what we can control, our individual behavior. There shouldn’t be reports of employees from our local businesses not wearing masks. I’ve received calls and emails of this, and it’s disheartening. Understand that we will continue to enforce the Executive Orders put in place by the Governor and we will error on the side of being cautious, always. So, if you’re reading this as a business owner in town, please adhere to the guidelines. Our residents want to support you, but they need to feel safe and respected.

TESTING UPDATE
Our Gloucester County Department of Health has done an excellent job of providing resources and keeping us informed. I have conveyed the County Drive-Thru Testing Program information in these updates. Today, I diverge from providing those details since it’s been brought to my attention that changes in the COVID-19 Test or the Antibody Test have occurred. For access to the most up-to-date information, go directly to Gloucester County Coronavirus page  on the County website.
 
These next 30-45 days are crucial in the fight against the COVIS-19 virus. We continue to have our Harrison team highly engaged to support our aged and vulnerable members of the community, provide the needed information for medical and economic resources, as well as seeking ways to support and patronize our local businesses. Please respect the social distancing and mask-wearing protocols during this time. It’s likely we will be dealing with this for quite some time.

We hope you like the new Harrison Strong banners on the Main Street lampposts. That spirit will carry us through this…..and anything else we confront.   

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor

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A message from Mayor Manzo regarding the Coronavirus COVID-19. Learn more