July 3 – A message from Mayor Manzo regarding COVID-19

From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey

July 3, 2020

We enter the holiday weekend recognizing that 1,075 people tested positive for the COVID-19 virus statewide since Tuesday. That increases the total number of positive cases in New Jersey to 172,742. There have also been 1,485,501 negative test results, giving us a statewide positive test rate of 11.6%. Sadly, 127 more New Jersey residents have died since Tuesday, bringing that total to 13,303.

I’ve received a few questions about the “positive test rate” I’ve been referencing in these updates, so let me clarify what that means. The percentage simply represents the ratio of positive tests to total tests administered. Using this week’s numbers, the calculation is 1,485.501 divided by 172,742 = 11.6%. It does not mean that an individual has an 11.6% chance of getting the virus.

In Gloucester County, there were an additional 45 positive tests, bringing that total to 2,616. The negative test count has reached 19,884 in the county, for a positive test rate of 11.6%. I regret to report that 5 more county residents have died from the virus and we now have lost 180 county neighbors.

Three more Harrison residents also tested positive since Tuesday, for a total of 67. We remain mournful for the 1 Harrison life lost to the virus.

All Gloucester County residents can call to schedule a COVID-19 or Antibody Test with no prerequisites. Simply call the COVID-19 Hotline 856-218-4142 between 9 AM and 4 PM, Monday thru Friday to schedule an appointment. You must have an appointment to be administered either test.

Yesterday the Governor officially extended the Public Health Emergency for another 30 days. FYI, that this action is more administrative than substantive, as nothing changes related to the restrictions in place with this extension. However, the Governor did make other, substantive announcements:

  •  The outdoor gathering capacity limit was increased to 500 persons (up from 250) effective at 6AM today, July 3rd. Outdoor religious services and political activities will continue to have no numerical limits. All indoor gatherings continue to be limited to 25% capacity of the rooms in which they will take place, with a maximum of 100 persons.
  • Amusement Parks were granted approval to open yesterday, July 2nd, with certain limitations, including reduced capacity (50% outside and 25% inside) and specified health screening protocols in place.
  • As stated in a previous Executive Order, Youth Summer Camps will be allowed to open this coming Monday, July 6th, with the appropriate health and safety standards in place.

It should also be noted that today, the Governor ordered that the U.S. and New Jersey flags be returned to full staff, having been at half-staff since Friday, April 3, in recognition and mourning of all those who have lost their lives and been affected by COVID-19. The flags will return to full staff as a symbol of New Jersey’s recovery and continued resolve.

If you’re getting these updates, that means you are also receiving our weekly Happening in the Hill emails. I have to brag for a minute. We are so proud of the communication process we have in place that allows this type of connection to what’s going on around town. David Cohen and his team at 4SUREfun Media have done a great job over the last few years as this platform has ramped up. It provides local businesses the opportunity to promote their products or services and we can ensure you’re aware of the numerous township events being staged.

In addition to the weekly email, they have been instrumental in supporting our community with the Digital Main Street initiative, keeping the Facebook page updated and maintaining the website information.

Next time you’re on Happening in the Hill, scroll down to the bottom and share the link with your friends and neighbors, so they can sign-up to receive this great weekly email and follow us on Facebook! There’s always something Happening in The Hill.

Many of you know that I refer to myself as a “numbers guy” from time to time. That’s because I believe that, often, understanding the numbers related to a topic make or break one’s ability to comprehend or learn something. I’m guessing you’ve had some conversation recently about the chances (percentages) of getting the Coronavirus? As I stated at the beginning of this Update, there is some confusion about that.

We see and hear some of these numbers in the media all the time, but if I asked you right now what your chances of getting the virus, getting hospitalized, or God forbid, dying from COVID-19 are, what would you say? How does that compare with all the other main causes of death in America each year?

Clearly, the death caused by this virus is significant and we don’t want to weigh it against anything else…..we just want to get thru it and find a vaccine and best medical treatment protocol going forward. At that point, hopefully, COVID-19 will join the regular flu (influenza) in our mind’s eye, which by the way, kills about 55,000 Americans on average per year. It be great when this virus falls into the same general category. Then our focus, once again, will be on the predominant causes of death in our country on an annual basis, like Heart Disease (approximately 650,000), Cancer (600,000), Accidents (170,000), Chronic Respiratory Disease (160,000) Stroke, (145,000) or Alzheimer’s Disease (120,000).

Trying to relate our chances of contracting (or worse) this new virus to these long-standing and recurring cause of death isn’t feasible. In fact, I’m suggesting it isn’t healthy either. But we want to know, don’t we? I came across something that may help. Mathematica is a company that compiles data and creates calculators to assess the effectiveness of policies and programs to improve public well-being. They designed an easy-to-use calculator for individuals to determine their chances of contracting this virus, called the COVID-19 Risk Calculator. I thought you would find it interesting and possibly consoling.  

Enjoy your holiday weekend. Next week I will circle back to the Science of Well-Being course and wrap that up in the next couple weeks. And keep an eye out for new lamp post banners on Main Street featuring Harrison Strong — this will be part of our history forever.      

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor


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