From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey
July 7, 2020
We are all aware that there seems to be an uptick, even in New Jersey, for the number of positive tests, hospitalizations and deaths connected to the COVID-19 virus. Statewide, there have been an additional 1,136 positive tests since my last update on Friday. That increases the total number of positive cases in New Jersey since the outbreak to 173,878. There have also been 1,560,133 negative test results, giving us a statewide positive test rate of 11.1%. We lost 122 more New Jersey residents since Friday, bringing that total to 13,425.
In Gloucester County, there were an additional 56 positive tests since Friday, bringing that total to 2,672. The negative test count has reached 20,825 in the county, for a positive test rate of 11.4%. Two more county residents have passed since Friday, sadly bringing that total to 182.
For the first time since we have been recording the positive test rate, Gloucester County has a higher rate than the state, at large. Again, part of this is due to increased testing access, but we should recognize that restriction easements probably play a part in this script. We must remain committed to the safety protocols we are now familiar with to ensure control of the virus spreading at this point.
Three more Harrison residents also tested positive since Friday, for a total of 70. We remain mournful for the 1 Harrison life lost to the virus.
GLOUCESTER COUNTY TESTING
All Gloucester County residents can call to schedule a COVID-19 or Antibody Test with no pre-requisites. 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.
PAUSE BUTTON FROM TRENTON
The Governor has hit the pause button on the planned easement in restrictions based on recent data connected to the Coronavirus. That means businesses and services that have not yet reopened — including gyms, indoor dining sections of bars and restaurants, movie theaters, performing arts centers, and more — will likely have to continue waiting for an opportunity to return to business.
New Jersey is currently in Stage 2 of a multi-phase reopening plan that was presented in May. The Governor said officials will restart the process if key figures drop, citing one of the key figures officials will watch is the transmission rate — the number of people one infected resident passes COVID-19 to.
As long as that number stays below 1, which means that every sick person is infecting one other person, the state can continue opening its economy. But if the virus starts growing again, meaning a transmission rate equal to or more than 1, the reopening will stop. The rate, which topped 5 in March, had fallen to 0.62 by June 11 but has crept up in recent days. It reached 1.03 the last two days, meaning infected residents were giving the virus to more than one other person.
DINING, DESSERTS & DEALS
As we continue to have limited dining options, I want to make sure that you are aware of the Dining, Desserts & Deals that is available through Happening in the Hill. Please continue to support our local businesses and enjoy the great dining and dessert options available for takeout and in some cases outdoor dining on a limited basis.
SPECIAL THANKS TO A HUMBLE LEADER
We have been so proud of our entire community through this terrible episode in our history. People from all corners of our community have stepped up to help those in need in ways we never thought of prior to the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve recognized many of those community members on these pages and we’ll continue to do so as we work through whatever additional challenges the virus brings.
Internally, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, our township crew has risen above and beyond the “call to duty”, ensuring the continuity of our services for our residents. And though she will not like me singling her out, I want to take a minute to recognize Committeewoman, Julie DeLaurentis (I’m guessing she just yelped reading this and is texting me immediately, lol). Julie intentionally avoids spotlight and relishes working behind the scenes in advancing a cause that she’s passionate about.
That’s happened consistently with Julie in the 20+ years she’s volunteered in various roles with the township. In the last three years, she’s taken that to a whole different level in her role as a member of our Township Committee. Today, I’m compelled to mention her idea to create the Harrison Township COVID-19 Assistance Program, in conjunction with our Office of Emergency Management. Creating a call-out list of over 400 residents with health issues or at risk based on age. Julie has been instrumental in organizing volunteers to contact those residents directly, which was quite an undertaking.
Julie took on that challenge and it has clearly been the initiative that I have received the most response to from our community thru emails, texts, phone calls and even conversations at ShopRite. Though you hate the spotlight, Julie, I speak for our entire community in saying thank you for all you do. This Assistance Program is just one example of what you bring to our Harrison Strong spirit. Your commitment is appreciated by all.
Together for Harrison Township,