November 2 – A message from Mayor Manzo regarding COVID-19 –

From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey

To Our Harrison Family:

As we enter November, we are adjusting to this recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases worldwide. The truth is that attempting to provide insight to what it all means by comparing test rates to hospitalizations and mortality numbers will make your head spin. Therefore, the best default position is to do everything we can, as individuals, to prevent the spread of the virus. We all know about the best safety protocols that include frequent handwashing, social distancing and mask wearing. If you want to re-educate yourself on all the best practices, go directly to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on How to Protect Yourself and your Family.

The link at the bottom of that page focuses on Protecting Your Health During Flu Season, is especially interesting. It details the differences between Influenza (Flu) and the Coronavirus and the importance of getting a Flu vaccination this season, more than ever. Those are personal choices we all make, but this CDC information is worth the read as you consider these decisions.
The number of positive cases for the for the COVID-19 virus, statewide, increased substantially again this past week with 11,313 new cases recorded since last Monday. The total number of positive tests in New Jersey is now 240,997. We have administered 4,721,797 tests, with our cumulative positive test rate now at 5.1%. Sixty-one more New Jersey residents this past week, bringing that total to 14,564.  
Gloucester County recorded 474 new cases this past week, bringing the countywide total to 6,142. This increase over last week’s “new recorded cases” number mirrors the statewide ratio, which is in the 30-40% range. The death toll in the county rose by 7 in the last week and we now have lost 242 county residents.
In Harrison, we saw an additional 7 new cases confirmed, bringing that total to 237. That is the lowest weekly increase here since the end of August and we hope to see that trend continue. The number of Harrison residents lost to the virus remains at 3. 

Tomorrow is Election Day……in case you’ve been living in a cave for the past several months. Clearly, this is perhaps the most anticipated election at the national level we have seen, potentially ever. The COVID restrictions that have caused unprecedented voting measures has also made the 2020 election unique. So, for the last time I will reiterate the process in place to cast your ballot, which ends as of 8 PM tomorrow evening. If you are in the group of voters that has chosen to wait to cast your ballot until Election Day, refer to our hometown Voter Guide, located on our township website’s homepage, titled 2020 General Election Information
It includes directions on the multiple ways to submit your Vote By Mail (VBM) ballot or cast a Provisional ballot at your polling location, if that’s what you prefer. Remember, that even though the deadline to cast and submit your ballot is 8 PM tomorrow night, any VBM ballot received in the US Mail by next Tuesday, November 10th (and postmarked by November 3rd, tomorrow) is considered valid and will be added to the count. That is why, technically, the final vote totals will not be certified until after the November 10th deadline.
All other ballots, both VBMs and Provisionals will be at the Gloucester County Board of Elections by tomorrow evening; including the final contents of the Drop Box at our Township Municipal Building. The box, itself, will be picked up at EXACTLY 8 PM by members of the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Department, with an escort by the National Guard.
Therefore, whether you submitted your VBM ballot through the US Postal Service, dropping it off directly at the Board of Elections in West Deptford, dropping it in a County Drop Box or submitting it in-person at your designated polling location tomorrow, you can confirm that your ballot has been received. As I’ve stated previously, the easiest way to track your ballot once you’ve submitted it, is at or call 1-877-NJ-VOTER.
For the record, there are approximately 213,000 registered voters in Gloucester County and about 10,000 are registered here in Harrison. As expected, the VBM submissions are at an all-time high, considering the COVID-induced process this year. The County VBM Submission Report through this past Saturday, confirmed that 121,734 VBM ballots have been received, countywide. In Harrison, 6,073 VBM ballots are confirmed received, already exceeding the 60% mark. There is, perhaps, no better evidence of being Harrison Strong than casting a vote. If you haven’t done so, be sure to submit your vote by tomorrow night as we seek to set a new standard for voter turnout!

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor