November 9 – A message from Mayor Manzo regarding COVID-19

From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to escalate, so let us immediately look at that data before attempting to analyze it.

The recent surge in positive tests, statewide, saw the weekly increase reach its highest level since early May, with 15,656 new cases this past week. That brings the total number of positive tests in New Jersey to 256,653. New Jersey has also administered 5,037,287 total tests. We lost 76 more New Jersey residents this past week, bringing that total to 14,640.  
Gloucester County recorded 629 new cases, bringing the countywide total to 6,775. There also has been a total of 73,840 negative tests. The death toll in the county rose by 2 to 244 since the outbreak began.

In Harrison, there were 22 additional positive tests, our highest one-week increase. We’ve now had 259 cases in our hometown with 3 deaths. 
The table below illustrates the rise, fall and recent surge in the number of positive cases throughout the state, county and Harrison Township.

You may have noticed that I did not include the “cumulative positive test rate” in the state and county, as I have been for the last few months. We no longer feel that is a good barometer of where we stand currently. That “cumulative” rate takes into account ALL the tests administered and provides an overall rate since inception. We also know more about the virus now pertaining to those who show symptoms (or don’t), become gravely ill and need to be hospitalized and the expected mortality rate.
For that reason, with the recent surge in positive cases, we want to connect that increase to the hospitalization and death rates, so we can be alert to the correlation. In looking at New Jersey’s COVID-19 hospitalization numbers, we see that the number of people hospitalized peaked on April 15th at 8,270. That number slowly decreased on a daily basis from that point, dipping to about 5,000 by early May, 2,500 by June, 1,000 by July and under 500 by early August.
The lowest number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in the state of New Jersey was 249 on September 21st. That number has slowly risen since then, eclipsing 700 by October 1st, over 1,000 by the end of the month and at 1,392 as of yesterday. So, there definitely is a connection between the increase in cases and those hospitalized because of the virus.
We will add the data related to any increase in the number of deaths connected to this surge in our report next Monday. But I think the relationship is probably already obvious to you. Yes, the data will show an increase in the number of deaths recently. The will be a different perspective now than when the death rate was higher back April and May. We have different treatment capabilities than we did in those early weeks of the Coronavirus outbreak. We have protocols in place to help restrict the spread and we have a better understanding of those who are most vulnerable to the virus. That said, we should all recognize the need to do all we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Based on the surge I am referencing, today the Governor announced new restrictions. The Murphy administration says bars and restaurants will need to close all indoor service by 10PM effective on Thursday, November 12th. Interstate indoor organized sports will also be prohibited indefinitely, according to sources in the Murphy administration. Restaurants and bars are already limited to 25% capacity rules, obviously, this further restricts their capability.

I will tell you that there is a great deal of discussion with Trenton leaders on this topic. We will continue to stay engaged in that conversation with our representatives and bring that information to you. It is important for all of us to take personal responsibility and follow the safety protocols, especially as it relates to those most vulnerable in our world. It’s also important for you to find the safe balance available so you can maintain your sanity, I get it.

Do so safely and responsibly, since I know our local eateries are doing an incredible job making their venues as clean and safe as possible so they can provide you with that option. They are definitely Harrison Strong and we love them for it!

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor