Oct 12 – A message from Mayor Manzo regarding COVID-19 – copy

From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey

To Our Harrison Family,

The rollercoaster ride continues as Gloucester County saw another blip this week, more than doubling the number of new COVID-19 cases compared to last week (312 vs. 154, see chart below). The increasing trend is statewide here in New Jersey, as the number of new cases this week (5,384) is double the number of new cases in the week ending September 14th (2,578). In fact, you have to go back to late May to find a weekly increase eclipsing 5,000 new cases.  
Therefore, I repeat my statement from last week’s Update: Do not be swayed by the news of the day……on any given day. We all know how quickly things can turn with this pandemic. The weather is finally cooling, and we have always expected a second wave of the COVID-19 virus in the Fall. Will that actually materialize? We cannot say for sure. Therefore, we stay the course with our social distancing protocols and mask wearing. 
As stated above, the increasing trend of positive tests continues statewide, with 5,384 new cases recorded since last Monday. That brings the statewide total to 214,097 since the outbreak began. New Jersey has now administered 3,971,597 tests since the onset of the virus, translating to a 5.4% cumulative positive test rate. We lost 36 more New Jersey residents this past week, bringing that total to 14,387.  
This week’s positive tests saw 312 new cases recorded in Gloucester County. That broke a trend of three consecutive weeks with lower increases compared to the previous week. A total of 5,054 county residents have now tested positive since March, while 60,690 have tested negative. That’s a cumulative positive test rate holding steady at 7.7%. Thankfully, there was no additional loss of life here, the death toll remaining at 223.
In Harrison, like in in the county, the week-over-week increase is higher than last week, as we recorded 12 new cases since last Monday. A total of 204 residents of our hometown has tested positive and we have 1 death. 
Vote By Mail (VBM) ballots began arriving last week and I know many of you have already voted and turned in your ballots at the County Drop Box, located at our Township Municipal Building. I have fielded a few questions about the pick-up and delivery of those ballots, so let me address them here. The County Drop Boxes at every location (13 throughout the county, with the local box at our Municipal Building) are emptied daily.
The pick-up/delivery procedure is the same at every location. Two uniformed Gloucester County Sheriff Department Officers, one a registered Democrat and one a registered Republican, empty the box and transport the ballots to the Gloucester County Board of Elections Office at 550 Grove Road in West Deptford, NJ. Here, the ballots are placed in a secure location until which time they are to be opened.
Another question I’ve been asked pertains to how quickly a voter can confirm, online, that their ballot has been “received” once submitted. The County has told us that the lag time in this reporting has been 2 to 3 days thus far, considering their attention has been focused on processing all the pending Voter Registration Applications and that deadline is tomorrow. After that, we are told that reporting should be daily.
There are two ways to confirm the receipt of your VBM ballot online. One is through the State of NJ Division of Elections Voter Information Portal. You can easily create your own personal My Voter Record account and track your ballot there. The Gloucester County website also provides access to a Vote By Mail List that will indicate the date your VBM ballot was mailed and received. However, that list has not been made operational to include “received” dates as of yet but is expected to do so in the coming days.
I reiterate that you should seek answers to all your voting/election questions on our township website homepage, where you will find the Voter Guide we created for you, titled 2020 General Election Information
Be sure to exercise the most important right we have as Americans…..the right to vote. It makes us who we are……it ensures we are heard……it makes us Harrison Strong!  


Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor


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