Oct 5 – A message from Mayor Manzo regarding COVID-19

From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey

To Our Harrison Family,
We enter October still under a cloud of uncertainty. The recent spike in positive tests appears to have plateaued locally, however, I caution everyone: 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.We continue to wait for concrete news out of Washington concerning phase 2 of an economic stimulus package. I speak to business owners regularly, as well as furloughed or laid-off workers who are anxious for resolution on this issue. The news reports indicate that there is ongoing conversation between the Speaker of the House and the Secretary of Treasury, but no agreement yet. As soon as there is definition on that front, I will include details here in my update.

The increasing trend of positive tests for the virus continues statewide, with 4,606 additional positive tests recorded since last Monday. That brings the statewide total to 208,713 and New Jersey has now administered 3,758,058 tests since March. That translates to a 5.6% cumulative positive test rate. The number of people lost to the virus increased by 35 this past week, bringing that total to 14,351.

Locally, we have seen the recent spike in positive tests, level off. Since last Monday, 154 new cases were reported in Gloucester County, a lower increase than the previous report for the third straight week (see the chart below). A total of 4,742 county residents have tested positive, while 55,868 have tested negative. That’s a cumulative positive test rate holding steady at 7.5%. We lost 4 county residents this past week, bringing that total to 223.

In Harrison, like in in the county, the week-over-week increase may have plateaued, as our positive test count increased by 9 since last Monday. A total of 192 residents in our hometown have tested positive and we’ve had 1 death.

The last week has confirmed to me what I already knew. Many residents are not totally clear on what is happening with the election process this year. Am I required to use the Vote By Mail ballot? Can I vote in person on election Day? Will my vote get counted?
If you are on the list to receive the weekly Happening in the Hill emails and the COVID updates I have been writing, there’s a good chance you have clarity on this topic. You received the Voter Guide we sent last week, and that information now resides on the township website’s homepage, titled 2020 General Election Information.Be sure to review it again, as it contains the details about the Vote By Mail (VBM) ballots, which will be landing in your mailbox any day now. The Voter Guide explains the process and identifies our two local polling locations on Election Day (not the standard sites) in case you decide to vote in-person. Over the weekend, I was asked (again) about when you will receive your 2020 Sample Ballots in the mail? The answer is: Never! Sample Ballots are not being mailed to every registered voter this year, since Vote By Mail Ballots are. A picture of the ballot has just been posted on the Gloucester County website, you can review it there.

Take a moment to review the ballot prior to completing your VBM ballot or voting in-person on November 3rd. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Municipal Clerk, Diane Malloy with any questions at dmalloy@harrisontwp.us or phone her directly at 856-478-4112.

Diane and our team have been tremendous through this pandemic. As a Registered Municipal Clerk, one of Diane’s responsibilities is to oversee the local process for every election, and she does a stellar job…..and she’ll love me saying this……..yes, Diane has all the answers! Or she will get them for you. Do not hesitate to contact her with any questions. Our township employees are the reason why we are……from a functional standpoint….Harrison Strong!

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor


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