October 26 – A message from Mayor Manzo regarding COVID-19 –

From the Desk of the Mayor
Harrison Township, New Jersey

To Our Harrison Family:

For context on our local numbers, let’s look at the nation, as a whole. Over the past week, there have been an average of 69,814 new cases of COVID-19 per day, an increase of 32% from the average two weeks ago. According to the numbers published in the NY Times, 8,739,400 people in the United States have been infected with the virus and at least 225,300 have died.
 
Though more rural areas have shown the worst growth, infection rates are also rising in major cities like Chicago and Milwaukee. Cases have reached record levels in more than 20 states including Illinois, Tennessee, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Utah. Though the mortality rate has not spiked on the same level, there is an expectation that may follow in the coming weeks. But that remains to be seen, as many suggest that our capability to treat those who become most ill has improved in recent months. We can only pray that these suggestions prove to be correct.
 
Again, we are clearly dealing with the expected rise in cases with the cooler weather and our diligence to the safety protocols is crucial in these coming weeks. An acceptance of a sustained adjustment to our lifestyle for the time being is imperative as we move into the winter months ahead. This adjustment is especially imperative for those who are most vulnerable among us. By “vulnerable”, I mean those most likely to fall gravely ill once infected by COVID-19……our elderly and people with underlying conditions like heart disease, hypertension, or asthma. If you have high blood pressure, immune deficiencies, or cystic fibrosis you are more at risk. In fact, if you have any chronic issues, you should consult your private physician to understand your personal increased risk. This is the “new normal” for now.  

THE NUMBERS 
Turning our focus inward, the increasing trend of positive tests for COVID continues statewide, with 8,479 new cases recorded since last Monday; a 20% increase over the prior week’s 30%. There have been a total of 229,684 positive tests, statewide, since the outbreak began. New Jersey has now administered 4,455,234 tests, maintaining a 5.2% cumulative positive test rate. We lost 78 more New Jersey residents this past week, bringing that total to 14,503.  
 
There were 336 new cases recorded in Gloucester County this past week, bringing the countywide total to 5,672. There have also been 66,865 negative tests recorded, in total, for a cumulative positive test rate continues to hold steady at 7.8%. The death toll in the county rose by 7 in the last week and we now have lost 235 county residents since the outbreak began.
 
In Harrison, we saw an additional 13 new cases confirmed here, bringing that total to 230. We also learned that one of the 7 county residents lost this week was a Harrison native, a 72-year-old male, bringing that death toll to 3. Please take a moment to think of all those lost in this tragic period we are experiencing. Our love and condolences go out to every family effected. There really are no words to describe how sobering and heartbreaking it is to write this accounting.

 
 
 
VOTING UPDATE 
Below is an exact copy of last week’s Voting Update, since I was told it was valuable and we are in the final week of voting leading up to Election Day on November 3rd:
 
The Vote By Mail (VBM) process has begun. There was a little confusion last week as resident began receiving a small postcard from the Gloucester County Clerk’s Office. The card had the wrong salutation (“Dear…..”) on it. Meaning my card, addressed to Louis Manzo at my correct address, didn’t read “Dear Louis Manzo….” on the other side. The salutation, mistakenly, had a different name inserted. The County quickly confirmed that the salutation mistake, was the only mistake on the card. The information about how to track or re-request your VBM ballot and the location of the County Drop Boxes was all correct.
 
Repeating that, you can most easily track your ballot once you’ve submitted it at TrackMyBallot.nj.gov or call 1-877-NJ-VOTER. Also, if you do not receive your VBM ballot by the end of this week, call the Gloucester County Clerk’s Office at 856-384-4530.
 
We’ve received great feedback on our hometown Voter Guide, located on our township website’s homepage. When in doubt, check it out, titled 2020 General Election Information.
 
I close this week hopeful that your sense of optimism endures even as the virus is increasing and our frustration with feeling helpless persists. Focus on taking care of yourself and your loved ones and find time every day to be thankful for the little things in our life. As these times are reminding us, nothing is guaranteed in this life. One of my favorite artists said it best….

“Our lives are made, in these small hours.
These Little Wonders, these twists and turns of fate.
Time falls away, but these small hours
These small hours still remain.”

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor

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