Verona has crossed a new milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic: This morning, Essex County reported that we have now had 508 cases of the virus here since its emergence last March, an increase of 38 from just January 1, 2021.
Verona had had only 302 cases on December 1, but saw a surge in cases during the month. Our 56% increase in positives was one of the largest increases in Essex County: Only Glen Ridge, North Caldwell and Essex Fells had a higher rate of new positives (72%, 71% and 64% respectively). Verona also had one additional death from COVID-19 in December, making the virus the third-largest cause of death in Verona in 2020.
Newark continues to lead Essex County in total cases and deaths, but its increase in new positives was only 32% in December. According to the county data, more women are testing positive than men (51% to 47%) but more men are dying from COVID than women (55% to 45%). The highest percentage of positives (34.3%) has occurred in people ages 30 to 49, but the majority of the deaths (73.4%) have been among people age 65 or older. The county does not break out gender or death data by municipality.
Some Verona residents who are healthcare workers and first responders have begun to be vaccinated against COVID-19 at their place of work, or at the county’s vaccination center in the former Kmart store in West Orange. County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo said Monday that the county has vaccinated 4,127 residents so far.
Other vaccination locations are getting ready to open in Essex County, including Vanguard Medical’s Verona office. Although only people categorized as 1a by the state can be vaccinated right now, people can pre-register to get the vaccine when other categories open up through a new state website.