16th Veronan Dies As COVID Cases Jump Past 600

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Verona has recorded its 16th death from the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The death was announced in statistics sent this morning by Essex County, which has been tracking the virus here since March 2020. COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in Verona last year. Because of health privacy laws, the county reports do not identify the people who have died.

Today’s county report also included 10 new positive cases of the virus, bringing Verona’s total to 606. Verona’s cases had hit 500 on January 5. The increase in positives this month is 29%, down from a 56% surge in December. 

State authorities had said earlier this week that their predictive models were suggesting that New Jersey had turned the corner on COVID-19. The state Department of Health said it believed that daily coronavirus testing numbers and related hospitalizations could reach an apex on Sunday, January 24. The state also said that COVID deaths appeared to have peaked on December 30 and were trending down. Most of Verona’s deaths occurred in the first two months of the virus’ emergence in New Jersey last year, and the tally does not include the death of noted chef Floyd Cardoz, who had moved from Verona not long before his passing.

Yesterday, however, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that New Jersey now has two confirmed cases of the B.1.1.7 variant of COVID that was first detected in the U.K. This variant is believed to be more contagious.

Essex County announced Friday that it had begun to give the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to people who had gotten their first shot in December. Essex County is distributing the Moderna vaccine at five sites around the county,  and said that it has given about 25,000 shots since it started. (Verona  residents have been volunteering as greeters and vaccine administrators at several of the sites.) The county sites have the capacity to give more shots every day than they are currently administering but the county does not have enough supply from the federal government. 

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