Verona has recorded its 901st positive case of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, according to statistics released by Essex County this morning. We had reached 800 cases on March 10. Verona’s positives have increased by 17.6% over the month of March, the seventh highest rate of increase in the county. North Caldwell had the highest rate of increase so far in March, at 25.4%.
NJSpotlight.com, an independent news website that covers health, government and education in New Jersey, reported today that New Jersey currently has the highest rate of new COVID-19 infections in the nation, and that they are believed to be due to COVID-19 variants. State health officials are having difficulty doing specialized testing for the variants.
According NJSpotlight.com, New Jersey’s rate of coronavirus cases over the past week was 346 per 100,000 people. The next closest state is Michigan, with 327 cases per 100,000, and only New Jersey and Michigan had rates above 300 per 100,000.
In Essex County, the infection rate is 260 per 100,000. Bergen is 280 per 100,000 and Hudson is 310 per 100,000. The three counties are part of the state’s Northeast region in COVID infection reporting and it has categorized their current activity level as “high,” which means that middle school and high school students in Verona must continue to stay six feet apart inside a school building.
The counties with the highest infection rates now are Morris, with 310 per 100,000; Ocean, with 340 per 100,000 and Monmouth, with 390 per 100,000.
Essex County is making slow progress with its vaccination efforts. As of Monday, 123,278 residents had gotten first doses at the five county sites, and 75,494 people had gotten second doses. Essex County has a total population of 799,785. The county also said that 1,998 teachers had been vaccinated, but did not specify whether that was first or second doses.
A federally funded vaccine “megasite” will open on the campus of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) on Wednesday, March 31. It will be able to give out 6,000 vaccine doses a day. Each of the county’s current sites have been able to give out about 800 first and second doses a day. Registration for the megasite is being handled through the state’s COVID system, not the county’s.