Verona’s rate of new infections of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 fell last month to its lowest level since testing for the virus began in earnest last year. The increase was just 8.99% in April, down from a 17.62% increase in March. Verona’s largest monthly percentage increase in new cases happened in December 2020, when the rate hit 55.63%. The falling COVID infection rate in our area is making it possible for students who want five-day in-person learning at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School and Verona High School to return to those schools on Wednesday, May 5.
COVID infection rates fell across all Essex County towns in April. According to statistics from the county, the lowest rate of increase was 5.53% in Cedar Grove, while the highest rate increase was in Irvington, at 15.22%. Newark, the county’s largest city, had an increase in positive COVID cases of just 5.97% in April.
While Verona’s 17th COVID death was reported on April 1, we lost no one else to the virus last month. Most other Essex County towns also had few or no new deaths, with the exception of Newark, which had 40 additional losses to the pandemic, and East Orange, with 15.
Part of the reason for the falling rates of infection and the slowing of deaths may be the growing numbers of partially or fully vaccinated people in Essex County. On May 1, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. said that a total of 176,063 residents had received their first dose of the Moderna vaccine, while 133,851 had received both doses. The county has also been giving out the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine at one of its five sites, and a total of 12,854 people have gotten that vaccine.
Essex County residents have also been able to get vaccinated in other places, including doctors’ offices and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) megasite that opened at NJIT in Newark on March 31. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, 155,814 Essex County residents have been vaccinated at NJIT.