Sobering statistics out of Essex County this morning: There have been 1,895 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday, including 37 new cases in Verona. The greatest increase in new cases was recorded in Newark, where the county says there were 725 new positives between Tuesday and Wednesday, but there were also 75 new cases in Montclair. North Caldwell, Glen Ridge, and Essex Fells had the small increases, at four, six, and seven, respectively.
Since Thanksgiving, Essex County has had a 12.8% increase in COVID cases. Verona, which had had the highest percentage increase of any town in the county for most of the month, has now been eclipsed by other towns. Our percentage increase now stands at 18.3%. But South Orange is at 21.4%, followed by Maplewood at 20.8%, and Verona and Millburn, which are now nearly tied. There has been a 12.9% increase in Newark. The smallest percentage increase since Thanksgiving has been in Belleville, at 5.86%.
The rise in COVID positives in Verona has prompted the postponement of tonight’s winter concert at Verona High School. The Verona Public Library has also informed the groups that meet there that there will be no in-person programs at the library until February. The library remains open for individual book borrowers.
Because of the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays, Essex County is changing the operating hours at its COVID-19 vaccination and testing sites, closing them from Friday, December 24 to Sunday, December 27. They will be closed again from Friday, December 31, to Monday, January 3. The county operates vaccination and testing sites at Essex County College in Newark, the former Kmart store in West Orange and the former Sears store in Livingston.