Essex County is reporting another death in Verona related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That brings Verona’s total to 20 since the county began releasing statistics on the virus in March 2020. The county does not identify the deceased or provide information on the COVID variant implicated in the person’s death or the person’s vaccination status. Verona’s previous COVID death was reported on December 15 and publicly disclosed by his family. Henry Orenstein was a Holocaust survivor who turned a Japanese toy into Hasbro’s Transformers and later revolutionized television coverage of poker tournaments.
Deaths from COVID in Essex County have fallen sharply since treatments and vaccines became widely available. While COVID has surged here this winter, there have been only 51 new deaths.
Verona continues to record a large number of COVID positives: 239 new cases just since January 1, after finishing December with the third-largest percentage increase in positives in the county. Essex County cautions in its daily report on the virus that the number of infected individuals in any municipality is likely to be much greater than
indicated because its data includes only people whose test results have been reported to the state. Most at-home testing kits do not include reporting.
According to the COVID dashboard maintained by Verona’s public schools, 81 individuals in the school population were in quarantine for the virus as of yesterday, January 5. The district reported 18 positive cases of individuals who had been in school during the contagious period and 180 positives among people who had not been in school during the contagious period. Verona schools have been on a half-day schedule this week because of the potential for increased transmission and infection and Interim Superintendent Dr. Lydia Furnari said at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting that she would be providing an update on the school schedule today.
Verona’s vaccination rate has barely budged since the latest surge, rising only to 76% from 75% since early December, according to the state COVID dashboard.