COVID-19 Update from Mayor Manzo – 4/01/2020

Mayor Lou Manzo provides regular updates on the COVID-19 crisis. This is the 4/1 update.

Dear Residents & Business Owners:

Like you, I’ve been watching the national Press Conferences with the President and the Coronavirus Task Force daily. Without question, the prospects of increasing outbreaks and death on a national level have become more significant in recent days. We’ve seen the extension of the social distancing guidelines to April 30th, along with a massive show of support and resources from US corporations. All of this in preparation for the expected surge in confirmed cases of COVID-19.

I have commented a few times that we almost feel like this is not happening in South Jersey, here in Mullica Hill. In reality the increase in cases across NJ are undeniable. So, I will start with those numbers. As of 1PM today, there are 22,255 people who have tested positive, 30,387 negatives with 355 deaths statewide. In Gloucester County there are now 150 positive tests, 855 negatives and 2 deaths, with the second death coming on Monday; a 68-year old male with underlying medical conditions. Though the deceased’s community has not been announced yet, we send our condolences to that community and the family members impacted. Here in Harrison, we now have 7 confirmed cases, 3 coming in the last 24 hours. The 4 newest cases (3 yesterday and 1 on Monday) are 84, 45 and 38-year old females and a 30-year old male. Thus, solidifying the understanding that the COVID-19 virus CAN attack younger people and right in our community.   

If the National Press Conferences are not sobering enough, feeling the spread of this virus locally is starting to set in. Staying home and strictly adhering to the social distancing rules will be the difference between the worse-case projections and the best-case, which still is not good. So, please work hard on sticking to those guidelines and take the necessary precautions when you NEED to be out of the house. And PLEASE keep your children from playing outside with other neighborhood kids. I can’t tell you how many emails I’m still getting from people complaining about that in their neighborhood. 

I’ll end this sobering portion of my update with a visual of the outbreak and where we sit, geographically. These next 2-4 weeks are critical for us in South Jersey as we seek to mitigate the impact here. We can’t stop it, as the visual shows, but we can flatten the impact. The US Map of Coronavirus Hotspotswill show you just how close our location is to the hottest hotspot. 

Ok, the sense of urgency regarding social distancing should be clear. 

Let’s focus on a couple topics connected to people in our community stepping up to make a difference. Military veterans are certainly familiar with stepping up and Jack Sommer, head of our local American Legion Post, issued this release:

In the spirit of Harrison Strong, several local businesses, professional offices and residents have inquired about donating items in support of the Harrison Township First Responder Community. In our continued preparation to defend against COVID-19, we have established a collection site at the American Legion Post 141 N. Main Street and have begun receiving critical items for our First Responders.  

If you can provide or donate any of the following, or have questions, please contact Jack Sommer, American Legion Post 452, Adjutant/Harrison Township Veteran’s Commission at 856-261-7862 or [email protected] and arrangements will be made for drop-off.

  • N-95 Face Masks (Small: Kimberly Clark or 3M1860. Regular: Kimberly Clark model 46727 preferred, but will take any)
  • Non-Latex Gloves (all sizes)
  • Red, Purple and Orange Top Disinfecting Wipes (Red: PDI – standard disinfecting wipes, Purple: alcohol-based disinfecting wipes, Orange: bleach wipes)
  • We are all in this together, as Harrison Township residents – but more importantly as Americans. Please stay safe. 

Thanks to Jack and the crew at the American Legion for everything they do and willingness to engage.

Lastly, something for the kids considering Easter is coming and we obviously had to cancel our annual Easter Egg Hunt. Local business owner, Kristen Nicotra, of K Artocin Photography took it upon herself to find the Easter Bunny. In conjunction with Spirit Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Swedesboro, she has arranged for the Bunny to be driven through neighborhoods in Harrison this coming Saturday, April 4th from mid-morning til late afternoon. Check out her Facebook Page for details and a video. 

As her Facebook Page states, the Easter Bunny will be driven through neighborhoods in an open-air Jeep waving to kids without stopping. There will be no handouts and social distancing rules apply. We encourage you to enjoy this visit from your front step or yard but do not have your kids gather in groups or approach the vehicle. We feel this is a safe way to allow just a few minutes of normalcy for our youngest residents during this restrictive time. We appreciate Kristen’s initiative and we ask you to honor the protocols to ensure we all stay safe.

Tomorrow I will rollout some important information connected to the CARES Act pertaining to the $1200 checks and other economic support resources becoming available in the coming days. Remain Harrison Strong.

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor