By Tyler Barth
COVID-19 is not through with New Jersey yet. After a rather successful summer, numbers are rising across the state, and Morris County is not immune. While the death count remains low, the rising case count has some worried.
Since early September the statewide rate of transmission has remained above 1, indicating the pandemic is expanding.
According to the Morris County Office of Health Management, there have been 10 positive tests in Morristown since Oct. 9, 2020. Morris Township has seen nine positive results over the last week, and Morris Plains, two.
Morris County’s overall case count, as of Oct. 15, stood at 8299, an increase of 197 from Oct. 9.
“We’re not out of the woods just yet,” said Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty during his Oct. 14 update on Facebook. “Don’t take this lightly. Take this very seriously.”
Since schools reopened last month, Morristown High School shut down in-person classes for several days because of an outbreak, and individuals from the Hillcrest and Woodland elementary schools were required to stay home after testing positive.
New Jersey’s daily case count, which leveled off at no more than 400 during the summer, has risen again to nearly a thousand. Oct. 13 had 988, Oct. 14 had 939, Oct. 15 had 971, and there were 823 on Oct. 16.
“As the weather cools, those numbers are not going change themselves, folks,” said Gov. Phil Murphy during his Oct. 15 update. “Only we can change those numbers.”
“We must adhere to public health guidelines to keep our loved ones safe,” said Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli during the same briefing.
Perhaps the most prominent Morris County resident to test positive, former Gov. Chris Christie, apparently nowy shares this sentiment.
Christie, who revealed he’d tested positive on Oct. 3 after what Dr. Anthony Fauci called a “super-spreader event” in the White House Rose Garden, spent a week in intensive care at Morristown Medical Center.
“I was wrong to not wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the President and the rest of the team,” Christie said in a statement after his release from the hospital.
“I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.
“Every public official, regardless of party or position, should advocate for every American to wear a mask in public, appropriately socially distance and to wash your hands frequently every day,” said the Mendham resident, who favors reopening economies nationwide under those guidelines.