COVID deaths in Essex County continue to rise

Photo Courtesy of CDC
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depicts coronavirus. The spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion when viewed electron microscopically, which gives the virus its name.

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — As New Jersey continues its statewide lockdown to stem the tide of the novel coronavirus, the state continues to see more and more confirmed COVID-19 cases and COVID-related deaths. As of April 14, according to statistics from the state, New Jersey has had 68,824 confirmed cases and 2,805 deaths. All in all, health agencies across the state have reported administering 128,604 COVID-19 tests.

As of 9 a.m. on April 14, according to statistics from Essex County, there have been 8,181 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Essex and 533 deaths related to it. Essex County Office of Public Information Director Anthony Puglisi noted, however, that the number of infected individuals is likely much greater than indicated, as this data includes only those who have been tested and whose lab results have been reported in the state’s data system.

According to the statistics from the county as of April 14, Belleville has seen 508 cases and 27 deaths; Bloomfield has seen 505 cases and 25 deaths; Caldwell has seen 64 cases and four deaths; Cedar Grove has seen 153 cases and 15 deaths; East Orange has seen 813 cases and 45 deaths; Essex Fells has seen 17 cases and one death; Fairfield has seen 71 cases and five deaths; Glen Ridge has seen 27 cases and four deaths; Irvington has seen 667 cases and 48 deaths; Livingston has seen 297 cases and 30 deaths; Maplewood has seen 149 cases and six deaths; Millburn has seen 94 cases and three deaths; Montclair has seen 252 cases and 26 deaths; Newark has seen 3,015 cases and 175 deaths; North Caldwell has seen 30 cases and one death; Nutley has seen 279 cases and 20 deaths; Orange has seen 413 cases and 21 deaths; Roseland has seen 46 cases and six deaths; South Orange has seen 58 cases and three deaths; Verona has seen 72 cases and five deaths; West Caldwell has seen 108 cases and 11 deaths; and West Orange has seen 543 cases and 52 deaths.

In just one week, according to the county statistics, Bloomfield saw an increase of 201 cases and 11 deaths. While the state’s data system has recorded 505 confirmed cases for Bloomfield, Mayor Michael Venezia wrote in an April 13 statement that the township has 516 confirmed cases.

“Sadly, we have lost 25 residents. We also lost a true gem to our town, the owner of Brookdale Tavern and Kitchen,” Venezia wrote, referring to William Ricigliano, 63, who died April 13 from COVID-related complications. “If you didn’t know Bill, please take a few moments to read the many touching posts dedicated to him today.

“What we are doing is working; we can’t take our foot off the gas yet,” Venezia continued. “For all my sports fans, it looks like we are in the third quarter. Practice social distancing, wash your hands, do all you can do to flatten the curve and stay home! Assume everyone has COVID-19 and don’t take it for granted that you aren’t having any symptoms. We are all in this together. The quicker everyone follows these guidelines, the quicker we’ll get back to normalcy. We can do this.”

In the past week, East Orange saw an increase of 309 cases and 30 deaths, according to county statistics. In an April 13 statement, Mayor Ted Green thanked area hospital workers, saying he was “proud to salute the entire staff of East Orange General Hospital.”

“East Orange, this is scary for all of us,” Green wrote. “I know we want to get back to business as usual, but we will never get there unless we stay home and keep our distance from one another. We have got to practice the guidelines that have been put in place. That is the only hope we have right now to flatten the curve.”

According to the county statistics, Glen Ridge saw an additional four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past week and three deaths. An April 14 post on the borough’s Facebook page read: “Our community cannot be divided, only rearranged. The end result looks different but still feels unified and full of love.”

In just one week, Irvington, according to county statistics, has seen an increase of 258 cases and 27 deaths. Irvington, along with Orange, East Orange and Newark, is participating in Operation Lockdown to keep residents at home and nonessential businesses closed, all in the hopes of reducing the spread of the virus.

“We are committed to do what we need to do to keep our residents safe,” Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss said in an April 13 interview. “The vast majority of our residents follow the rules, but those who don’t will need to appear in court and explain themselves and/or pay fines. COVID-19 is devastating our community and we all need to work together to make sure we get through this as one township, one county, one state, one country and one world.”

Maplewood has seen 50 new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths in the past week, according to county statistics. According to Mayor Frank McGehee, as of April 13, 36 people of the 149 confirmed cases have now fully recovered. In addition to mourning the loss of six Maplewoodians, McGehee urged runners and joggers to be smart when outside.

“Runners need to practice social distancing,” McGehee said. “Social distancing is 6 feet when running by or next to other residents exercising, walking or biking. Also please strongly consider wearing a mask. Please see the CDC recommendation regarding the use of cloth face coverings.

In just one week, according to county statistics, Orange has seen an additional 164 cases and eight deaths. Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren recently announced that, following the trend of many other municipalities, such as Bloomfield and South Orange, Orange Police and Fire departments are available to surprise children ages 10 or younger celebrating their birthdays in April with mini-parades in front of their homes. To request a parade for your child, contact Sgt. Gerard Stefanelli at at least three days prior to the birthday.

“Due to the level of need, I have established a Coronavirus Legal Guidance help desk to provide direction on the federal and state laws that have been passed to give economic relief. You may call the Coronavirus Legal Guidance help desk by calling 973-280-1621, and a volunteer attorney will respond to your inquiry,” Warren said.

According to county statistics, in the past week South Orange has seen 15 new cases and the number of deaths rose from zero to three. “I ask we all continue to pray for the families, friends and colleagues who are grieving the loss of their loved ones,” South Orange Village President Sheena Collum said on April 10.

And West Orange, in the past week, according to county statistics, saw 200 new cases and 39 deaths. An April 14 update from Mayor Robert Parisi, however, puts the number of confirmed cases at 585, 42 more cases than the state system reports. According to Parisi, 24 individuals who tested positive have fully recovered.

By far the toughest single day for our community dealing with this crisis. There are 20 new COVID-19 related deaths to report today, bringing our township total to 52 residents and neighbors that have perished as a result of this virus,” Parisi said on April 14. “The township offers deepest sympathies to all the families. There are 31 additional cases since yesterday, bringing the West Orange total intake of cases to 585. Twenty residents remain hospitalized, and, of them, six are in ICU.”