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Sept. 13-19:  

Covid

County experienced 18 Covid fatalities in six weeks

For many in Cape May County and across the nation, daily life has resumed in many areas of activity, as if the pandemic was largely over. The numbers this week do not suggest that we have beaten back the virus. The Covid Act Now site still lists Cape May County as very high risk

The weekly county Health Department report shows 291 new cases,which brings the average new cases per day back above 40, at 41.6. Good news in the report is that the rate of transmission remains under 1.0, a threshold health officials desire to be below. Yet, the week brought three additional Covid fatalities in the age range of 46 to 74. That brings the total of fatalities since the Aug.6 report to 18, or an average of three per week. By contrast, from Memorial Day through the beginning of August, there were two county Covid deaths reported.

Vaccinations

Covid Act Now cites the fully vaccinated portion of the county’s resident population at 64%,which may be why we can sustain the sense of limited safety amid rising case numbers and fatalities.Most who are infected are not suffering severe illness as a result, but enough are for the death rate to return to pre-summer levels.

The Kaiser Family Foundation collects data from every state on breakthrough cases where fully vaccinated individuals become infected with thecoronavirus. The data shows breakthrough events for the fully vaccinated are a small portion of total new cases of Covid infection. 

The vaccination rate across the county continues to grow, but at a slower pace. Again, the number of vaccinated individuals grew by less than the week prior, with 409 additional fully vaccinated persons this week. 

Flu,Or,Hiv,Coronavirus,Floating,In,Fluid,Microscopic,View,,Pandemic

Flu or HIV coronavirus floating in fluid microscopic view, pandemic or virus infection concept - 3D illustration

A good sign is that the fully vaccinated rate for adults 18 and older is now over 60% in 15 of the county’s 16 municipalities.  The one exception is Woodbine, at 53%. Municipal level numbers are supplied by the state Covid dashboard.

Unemployment

The New Jersey Department of Labor puts the June unemployment rate in the county at 7.5%. The Federal Reserve says the rate in July was 6.7%. Both numbers are higher than is customary during the tourist season months, but they represent a significant reduction from 2020. 

In July 2020, the rate in the county was 12.7%. A question that needs an answer is whether a potentially large number of individuals who traditionally go on unemployment in the offseason will have worked sufficient hours to qualify.

Business,Illustrative,Concept,Image,For,People,Who,Are,Going,To

Business illustrative concept image for people who are going to apply for unemployment benefits and employment service due to economic crisis.

Preservation

One of the state’s longest civil suitswas settled. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection agreed to pay a developer $19 million for a 100-acre parcel of land in Cape May, effectively keeping the area free from development. It was a big win for preservation,says Concerned Citizens for Sewell Tract Preservation, a local nonprofit that fought against development of the land. The organization’s efforts were funded solely through contributions.

Births 

state report on maternity hospitalizations in 2019, shows that Cape Regional Medical Center had 309 delivery hospitalizations. The report stated that obstetric complications showed either no significant difference compared to the overall state rate or had bettered it for a variety of outcomes. 

One intriguing statistic in the report is that 63% of the insurance coverage was through Medicaid, a much higher rate than either Shore Medical Center or AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.

Crime

Cape May police arrested four Pennsylvania men in connection with an aggravated assault that left the victim requiring treatment at the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Trauma Center.

A Court House man allegedly assaulted a juvenile on a Wildwood Crest beach. While being taken into custody,police said he resisted arrest, with an officer sustaining minor injuries.

The body of an 18-year-old woman last seen in July was discovered in a wooded area in Whitesboro.

Responding to a home invasion robbery, Wildwood police recovered a loaded 9mm handgun.

Blue,Light,Flasher,Atop,Of,A,Police,Car.,City,Lights

Blue light flasher atop of a police car. City lights on the background.

A mother called county dispatch saying that her husband was armed and had driven off with their three children all under age 5. After a pursuit on the Garden State Parkway and subsequent remote surveillance, the man was taken into custody. The children were unharmed.

Lower Township announced a plan to increase camera surveillance at municipal parks as an added security measure. 

Happenings 

New Jersey began to phase out its eviction moratorium, as the state judiciary implements new rules to deal with thousands of eviction cases filed with the courts. Some households will keep their eviction protections longer than others depending on household income.

Middle Township continues to participate in court-directed mediation with the Fair Share Housing Center over the development of a municipal plan that will create reasonable opportunities for meeting its affordable housing obligations.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the establishment of a Wealth Disparity Task Force charged with examining and developing strategies to deal with income and wealth inequality in the state.

John Wesley United Methodist Church conducted a historic African American cemetery tour, as part of its ongoing 180th-anniversary celebration.

Cape May County officials hosted a ceremony to remember the attacks on the twin towers on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

A sitting member of Cape May City’s governing body pleaded guilty this week to two indictable offences - stalking and contempt of court. An indictable offense is New Jersey’s term for what many states call felonies. Sentencing is scheduled in January.

Spout Off of the Week

North Wildwood -The average cost to hospitalize a Medicare beneficiary with Covid-19 is $21,752 over an average stay of 9.2 days, according to research published in August in the Annals of Internal Medicine. That's approximately 145 times the cost of vaccinating a Medicare beneficiary.

Read more spouts at spoutoff.capemaycountyherald.com.