Andover is hardest-hit
The Sussex County Division of Health reported a significant jump in COVID-19 cases on April 11 when it was notified of 70 additional cases among county residents.
The town of Andover is the hardest-hit of Sussex County municipalities, with 83 of the county's 460 positive cases. Sparta Township, with three times the population of Andover township and 63 positive cases, has the next highest number.
Andover residents account for ten of the county's 26 COVID-19-related fatalities. The average age of these Andover residents at the time of death is 77. Of the last 20 cases reported in Sussex County, 18 were in Andover.
The town of Andover has 4 percent of the county's total population, but 18 percent of positive COVID-19 cases and 39 percent of deaths.
Six additional COVID-19-related deaths were reported in Sussex County on April 11, five of them from Andover Township, including an 84-year-old woman, a 74-year-old man, a 70-year-old woman, a 92-year-old woman, and a 68-year-old man. A 90-year-old male from Newton also died.
It is not clear how many of the deaths are connected to the long-term facility in town, Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation One and Two. A total of 651 people live in these facilities, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.
Last week, state health commissioner Judith Persichilli said she was preparing to transfer residents from overwhelmed nursing homes to those better able to care for them. More than half of New Jersey's nursing homes have COVID-19 cases. Of the 375 nursing homes in the state, 231 have at least one case, Persichilli said.
The breakdown of Sussex County's 460 cases is as follows: Andover Borough (2), Andover Township (83), Branchville Borough (3), Byram Township (21), Frankford Township (20), Franklin Borough (15), Fredon Township (8), Green Township (4), Hamburg Borough (12), Hampton Township (10), Hardyston Township (23), Hopatcong Borough (49), Lafayette Township (3), Montague Township (8), Newton Town (43), Ogdensburg Borough (7), Sandyston Township (4), Sparta Township (63), Stanhope Borough (11), Stillwater Township (0), Sussex Borough (6), Vernon Township (39), Walpack Township (0), and Wantage Township (26).
The health division says it has been working with people who came into contact with these cases. Close contacts are in their homes under self-quarantine and being monitored by the health division staff.
Residents can call the Sussex County Division of Health COVID-19 hotline at 973-579-9488 to speak with a Division of Health staff member or Sussex County Medical Reserve Corp volunteer. The hotline’s hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The New Jersey Poison Control Center and 2-1-1 have partnered with the State to provide information to the public on COVID-19. Residents may call 2-1-1 or 1-800-962-1253 or text NJCOVID to 898-211.
Hopatcong Police report domestic violence on the rise
The Hoptacong Police reported on March 30 that it is seeing a "dramatic rise" in domestic violence.
"As businesses shut down and we dive deeper into quarantine, I understand that cabin fever is starting to set in for some. I also understand that dealing with family sometimes leads to increased tension," said a Facebook post. "With all of that being stated, there is no excuse for violence to occur."
"We understand that the future may seem uncertain or bleak with the COVID-19 virus spreading," the post continued. "Indeed, life will become more difficult as we move forward."
Victims of a current domestic violence incident should not hesitate to call 911 immediately, the police said. Victims may report incidents that occurred at a prior time, when they may have been hesitant to call for help, by calling 973-398-5000.
The police also provided these hotline numbers:
New Jersey Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-572-SAFE (7233)
New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-601-7200
Women’s Referral Central Hotline: 1-800-322-8092
New Jersey Address Confidentiality Program (ACP) Hotline: 1-877-218-9133
Running low on food?
If you or anyone you know is running low on food or supplies, here are some numbers to call:
COVID-19 Hotline and Social Services: 211
West Side United Methodist Church Food Pantry: (973) 398-0846, Mondays and Wednesdays 10 a.m. to noon.
Hopatcong Community Center: (973) 810-3238
Sussex County Meals on Wheels: (973) 383-3123
Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Application opens
The New Jersey Department of Labor is encouraging freelancers, gig workers, and independent contractors to apply for unemployment now while they are waiting for federal guidelines. Your claim likely will be denied, but your ineligibility for regular unemployment is a prerequisite for receiving benefits due to COVID-19. '
Two years of payroll records will be needed to support this application. For more information visit nj.gov/labor/assets/PDFs/NJWorkersFAQs.pdf.
The NJEDA Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Application opens Monday, April 13, at 9 a.m. This program is designed to provide a direct loan of up to $100,000 to New Jersey-based small businesses and non-profits organizations that have been in existence for at least one-year and has less than $5 million in annual revenue.
To see whether you might qualify for this program, use the NJ COVID-19 Business Support Eligibility Wizard at assistance.business.nj.gov.
The Paycheck Protection Program applications are being accepted at SBA approved lenders between now and June 30. However, the process, documentation and timing will vary depending on the requirements of each lending institution. President Trump has asked Congress for an additional $250 billion for the program. The IRS is urging taxpayers to be on the lookout for an increase of calls and email phishing attempts about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. Watch for scammers who may: Emphasize the words “Stimulus Check” or “Stimulus Payment.” The official term is economic impact payment. Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them. Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment.
Low-risk prisoners may be moved
(AP) Certain prisoners deemed low risk could be moved to temporary home confinement or freed on parole because of the spread of COVID-19 under an executive order Gov. Phil Murphy announced on April 10.
State correctional institutions are seeing the disease spread within their walls, the governor said, leading him to sign the order.
The Department of Corrections has had 129 staff members test positive for the virus, along with 20 inmates, according to Commissioner Marcus Hicks. One Corrections official and an inmate have died so far, he said.
People convicted of what Murphy called serious crimes like murder or rape would not be eligible for home confinement or parole.
While the numbers of positive cases and fatalities in New Jersey continue to climb, Murphy said, "good early signs'' were beginning to emerge.