ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — The coronavirus continues to take a grim toll on Essex County, impacting local businesses and schools in the region, according to updated state data (see town-by-town update below).
The state Department of Health's most recent "COVID-19 Activity Level Report," which is issued weekly, says Essex County is in the “red zone” for coronavirus cases.
Essex County reported a 10-month total of 47,699 cases on Saturday, an increase of more than 2,282 from the previous week.
Essex is among a number of counties that have started vaccination programs, announced immunization sites or both. Read more: Updated Information As Essex County COVID Vaccine Sites Announced
The “red zone,” meanwhile, means the daily new COVID-19 virus case rate, per 100,000 people, rose to "very high" in all 21 counties. That means they exceed 25 cases per 1,000 people.
The latest reports say the overall coronavirus activity level also rose from "moderate," or “yellow,” to "high," or “orange,” in recent weeks in all 21 New Jersey counties.
With the rise to a "high" level, state officials said, school districts in those counties may have to take more serious steps — such as quarantining or even shutting down schools — if a child shows the symptoms of COVID-19.
"When it is high-risk, there are some recommendations that we make together with local school boards," said Edward Lifshitz, medical director for the state Department of Health.
Indeed, a number of school districts have shifted to remote instruction as the numbers have risen.
The overall coronavirus risk rose to "high" in each of the counties because:
The new daily case rate in each of the counties rose to 10 or more per 100,000 people.
The percent of COVID-19-like illnesses rose above 5.52 in each of the counties.
The percent of positive cases rose above 10.01.
Essex County officials provided the following breakdown of cases by town:
Cedar Grove 910
East Orange 3895
Essex Fells 115
Glen Ridge 175
North Caldwell 223
South Orange 388
West Caldwell 583
West Orange 2705