OCEAN CITY, NJ — The coronavirus continues to take a grim toll on Ocean City and Cape May County, impacting local businesses and schools in the region, according to updated state data.
The state Department of Health's most recent "COVID-19 Activity Level Report," which is issued weekly, says Ocean City and Cape May County are in the “red zone” for coronavirus cases.
County officials reported a 10-month total of 543 total cases in Ocean City as of Saturday, an increase of 35 from the week before.
Cape May is among a number of counties that have started vaccination programs, announced immunization sites or both. Read more: Updated Information As Cape May Co. COVID Vaccine Sites Named
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.
Here are Cape May County's cases: