May 18, 2020 Governor of the State of New Jersey
The Honorable Phillip D. Murphy
P.O. Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625
Dear Governor Murphy,
I just saw a listing of all 556 towns in New Jersey organized by per capita rate of infection. Lincoln Park was number 25 on that list…meaning that 531 towns in NJ have lower infection rates than we do. I saw this and wanted to figure out exactly what that means and are we really that “bad” in Lincoln Park?
I know that infection rate may not be the best way to monitor our effectiveness in responding to the disease, but it was the basis of the listing, so it is what I will use.
Lincoln Park by the numbers….
Lincoln Park currently has had 315 positive cases in town (156 from long term care facilities). The number of “RECOVERED” cases and the unfortunate deaths due to the disease (nearly all deaths being from long term care) number 293. The result is that at this moment in time Lincoln Park – the 25th WORST infection rate in the state of NJ – has 22 positive cases in a population of nearly 11,000 citizens. Further, 12 of these remaining cases are in long term care, which leaves a total of 10 confirmed cases in our general population.
Some other numbers…
New Jersey as a whole has been on a declining rate of positive tests (even as we test more) almost every day since our peak in mid-April. Northern NJ, where we are located, has the sharpest rate of decline over that same time.
As of this morning there are 819 people on ventilators in the entire state of NJ.
Every death is an unfortunate one…at any age…and for any reason. Statistically in NJ, 80% of the COVID-19 deaths have been our residents over 65 years old. 50% have been those over 80 years old. Only 4% of the total deaths have been under the age of 50.
95% of all deaths in Lincoln Park have come from residents of our long term care (LTC) facilities. Over the last 10+ days, there has only been one death from LTC, so it appears even the most vulnerable population in Lincoln Park are now recovering from the disease at greater rates.
The NJ COVID-19 dashboard and the NJ Hospital websites lists and totals number of positive cases, number of deaths, and number of tested individuals in NJ. These categories are reported as a cumulative total since the onset of the emergency in early March. Hospital discharges, however, are only totaled and reported over the last 24 hours. Today’s snapshot is presented like this…
Total Cases: 145,089
Total Deaths: 10,249
Hospital Discharges: 333
The “bad” statistics of total cases and deaths get added up each day and reported as a total of almost 10 weeks of data to date. The “good” stat of hospital discharges – the one we have been told may be the most important one to allow us to commence the phases of recovery – are only shown for a 24 hour period????????????????
Lincoln Park, with our 25th worst infection rate in the state is basically closed down at this moment in time for 10 positive cases in our general populace.
I am not discounting in any way the measures the state of New Jersey has taken to protect its citizens. I fully believe that your recommendations have allowed us to achieve the gains we have made. The success has been so great, in fact, that the goal of flattening the curve was achieved. The residents of the Great State of NJ stepped up and took responsibility to follow isolation and stay at home recommendations. Our businesses closed because, as bad as it was for them, it was the right thing for the community. Our children learned a new way to learn and our teachers taught in ways they were never prepared for. The men and women of our healthcare system may have been strained and overworked, but they were not overwhelmed.
Governor, it is time to reward New Jersey for the sacrifices and the efforts we have made. We need to get our communities back to normal. Not immediately, not without a plan. I appreciate the actions that you have made over the last two weeks. I respectfully ask that you continue moving ahead with the reopening…not “too fast” as the media likes to say, but certainly as fast as safely possible.
Governor, I am proud of all of us in New Jersey and especially in my Lincoln Park Community with regards to how well we have handled this emergency….and I think the numbers prove it.
Very truly yours,
Dr. David A. Runfeldt
Mayor, Lincoln Park Borough