By JOHN T. WARD
Monmouth County has recorded 115 COVID-19 related deaths since the start of the new year, according to data released by the New Jersey Health Department Friday.
Nearly eleven percent of the county’s confirmed death toll from the pandemic, or 115 fatalities, have been reported in the first two weeks of 2021, according to data posted on the New Jersey Health Department COVID-19 dashboard. The county’s pandemic total stood at 1,052 deaths Friday, up 14 from Thursday’s report.
Another 102 deaths in the county were classified as “probable” results of the pandemic, the dashboard indicated.
Statewide, seven percent of the 18,229 pandemic-related deaths have been reported in the first 15 days of the year. The tally grew by 67 Friday.
• Governor Phil Murphy announced Friday that New Jersey has now had 310,595 residents vaccinated against the virus, up 22,755 from Thursday.
In a series of tweets, Murphy also sought to “push back on the false narrative that we’re vaccinating smokers while not vaccinating another group.
“We have a limited supply of vaccines from the federal government – roughly 100,000 additional doses coming in per week,” he wrote. “Our first priority must be to vaccinate those at higher risk due to age or other health factors that put them at a greater vulnerability for severe COVID… Smoking puts someone at a higher risk of a more severe case of COVID. In this, we are in agreement with @CDCgo guidance.”
• Residents and workers at United Methodist Communities at the Wesleyan, a senior retirement facility in Red Bank, received their first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from Walgreens Pharmacy staffers Wednesday.
Some residents ” shed tears of joy,” Wesleyan spokesperson Jan Carrato. The second doses are scheduled for February 3.
• News12 ‘Positively Jersey’ reporter and Red Bank resident Brian Donohue produce a video feature this week on the borough-based Stephy’s Place, a nonprofit grief counseling service that is now helping locals who have lost loved ones to COVID-19.
The organization was created by Shelia Martello in 2016, 15 years after she lost her husband, Jim, in the September 11, 2001 attacks. She told Donohue there are parallels to today. In the aftermath of the attacks, “some people didn’t have funerals. Some people didn’t have bodies. When you don’t do that, it’s harder to grieve,” she said.
The video is here.
• In their daily update Friday, Monmouth County officials reported these cumulative cases by town:
|January 14||January 15|
|Spring Lake Hts||240||244|
|West Long Branch||712||722|
If you value the kind of news coverage redbankgreen delivers, please become a paying member. Click here for details about our new, free newsletter and membership information.