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The Wrap: Covid, Vaccinations, Summer, and Crime

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Get ‘The Wrap’, our take on the news of the week,in your inbox every Monday.Sign up at https://bit.ly/HeraldWrap.  Learn more about J. Byrne Insurance.
April 5-11:
Covid Numbers Improve
Here is what you need to know about the numbers this week:
The county passed a new threshold, with over 8,000 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, which stands at 8,120.
Three new fatalities were reported, pushingthe totalto199.
The county saw six new nonresident cases, bringing the total nonresident active cases to eight.
Long-term care facilities remain at zero active cases.
Vaccinations Grow
The county’s vaccination numbers continue to grow, with over 42,000 doses administered. The state dashboard shows 31,000 county residents are fully vaccinated. In the county, from all locations, 58% of the doses administered are Pfizer, 38% Moderna, and 4% Johnson & Johnson.
The COVID Act Now tracking website shows the county’s infection rate below the 1.0 threshold, at .89. The positive test rate is higher than desired, at 10.3%. 
The only factor causing the website to list the county as high risk is the fact that the daily cases rate remains above 25 per day per 100,000 of the population. That number is trending down, as the vaccination statistics increase.
Other Covid-related News
Many municipalities reverted to in-person meetings of local government bodies. Limits on indoor gatherings means that virtual access remains a popular avenue for public participation.
The Atlantic City megasite has appointments available, according to a press release. State data shows that local pharmacies have the highest percentage of unused doses, making these locations promising for appointments, even if their enrollment sites add to the frustration.
The state announced funding for art and culture venues and performance forums, which were devastated by gathering restrictions put in place to battle the pandemic. 
The state also announced new travel guidelines.
Gov. Phil Murphy said the state would make $35 million in federal Covid relief for restaurants and similar food and beverage businesses available.
Beginning April 19, all individuals 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine. 
Problems at a Johnson & Johnson vaccine manufacturing plant, in Baltimore, Maryland, may temporarily impact dose distribution numbers, as the eligibility pool expands.
Towns Prepare for Summer
This is the time of year when towns begin preparing in earnest for the fast-approaching summer. Municipalities must, once again, factor Covid into those plans.
This year is an off year for federal beach replenishment projects, with several municipalities moving sand through back passing operations to aid beach areas that suffered a loss of sand through erosion or storm activity. 
Stone Harbor is trying to offset beach damage in its southern end, but the borough has limited sand available to redistribute.
In Cape May, officials continuedsupporting local restaurants and bars hampered by restrictions, but they did so while also placing new limits on open consumption of alcohol, pulling back on relaxed regulations approved in 2020.
Intending to prevent widespread use of marijuana on beaches and other public spaces, towns are imposing strict ordinances banning such activity, even while some are working through the issues related to potential cannabis businesses in the county. 
Middle Township, Stone Harbor, Lower Township and Cape May took action this past week to prohibitmarijuana smoking in public areas.
Wildwood Crest was cited by the DEP for beach patrol storage activities that the agency said disrupted protected dunes.
Throughout it all, budgets remain a required focus of activity, with Wildwood Crest adopting its 2021 budget, Middle Township set to introduce April 19, Cape May announcing water and sewer rate increases, and Lower Township delaying its budget process while waiting for a state ruling.
Meanwhile, Middle Township also took steps toward approving a set of zoning changes recommended in its recently adopted master plan reexamination report.
Crime Watch
An Ocean City police officer was charged with sexual assault of a juvenile. The alleged relationship between the 50-year-old police officer began when the former Ocean City High School student, now 20, was 15.
A 28-year-old Court House man was arrested for allegedly stealing guns and sports memorabilia. The stolen goods were recovered.
Middle Township police are searching for three people involved in am April 8 stabbing. A 22-year-old Court House man, who was stabbed in the back, was transported to Cape Regional Medical Center for treatment.
A retired Warminster police officer was arrested and charged with sexual abuse of four teenage boys while he resided in Pennsylvania. The arrested former officer is a Court House resident.
A Court House man was identified as the civilian fatality in a Buena Vista officer-involved shooting.
And…
A 10-year-old Sea Isle City resident raised over $12,000 for local charity events.
County Sheriff Robert Nolan continues his fight against state-imposed restrictions on the level of aid his department can offer federal immigration officials.
Lower Township outsourced the task of tracking down short-term rentals that are operating without the required mercantile license.
The state launched abeta police use-of-force dashboard, which is available for public queries. 
For Cape May County, 65 incidents covering officers from eight of the 11 county municipal departments appear in the dashboard, as of April 11.
Spout Off of the Week
Lower Township – In response to the spouter about being denied to go to tech. One spouter wrote that algebra was needed for skills to get a job. What about those students that do well with hands on and learn a trade. We now don’t have enough trades people to do certain jobs. The tech and lower high school should be providing this type of education instead of requiring them to take classes that are not relevant. How about life skills so they can function as adult. More pressure should be put on the vocational school to provide this type of education so our students don’t fail and they stay here in the county.
The state saw a significant increase in cases with the B.1.1.7 variant. In Cape May County, the number increased, from 18 to 22 cases.
The number of new cases this week fell by 19%, compared with the previous week – now at 272, which is the lowest active case total since Nov. 4.

Spout Off

West Wildwood – Restaurants have come up with a fancy name for increasing prices. It’s called “Dynamic Pricing.” They plan is to raise prices during peak hours such as lunch time. 12-1 pm and dinner time, 5-7 pm…

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Avalon – House Speaker Mike Johnson & 125 House Republicans Backed Bill That Could Have Banned IVF Procedures Nationwide In January. Introduced in January, the Life at Conception Act, which is similar to…

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Avalon – Google Earth is a great tool to see which mansion owners in the dunes of Avalon are cutting borough trees and infringing on the dunes themselves. There have been a lot of trees felled.

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