Mercer County officials have finally begun to release information about COVID-19 statistics for all 12 municipalities in the county.
The county sent out a chart in an update Tuesday that lists statistics as of Monday, but does not include COVID-19 related deaths. As of Tuesday afternoon, 25 residents of the county have died and 837 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county, according to state officials.
According to the county chart, as of Monday, Hamilton had the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the county, with 165 cases. Trenton had the second-highest number at 148 cases, and East Windsor was third with 140 cases.
Ewing had 72 cases, West Windsor had 53 cases, Princeton had 41 cases, Lawrence had 37 cases, Hightstown had 26 cases, Robbinsville had 24 cases, Hopewell Township had 33 cases, Hopewell Borough had two cases, and Pennington has one case total as of Monday.
Reporters had asked the county for a breakdown of cases by municipality last month and were told the county was not going to provide it. A spokesman told Planet Princeton on March 25 that the county was directed by the state not to release the information. Yet 19 of the 23 counties in the state have been releasing data by municipality since the outbreak began. Reporters at Gov. Phil Murphy’s press conference Friday asked why some counties were not releasing data and singled out Mercer County. Murphy and the state health commissioner both seemed surprised and said it was up to counties to decide whether to release information and that releasing numbers was not a problem.
A few hours after the press conference, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes issued a statement about releasing data.
“Regarding positive test cases of COVID-19, Mercer County has been releasing only the total number of cases countywide. But the number of positive cases is quickly growing and there is no uniform presentation of data town by town. Some municipalities are offering fairly detailed information including age, gender, and occupation. Additionally, we have heard from a number of constituents who want to know the number of cases in their town compared to neighboring towns,” reads the statement. “At absolutely no time will personally identifying information be revealed. We are making every effort to be transparent while also respecting the letter of the law with regard to individuals’ privacy rights.”