Day: March 19, 2020


March 19, 2020

MERCER COUNTY, NJ — In light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes wants residents to be aware of “Register Ready,” New Jersey’s statewide Disability and Access and Functional Need (DAFN) registry.

This free, secure, voluntary database allows New Jersey residents with disabilities or access and functional needs, and their families, friends, caregivers and associates, an opportunity to provide  information to emergency response agencies so responders can better plan to serve them in a disaster or other emergency.

“Arming emergency responders with this information could be lifesaving in a situation where every second counts,” Mr. Hughes said. “The information is confidential and will only be used for emergency response and planning.”

People are encouraged to register if they have a physical, developmental, cognitive or behavioral impairment, language barrier, or transportation challenge that may make it difficult for them to safely shelter in place or evacuate in a disaster. Registrants will receive disaster preparedness information, assistance registering special needs and alerts for emergency situations. Go to:; or telephone 2-1-1 (within New Jersey) or 877-652-1148 toll free (TTY/ TDD and translation services available).

Have general questions about COVID-19? — The NJ Poison Control Center and 211 have partnered with the state to provide information to the public on COVID-19. Call 2-1-1 or call (24/7) 1-800-962-1253; or text NJCOVID to 898-211; or text your ZIP code to 898-211 for live text assistance; or visit for additional information.

Coping with Stress. Stress and anxiety are real emotions during unsettling times. The Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health offer good advice on how to deal with heightened emotions. If you or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, call the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (TTY 1-800-846-8517). 

For handouts and posters on the coronavirus to share with your coworkers, family and friends, please visit the CDC at:

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Ocean County Health Department Reports First COVID-19 Death And 48 Cases

March 19, 2020

4:30 pm update: 48 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases In Ocean County

OCEAN COUNTY, NJ — It is with great sadness and our deepest condolences to the affected family and friends that the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) is reporting our first COVID-19-related death in Ocean County. This is the ninth death in New Jersey since the COVID-19 outbreak began in late 2019.
The Ocean County Health Department is not releasing the individuals municipality of residence at this time. The decedent is a person who was high risk based on age with underlying medical conditions.
Please look for daily COVID-19 case counts at beginning on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 4:30PM. The OCHD website will be updated each evening with updated statistics as we learn them.

Covid-19 Total Cases (48) In Ocean County:

Total as of Thursday 3/19/2020 at 4:30pm

Town NameNumber of Cases
Barnegat Light0
Bay Head0
Beach Haven0
Harvey Cedars0
Island Heights0
Little Egg Harbor1
Long Beach Township0
Ocean Gate0
Ocean Twp. (Waretown)0
Pine Beach0
Point Pleasant Beach0
Point Pleasant Borough1
Seaside Heights0
Seaside Park0
Ship Bottom0
South Toms River0
Surf City1
Toms River4
 Total Positive Cases: 48 

318 New Positive Today and 742 Test Positive For COVID-19 In NJ With 9 Deaths

March 19, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–As discussed at today’s press conference the number of confirmed cases will increase with the increased availability of testing. Please do not travel, practice safe social distancing, stay at home when possible. Everyone must participate to flatten the curve.

We have 318 new positive #COVID19 cases, bringing our total to 742.
• Atlantic: 3
• Bergen: 195
• Burlington: 14
• Camden: 13
• Cape May: 1
• Cape May: 1
• Gloucester: 3
• Hudson: 55
• Hunterdon: 8
• Mercer: 20
• Middlesex: 64
• Monmouth: 43
• Morris: 26
• Ocean: 33
• Passaic: 38
• Somerset: 21
• Sussex: 2
• Union: 29
• Warren: 3
• Under Investigation: 118

As of 11:30 AM, #COVID19 statewide stats:
• Positive Tests: 742
• Deaths: 9

See below for information on a testing site in NJ there should be more opening soon that are closer will post a story on them:

Governor Murphy Announces Opening of COVID-19 Testing Site for New Jerseyans at Bergen County Community College

March 19, 2020

Testing Site Will Open Daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Beginning on March 20Open to New Jersey Residents Experiencing Symptoms of Respiratory Illness

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today announced the opening of a COVID-19 Community-Based Testing Site at Bergen Community College in Paramus. The testing site, established in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will be staffed by the New Jersey Department of Health, the New Jersey State Police, and the New Jersey National Guard. Beginning on Friday, March 20th, the drive-thru testing center will be open seven days per week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In order to be eligible for testing, individuals must be current New Jersey residents and experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. Priority will be given to symptomatic individuals experiencing cough, fever (99.6F or above) and shortness of breath.“Expanding access to testing is critical in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and flattening the curve in New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “I am grateful to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their swift response in fulfilling our request for specimen collection kits and personal protective equipment so that we can successfully offer expansive drive-thru testing in New Jersey.”“It is extremely important that only New Jerseys residents with fever or signs or symptoms of respiratory illness visit the testing location,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. We must reserve our testing capacity for those who are sick and may exposure others.””We are working tirelessly to contain the spread of the coronavirus in New Jersey,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This testing site will be a tremendous asset to our mission and an invaluable health care resource for New Jersey citizens. “The testing of residents is a mission the New Jersey National Guard is ready to assist with in the battle against COVID-19,” said Brig. Gen. Jemal J. Beale, the Adjutant General and Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “Our Citizen Soldiers and Airmen stand ready to serve where ever the Governor needs us.”Community-Based Testing Sites are for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. Individuals who are not symptomatic will not be tested, as it diverts critical resources such as testing kits and laboratory materials from those who are ill. Each site will be provided with an allocation of 2,500 specimen collection kits and Personal Protective Equipment for all staff. The specimen collections will be transmitted to the contracted laboratory twice per day and results will be reported within 2-5 business days. Testing is free and will be covered by the federal government or personal insurance company. Individuals are encouraged to bring insurance cards if they have one. 

Community Based Testing Site Location
Bergen Community College
Paramus Campus – Lots B & C
400 Paramus Road
Paramus, NJ 07652
For more information about Community-Based Testing Sites, visit:

Governor Murphy Enacts Moratorium on Removals of Individuals Due to Evictions or Foreclosures

March 19, 2020

Actions Comprise Protections as Expansive as Any in the Nation; Governor Also Announces New Student Loan Relief Efforts

TRENTON – As part of the continued effort to help contain the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy today outlined a series of steps underway to help aid those in immediate financial need and keep people in their homes during the crisis, including actions to protect residents from eviction or foreclosure that are as expansive as any in the nation.Today the Governor signed A-3859 into law, which explicitly provides authority to the Governor to issue an executive order declaring a moratorium on removing individuals from their homes pursuant to an eviction or foreclosure proceeding.  The Governor then immediately signed Executive Order No. 106, which imposes such a moratorium.  This move will ensure that no renter or homeowner is removed from their residence while this Order is in effect.  These actions come a day after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac would be suspending all foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days.“This outbreak affects all of us and we are all in this together,” said Governor Murphy.  “The steps I am outlining today will help those who are suffering financial harm through no fault of their own continue to stay afloat as we work our way through this. They will also bolster public health by ensuring that residents facing eviction or foreclosure can stay in their homes, protecting them against increased risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.”Assembly Bill No. 3859 was sponsored by Assemblymembers Angela McKnight, Holly Schepisi, and Benjie Wimberly, and Senators Joseph Cryan and Nellie Pou.  The Administrative Office of the Courts also provided helpful guidance on the legislation.“It is unsettling to think a family could be evicted or asked to leave their home due to foreclosure proceedings at this time,” said Assembly SponsorsAngela McKnight and Benjie Wimberly.  We must do everything we can to keep families safe and in a home until we get to the other side of this public health crisis. We will get through this New Jersey.”“This pandemic could have a serious impact on how many of our residents are able to make a living,” saidAssemblywoman HollySchepisi. “Losing income because you are recovering from this illness or staying home because your child’s school is closed should not cost you your home. Together, we will get through this public health crisis.”“I applaud the Governor’s swift action in signing this bill into law in the midst of the expanding coronavirus crisis,” saidSenator Joseph Cryan. “This is a public health emergency that confronts all of us with challenges, especially those who live paycheck to paycheck to support themselves and their families. It would be cruel to allow people to be forced out of their homes due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, such as the pandemic. This is a time to care for our neighbors and fellow citizens.”“As people work anxiously to keep themselves and their loved ones safe in the face of this pandemic, they should not also have to live in the fear of going homeless,” saidSenator Nellie Pou.  “The coronavirus has turned life upside down, shuttered businesses, and left particularly low-income workers wondering how they will make ends meet. I am glad the Governor sees the necessity of this legislation and the relief that this law will give to thousands of scared New Jersey families at this uncertain moment.”The Governor also is asking any financial institution holding residential or commercial mortgages, equity loans, lines of credit or business loans, to implement a process to work with the mortgagors or loan holders to avoid foreclosure or default arising out financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19.The New Jersey Economic Development Authority will continue to lead coordination between the SBA and businesses in our State.  NJEDA is currently in the process of scaling up local technical assistance programs to help New Jersey businesses apply for SBA assistance.  To start, NJEDA has posted additional information about the SBA program on the State’s COVID-19 business portal: those businesses with an immediate financial need, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Gov. Phil Murphy’s request for a disaster designation, opening up access to the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to New Jersey businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for small businesses and private non-profits. These loans provide vital economic support to help overcome the loss of revenue caused by COVID-19.Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is up to 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere. The interest rate for non-profits is up to 2.75%.Loan terms are up to a maximum of 30 years. SBA will determine an appropriate payment based on the financial condition of the borrower, which also will determine the loan term.Details regarding the SBA loan program can be found online at: information on SBA disaster loans can also be found at further aid both homeowners and renters facing hardship, the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency is expanding its Foreclosure Mediation Assistance Program (FMAP) to include renter and pre-foreclosure counseling utilizing a network of participating housing counselors in each county. The counseling is available now and can be provided remotely.Counseling is free of charge.Counselors will provide upfront assistance to help homeowners avoid potential foreclosure. At the same time, the counseling made available to renters will guide them on how to approach discussions with their landlords on dealing with their rent situation.For a list of housing counselors participating in FMAP, visit: the Department of Community Affairs, rental assistance programs continue to operate and fulfill all core business functions, including paying rents to landlords and processing recertifications, income redeterminations, and other core functions. While DCA field offices are closed to the public to observe social distancing protocols, DCA encourages current participants to utilize the online portal at to submit documents, or to submit documents through the mail. Current program participants may email or call the field offices or the customer service line at 609-292-4080 or email: to leave messages with questions. Messages are checked frequently and will be returned as promptly as possible. “Governor Murphy and I understand that this is an extremely stressful time, especially for our most vulnerable residents who are experiencing homelessness or facing eviction,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “We are working diligently at DCA to maintain quality services for the homeless, our tenants, and landlords as we respond to the threat of COVID-19.”DCA has taken a number of actions to meet the ongoing needs of its clients and to curb evictions and homelessness during the state of emergency.  It has:

  • Suspended terminations for non-essential reasons (those not involving violence and/or threats to others) in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP);
  • Extended the housing search period for all current voucher holders to the full 120 days allowed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for those without disabilities or who are not elderly for the housing search period. Voucher holders needing more than 120 days to identify housing may request extensions through the online portal, via phone call, or mail as needed;
  • Prepared to accept from its clients interim income re-certifications due to decreased income from the public and private responses to COVID-19.  Income re-certifications may be submitted through DCA’s online portal and through mail. DCA is providing remote access, if necessary, to key employees to process requests as quickly as possible
  • Continued to offer language access services to clients who need them.
  • In an effort to help keep non-profit service providers viable and operating during this emergency, begun working to provide advances on existing contracts to providers addressing emergent needs.

DCA reminds residents who are in need of emergency housing assistance, please call 2-1-1 .For residents who do not have emergent needs, but would like to find out if they are eligible to apply for any of DCA’s assistance programs, they should visit DCA’s online anonymous screening tool: Residents may also visit (new webpage link) to learn more about our housing assistance programs.Finally, in related efforts to help with the financial cost of COVID-19, the governor announced today the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) will offer assistance to those who need help making regular payments to NJCLASS student loans due to a diminished income.Those directly impacted by COVID-19 can apply for NJCLASS loan relief for temporary disability or unemployment. Applications for these relief options are available at  and addition, NJCLASS borrowers can apply for financial hardship relief. To assist individuals financially impacted by COVID-19 mitigation measures, who are not eligible to receive unemployment or temporary disability assistance, HESAA is requesting borrowers supplement their financial hardship application with a statement explaining how the impact of the COVID-19 virus response has caused their financial hardship. HESSA will review these applications with greater flexibility considering the impact of COVID-19.   The NJCLASS loan application for financial hardship relief is available at of Executive Order No. 106

Hamilton Township March 19, 2020 Update

March 19, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–See below for the latest in Hamilton Township.

As of 4PM, Thursday, March 19, 2020, Hamilton Township has two positive cases of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), a 48 year-old male and a 28 year-old female.  For more information on these two cases and the process which Hamilton Township’s Health Department will follow, please visit InformationWhile our Township Parks remain open, we are strongly encouraging residents to use caution when utilizing playground equipment and continue to practice social distancing, even when outside.Please be advised that as of Thursday March 19, 2020 the Mercer County Board of Elections has postponed all election board worker training classes for the upcoming Primary Election in June until further notice. Please visit the Mercer County Government for future updates.Census 2020The Census 2020 is happening NOW! The census provides critical data that is directly connected to federal funding, the number of seats each state has in the House of Representatives, and is used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.Homes began receiving their invitation to respond to the 2020 Census between March 12-20. These official mailings include detailed information and a Census ID for completing the census online. You can complete your questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail. Visit to begin!

Coping with Social Distancing and Isolation During COVID-19 

Dealing with Stress

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include:

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

 Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.
Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

Helpful Contacts

* Residents with questions or concern about COVID-19 can call 2-1-1. This is to supplement, not replace, the existing COVID-19 hotline, 1-800-222-1222* Text NJCOVID to 898-211 to receive information via text and stay informed through the State* For unemployment, Sick Leave, Family Leave Insurance visit *Additionally, here are phone numbers that may be of assistance at the State level
      * Temporary Disability & Family Leave Insurance 
          Phone: (609) 292-7060     
     * Unemployment       Central NJ Phone: (732) 761-2020 We urge everyone to continue to support our local businesses and merchants, the backbone of our community. Continue to check on the elderly and anyone else you believe might need a helping hand. Stop the spread of germs by remembering to wash your hands and practice social distancing. Together we will prevail, we are #HamiltonProud

Please visit for further updates on this issue

US State Department Issues Global Level 4 – Do Not Travel Advisory

March 19, 2020

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.  Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

You are encouraged to visit to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:

Update: Two Residents of Hamilton Township Test Positive for COVID-19

March 19, 2020

Link to yesterday’s story here

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)– Yesterday, Hamilton Township was informed through the State’s confidential Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System (CDRSS) that two residents have tested positive for COVID-19. A 48-year-old male and a 28-year-old female.  As of this morning, both individuals are in touch with our Health Department, are self-isolating at home, and recovering well. In total, there are approximately 125 residents that have connected with our Health Department due to the fact that they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Yesterday, the Health Department immediately contacted each individual case to begin the “COVID-19 Confirmed Case Interview Form” process.  In this process the individual was asked when they first became ill and track backwards 3 days from that date to the day they were told to self-isolate in order to determine who their close or direct contacts are.  There are approximately 125 individuals who were in close or direct contact with the individuals who have tested positive.  The Health Department is currently in the process of reaching out to these individuals to inform them that have been in contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, a close or direct contact is anyone who was within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more.  After notification, the Health Department will then screen the close or direct contact for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.  The Health Department will then follow a flow chart established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on guidance for how to progress such as the need for self-isolation.  Depending on whether or not the individual who has tested positive is able to self-isolate determines the amount of time the contact must be quarantined.

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.  Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.  Any individual under self-isolation is to monitor their symptoms in case they get worse.  It is recommended that people take their temperature with a thermometer at least two times a day.  If the symptoms become worse, the individual is to inform their healthcare provider.

Our Department of Health would like to remind residents that if you go to a medical facility, be sure to call ahead and wear a face mask.  This information goes for people who are quarantined because they have come in contact with a positive case also.  If you test positive for COVID-19 do not panic.  Many people have mild illness which can be managed at home. 

For general questions about COVID-19 please contact the New Jersey Department of Health’s call center at 1-800-962-1253. The call center is open 24/7 and has multi-language capacity.

Governor Murphy Announces Changes to Upcoming New Jersey Elections in Response to COVID-19

March 19, 2020

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 105, implementing changes to upcoming elections to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that voters can exercise their right to vote without risking their health and safety. The executive order temporarily changes certain election procedures and changes the date of upcoming elections in an effort to protect voters and ensure fairness to candidates during this unprecedented crisis.“As the coronavirus outbreak continues to unfold, we must take aggressive and swift action to help mitigate further spread and flatten the curve,”said Governor Murphy. “My top priority is to keep New Jerseyans healthy and safe during this pandemic, and these new measures will ensure that all New Jersey voters are able to safely exercise their right to vote and be engaged in our democracy.”“Governor Murphy and I fully respect that elections are the foundation of our democracy, but we will not allow our citizens to be put in harm’s way as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “The well-being of our constituents is our number one priority and I support the decision to hold elections currently scheduled for March 21st, March 31st, and April 21st in May.””The actions we are taking today protect our voters, election workers, and election security,” said Secretary of State Tahesha Way. “Postponing these upcoming local elections and rescheduling them on May 12th, when they will be conducted exclusively using vote by mail, will reduce the potential risk to health and safety while ensuring that every New Jersey voter has fair and free access to the ballot box. As we continue to face this public health crisis, our team at the Division of Elections is working every day with our local, county, state, and federal partners to protect New Jersey voters and our democracy.”The Order specifically requires the following, effective immediately:

  • Candidates filing petitions for the March 30th deadline shall be able to submit their petitions online, in addition to in person, and the Secretary of State shall create an online form that allows voters to submit their signatures on petitions electronically.
  • The March 21, 2020 special election in Fire District 1 for the Township of Old Bridge and the March 31, 2020 special elections in the Township of West Amwell and Atlantic City shall be postponed until May 12, 2020, to be held concurrently with the municipal non-partisan elections currently scheduled for that date.
  • The school board elections scheduled for April 21, 2020 shall also be postponed until May 12, 2020, to be held concurrently with the municipal non-partisan elections currently scheduled for that date.
  • All elections scheduled for May 12, 2020, both before and after this Order takes effect, shall be conducted solely via vote-by-mail ballots.

Election rules have been modified during prior emergencies, including by Governor Kean in 1982 during a severe winter storm and by the Christie Administration in 2012 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.Copy of Executive Order No. 105 

Message From Robbinsville Township Mayor Dave Fried

March 19, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–See message below from Robbinsville Township, Mayor Dave Fried:

Let’s start today’s update with some good news.

The doctor at Mercer Bucks Cardiology, who resides in Burlington County and works in Robbinsville, is recovering very well at home and is expected to be cleared in the coming days.

In addition, the one patient he saw on March 3, 2020 who was symptomatic has tested negative for COVID-19, while the more than 20 other patients he came in contact with that day are now safely past the 14-day isolation period with no symptoms.

We have had multiple conference calls with both Mercer County and the State, and it appears the current restrictions will remain in place for the next few weeks at least. Please show compassion to one another. Try to take a moment and not just think, but feel, before responding to someone either in person or online. Everyone is under a lot of stress. Many companies are being forced to lay people off. Others have seen their life’s work already eviscerated. We need to rely on each other now more than ever. If you have the ability to check on a neighbor, please do so – especially our seniors. Please do not hoard products. We have not heard of any supply chain interruptions for basic needs with the exception of those doing the hoarding. Also, remember our local businesses. We need our restaurants to stay open to help with that food chain via pick-up and delivery service. Restaurants closing puts a terrible strain on all of our area grocery stores. If any of your neighbors are in need, help them if you can. If you cannot, please contact the Township.

There is a shortage of emergency supplies for many first responders. Masks are in short supply, so please do not use them unless you are told to do so by a medical professional. COVID-19 test kits are also in terribly short supply. As more wide-spread testing begins over the next few weeks, the number of positive cases will increase. There is no reason to panic. This does not mean the virus is spreading faster than people thought. What it means is more people are being tested. Positive test results are coming back for individuals showing no symptoms whatsoever. That is the reason we must be careful about social distancing, washing our hands and cleaning surfaces that are regularly touched.

As mayor, the Township’s public safety director and as a human being, I am very disappointed at the lack of supplies and testing. I have been asked regularly who is to blame? Frankly, all of us can point the finger at someone. In our desire to get inexpensive products, we have ceded our manufacturing capabilities in the United States to other countries. I truly hope we learn from this and keep some of the much-needed manufacturing in America. But that’s another topic for another day.

If you are not showing any symptoms – a fever over 100 degrees, body aches or sore throat, and you don’t have a note or prescription from your doctor regarding underlying conditions that make you more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19, please do not get tested at this time. Save those tests for those individuals with symptoms – at least until tests become more readily available.

We will get through this. I also know this is very frustrating … for everyone. Many people are afraid for their jobs, their businesses and their families. However, we need to keep our heads and do as we are instructed by safety officials and medical experts. Most of all, we have to stay positive.
Keep going outside. Get your daily exercise. Town Center Lake was busy all day Tuesday and Wednesday with families and friends walking, running, biking and fishing. That’s a great sign!

Be patient with each other and share kind words.
This will pass, I promise, and when it does we will be stronger than we ever imagined because of it.

God bless you all.