Successful Response to Pandemic Pushes Morris County Rate Below State Average

The Morris County Board of Freeholders and county Office of Emergency Management officials released data showing a 95% drop in COVID-19 cases since a devastating April peak and the launch of a highly successful county mobilization of local resources to combat the pandemic spread.

“Looking at this impressive decline in cases, we have to acknowledge the remarkable response coordinated by the county and local emergency and health authorities to this crisis, and the effective impact they have had,” said Freeholder John Krickus, who publicly presented the data at a public freeholder meeting Wednesday night.

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The board emphasized that the results should not be a cause for any residents to stop following safety precautions or guidelines on socially distancing as the pandemic continues. But the board applauded the data, which indicates Morris County went from a daily average of 210 cases on April 13 down to a current daily average of 10 cases.

Recent daily reports have shown cases trending further downward, and Atlantic Health System reported today having only two COVID-19 patients being treated at Morristown Medical Center.

Additonal data and charts are available at:

https://health.morriscountynj.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Morris-County-Covid-Update-082620.pdf

“This is very encouraging data, and a testament to Morris County’s swift and direct response. We immediately worked with local health officials when the crisis began in March, we connected with medical facilities in the area and we brought on more public health staff to meet the challenge – all while managing to keep essential county operations, such as road and bridge repair projects, going,” said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith. “We also established a testing center for our residents, and we expect to continue our testing efforts – expanding into at-home testing as well as establishing mobile testing -- with a portion of more than $7 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) funding secured last week through the Governor’s office.” 

Morris County spent $3.8 million in its response to COVID-19 this past spring without any assurance of reimbursement by the federal or state government, but federal and state authorities are providing a portion of the $7 million in CARES aid to cover the expenses. Another $3.3 million will be used for testing moving forward, until June 2021.

“The county’s objectives were to protect the health of Morris County residents and, in the process, allow for the reopening of businesses and other enterprises ordered to shut down by the Governor. We are please the efforts have been recognized, and that a large portion of the federal CARES dollars will be put toward reimbursement,” said Director Smith.

Through a COVID-19 Recovery Task Force created by the freeholders to address the pandemic’s impact on community-based organizations and businesses, the county announced on August 13 that it would begin to provide infrared thermometers to community-based organizations and faith-based groups for use at gatherings that follow state social distancing and face covering guidelines.

“We began with 300 thermometers, and I’m pleased to announce that, in just two weeks, we have approved 120 of the devices for distribution to a very diverse group of organizations spread throughout Morris County,” said Freeholder Tayfun Selen.  “We will continue to call attention to the program until we get all 300 units out to the groups who request and need them. I also want to say that the Morris County Sheriff’s Office has been an incredible partner, hand-delivering each unit to the community-based and religious organizations who need them.”

To learn more about Morris County’s initiatives to address COVID-19 since February and other significant announcements about the virus in New Jersey, go to:

https://morriscountynj.gov/covidannouncements/.