FLORHAM PARK, NJ - Florham Park's Chief of Police, Joseph Orlando, has issued the following statement to residents:
I hope everyone was able to enjoy the great weather we had this weekend in conjunction with the opening of Emmett and Volunteer Parks for passive recreation. The Governor stated last week and reiterated in his daily brief today, he would rescind his order to open parks if people refused to comply with the restrictions put in place. Locally, all of our residents were respectful and continued to abide by the Governor’s Executive Orders. For that I am extremely grateful!!
Today the governor closed schools for the remainder of the 2019/2020 school year. Summer programs offered by school districts will continue to be analyzed and the State, along with the local school districts, will have guidance for the same moving forward. I keenly understand the emotional toll this is taking on our children and all of our families, as the father of a graduating senior, I myself am in the same position as many of you. I am confident we will all find ways, individually, to make our children’s memories of this time positive, as we are forced to celebrate their accomplishments on a significantly intimate scale.
I have been receiving reports of residents, not only in Florham Park but also throughout the State, seeking antibody testing in an effort to prove they have been exposed and have beaten the COVID-19 virus. I myself had been seeking antibody testing for my personnel to ensure their safety and the safety of their families. However, I received documentation from the State Health Department indicating they recommend against antibody testing for several reasons. They advised the testing is unreliable, can only tell you if you have been exposed to the virus, does not tell you if you are immune to the virus and provides no indication you cannot be exposed and contract the virus again in the future. Furthermore, I was advised that regardless of the outcome of the antibody test, each individual would still be advised to adhere to social distancing standards and proper hygienic protocols.
Those residents concerned or seeking information about their potential exposure to COVID-19 can now receive asymptomatic testing at the PNC Bank Arts Center (Monmouth County) testing site without a prescription. They open at 8:00am every Monday and Wednesday and have the ability to test 500 people per day; however, the highest priority for testing will be given to health care workers and workers in congregate living settings, symptomatic first responders, as well as to asymptomatic NJ residents who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If you are asymptomatic and do not fall into one of the high-risk categories listed you will still be tested if they have enough tests available.
The Governor issued three new Executive Orders since I last wrote to you. Executive Order 134 referenced flags flying at half-staff on May 1st to commemorate the passing of former NJ First Lady Debby Kean. Executive Order 135 authorized marriage license applications and applications for youth working papers to be accomplished through video conferencing. Executive Order 136 extended some deadlines for DEP reporting requirements. The State OEM Coordinator, who is the State Police Colonel, issued Administrative Order 2020-11 in which he deemed construction of new or additions to existing Religious facilities shall now be considered essential construction projects.
The Governor, in his daily briefing today, stated the opening of parks and some beaches this past weekend was a litmus test for how we will proceed as a State. He indicated the number of daily test positives, hospitalizations and patients utilizing ventilators have all been trending down. For the last week, the number of patients testing negative has exceeded those testing positive for the virus. These are all positive indications we are moving towards a return to normalcy. Please remember the return will be a slow process and your continued support and assistance with adherence to the Governor’s Executive Orders will be a tremendous assistance to everyone.
Thank you all for your continued support. Be safe and well!!
Chief of Police / Deputy OEM Coordinator
May 4, 2020