SOMERSET, NJ – Council began their meeting last night by thanking employees who have stood out in their work with the township’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those recognized received a special mask with the Franklin logo on it for their efforts, while at the same time Franklin and the state see virus numbers continue to rise. 

“This has been a very trying time for all of us and there have been some people who have stood out amongst others,” Mayor Phil Kramer said.

The council highlighted the work of employees like project manager Saffie Kallon, IT specialist Krista Hegedus and John Hauss who runs the township’s office of emergency management. 

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“At the very beginning it was just non-stop and I would have to say a very stressful situation and we learned a lot, we know a lot better what to do now, but at the beginning, it was very difficult,” said Kramer. 

With positive cases rising in the township and around the state many of those recognized last night urged residents to continue taking precautions to slow the spread of the disease. 

“Make sure you’re wearing your masks,” Saffie Kallon said at the virtual meeting. “COVID does not care if you’re red, blue, Black or white.” 

Yesterday Kramer said the township saw 14 new cases, which, excluding an outbreak at one of Franklin’s long-term care facilities, the township hasn’t seen since later May. 

“Please take this seriously. Please. Please. I can’t emphasize it enough. Keep your distance,” he said. “I get COVID fatigue too. There're times I say ‘Please just let it be over,’ but you can’t stop, you gotta keep going. Not only for yourself but your family and to keep the rest of the town healthy.” 

New Jersey reported its 10th straight day of more than 1,000 positive cases yesterday, with Gov. Phil Murphy saying in a tweet that the numbers – rising to a level the state hasn’t seen since May –  are “sobering.”

“We are still in the midst of a pandemic and need everyone to take this seriously,” the governor tweeted yesterday. “Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands.” 

The state’s rate of transmission, an important indicator of if the virus is spreading, rose again to 1.26 yesterday, indicating COVID-19 is spreading in New Jersey. The state’s rate of transmission has been above 1 – rates above 1 mean the virus is spreading while below 1 shows containment – since early September. 

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