SOMERSET, NJ - A fourth presumptive positive case of COVID-19 was identified Friday night in New Jersey according to a statement from State health officials.

State Government

“My administration is working aggressively to keep residents safe and contain the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey,” Murphy said in a Wednesday night statement following the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 was identified. “We take this situation very seriously and have been preparing for this for weeks. I urge residents to remain calm and use resources from the New Jersey Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to prepare and prevent the spread of infection.”

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The State of New Jersey set up a toll-free hotline number, 1-800-962-1253 for the public to ask questions about COVID-19. This hotline is monitored 24 hours a day and operated by the New Jersey Poison Information and Education System/New Jersey Poison Center. It is staffed with trained healthcare professionals and can accommodate callers in many languages. Additional information can be found at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml or by calling 1-800-222-1222. 

County Government

No cases have been reported in Somerset County according to a Tuesday afternoon announcement from Freeholder Director Shanel Y. Robinson who emphasizes residents' safety is a top priority for the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Somerset County Department of Health.

"The Health Department has the vast experience and skillsets required to monitor and identify all communicable diseases in the community – that’s what they do on a daily basis to keep Somerset County residents safe,” Robinson said. “So, we don’t have to get ready to monitor the coronavirus - we stay ready."

I have called upon the Somerset County Emergency Management Council to expand participation as needed with individuals that have required areas of expertise," she continued. "The Council is comprised of all aspects of county government and partner agencies, including Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital –Somerset, the United Way of Northern New Jersey, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and Corporate partners.” 

Local residents can visit the Department of Health’s website at https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/public-health-safety/health-department/services/disease-prevention/novel-coronavirus-2019-2641, email coronavirus@co.somerset.nj.us or call 908-231-7155 to obtain accurate information about COVID-19 according to officials.

Local Government

Franklin Mayor, Phil Kramer attended an Office of Emergency Management meeting concerning COVID-19, according to a social media post. 

"Thirty to forty people attended including County Health Officer (CHO) Dr. [Namitha] Reddy, Councilman [James] Vassanella, Manager [Robert] Vornlocker, OEM Chairman [John] Hauss, representatives of police, fire, EMS, IT, and Twp department heads. Superintendent of Schools Dr. [John] Ravally was present as a regular member of the OEM," Kramer said in his post. 

Township employees have been emailed policies, and additional public hand sanitizers and other sanitary supplies have been ordered for municipal buildings, according to Kramer. Franklin Township Public Schools, have implemented protocols for "shutting down anything from a single room to an entire school to the entire system," Kramer said. 

Ravally discussed plans on how to monitor the health of those asked to stay home, disinfectant procedures and tweaks to coordination protocols between the school and Reddy, according to Kramer. 

"Our district has emergency plans in place that cover a variety of crisis situations," Ravally said in a Feb. 27 letter to parents. "Should the spread of this virus affect our district in a more direct way, and we are forced to provide an alternative site for instruction while more elaborate disinfection is required, we are prepared and will work with our State and Health departments to implement these plans."

Closing New Jersey’s schools in favor of online/home instruction is one of several measures under consideration by the state Department of Education to help blunt the spread of COVID-19.

Kramer said the township emailed private and public charter schools with guidance and contact information, he also spoke with many of the school leaders and left messages for those who he did not speak to directly. 

Protocols for providing services for quarantined people and engaging the interfaith council for outreach to houses of worship was also discussed according to Kramer. 

TAPinto Franklin/Somerset is independently owned and operated by  Malik A. Lyons FHS Class of 93’ Graduate. 

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