LIVINGSTON, NJ — Although closing schools and other institutions typically provides an opportunity for residents to organize social gatherings such as parties and playdates, the Livingston Police Department (LPD) is urging the community to remember that is not the case when it comes to the current health crisis.

“It is important to practice ‘social distancing’ right now to stop potential spread of the disease,” said Livingston Police Chief Gary Marshuetz, reiterating that federal, state and local agencies have enacted these closings in an effort to minimize or stop individuals from being in close proximity to others. “That means staying away from outside individuals or groups and avoiding social gatherings.”

Marshuetz urges all residents to remember that people with the disease are generally contagious days before they show symptoms and can unknowingly carry the virus to others who are in at-risk situations. Therefore, he said, recent recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should be taken seriously.

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“We’ve been working closely with the office of emergency management, our health department, town leaders, our local hospitals and state and county officials on this situation in an effort to be prepared,” said Marshuetz. “There are still some uncertainties about this virus, but there’s also a lot that we do know—and what we know is the common-sense precautions that are being disseminated to us through multiple sources.

"The virus can be transmitted within six feet through body fluids and also remains on door handles and other hard services for hours or days, so it’s important to yield to those precautions and have limited contact with others.”

As the health and safety of community members is the LPD’s top priority, Marshuetz encouraged residents to refrain from any long-term contact with others but to also check in on their neighbors—specifically those who are at higher risk—to ensure that they have all the supplies they need to self-quarantine.

He also explained that he has prioritized the safety of his officers at this time as well by providing them with personal protective equipment (PPE) and reminding them to use their universal precautions such as limiting contact with any bodily fluids.

In addition to all the health and safety information being shared about COVID-19, residents are also being alerted to possible scams and how to identify them.

According to the LPD, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) has received reports of individuals going door to door and identifying themselves as personnel from the CDC. However, the CDC is not deploying personnel to residences to conduct surveys or for any other reason.

If residents are contacted/approached by such individuals, they are urged not to allow entry or provide any information and to call 9-1-1.

Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has provided these warnings about scammers taking advantage of the recent outbreak:

  • Emails: Residents are urged not to click on any links from unknown sources and to be wary of emails claiming to be from the CDC or other “experts.” Visit the websites of the CDC (cdc.gov) and World Health Organization (who.int) for official information about COVID-19. 
     
  • Cures: As of this weekend, there is still no cure or vaccination for COVID-19. Residents are urged to ignore any such claims or offer to purchase or invest in a cure/vaccination.
     
  • Donations: Residents are also urged to be careful when donating money to any organization or through a crowd-funding site and to ensure that a request is legitimate before donation. Residents should not make donations in cash or gift cards or by wiring money.

The FTC and FDA have identified seven sellers of unapproved and misbranded products that claim to treat or prevent the virus, which can be viewed here. More information is available at ftc.gov/coronavirus.

“It’s important to remember that this is also not a time to panic,” said Marshuetz. “We should all do our best to manage any fear and anxiety we feel.”