MILLBURN, NJ — In an open letter to township residents Friday afternoon, Millburn Mayor Jackie Lieberberg announced the discovery of the township's first positive test for coronavirus.
Upon publication of this letter, TAPinto Millburn/Short Hills spoke with Mayor Lieberberg to glean more information regarding the case.
While Lieberberg could not disclose any patient information based on medical privacy laws, citing HIPPA statutes, she did say that the person was being treated and that she was confident that the township acted responsibly and forthright from the very beginning of the process.
“I feel the township is on top of this," Lieberberg said. "We have been talking about this for weeks. We have all the protocols in place. Our office of Emergency Management is ready should any of their needs as a community escalate. I am confident that we are ready to take this on head-on should we need any other developments.”
As part of the measures outlined in an earlier open letter, all non-essential township meetings will be postponed until April 13. Township committee meetings will still go on, but residents are encouraged to view the meetings online at the township's YouTube channel, which can be found here. In addition, Lieberberg said that measures will be taken so residents do not feel as if they are being shut out of the process during this time.
“We are exploring measure where our residents can participate," Lieberberg said. "We’re very cognizant of issues that are being discussed. We’ll try to be limited to those that will not require resident input on an active basis, and we just want to encourage everyone to execute the CDC guidelines; hand washing, social distancing and be mindful of our elders and our older community that may need an extended hand during these trying times.”
As for the educational aspect, Millburn Public Schools have already gone to two weeks of digital learning, following a half day today across the district. The schools will be in a digital learning pattern from March 16 through at least March 27, at which time, they will re-evaluate and decide how to proceed.
As Lieberberg noted, the township has been reaching out and working in close connection with the school district in order to ensure a minimal disruption to student learning routines.
“We have a very strong relationship with our board of ed," Lieberberg said. "And our Business Administrator Alex McDonald and our Superintendent of Schools [Dr.] Christine Burton have been working hand-in-hand to make sure that our response is both united and highly communicated. So I’m highly confident that we are acting in the best interests of our entire community. Our school population, our elderly residents and Millburn/Short Hills collectively.”
Finally, Lieberberg noted that township residents should exercise caution, but not become freaked out by the newest development of a positive test in Millburn Township.
“I think this is a question of being prepared, not panicked, and that’s exactly what the township is engaged in and executing," she said. "I was on a call with Congressman Malinowski, our district seven congressman. Everyone is in close communication. I’ve been on the phone with Essex County as well, so I’m very confident that all the protocols are in place, and we just need our residents to exercise good judgment.”
Lieberberg continued, "This is one of those things where we’re on a day-to-day schedule, and the township’s response will be contingent upon [being] reactive as necessary. But I want to assure all residents that we’ve been proactive in trying to get ahead of and anticipate any issues before they become full-scale. We want to [assure] our residents that we are taking all necessary protocols to [ensure] their safety and their security.”