NEWTON, NJ- The Town of Newton Police Chief Robert Osborn announced coronavirus protocol the department will be following.  In an effort to keep the officers and other department employees healthy they will be doing as much as possible by phone.

“The Newton Police Department  will continue to conduct their duties as first responders to emergent situations while exercising the necessary precautions/protocols related to the coronavirus- to ensure their health and safety,” Osborn said.

The main entrance into the lobby will be locked. Visitors are asked to use the intercom at the door to talk with the dispatcher.  If it is an urgent matter visitors will be let in.  If it is not an emergency visitors will be asked to make a report over the phone.

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Callers to dispatch will be asked to identify whether they or anyone in the home is quarantined. If the matter is urgent, an officer will be dispatched to the home but if it is not an emergency, the  matter will be handled over the phone.

Newton Police Officers will still be the first responders.  If they go to your home and it is appropriate, they will remain outside to talk.

“Please do not be offended if officers ask you to step outside to speak to them,” Osborn said in a statement.

The protocol asks for people who are quarantined to put a note on the front door to alert emergency personnel to take infection preventing precautions.

All records requests will be handled over the phone.

Any resident who is exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus to let Newton Dispatch know. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention the symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • Fever,
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Cough

Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sparta Police will be handling as many issues as possible in the phone.  If officers are dispatched to a home or business they may remain outside, if it is possible and appropriate.

"There is currently no [coronavirus] testing being done in Sussex County,” Trish of the Sussex County Department of Health said.   

Sparta Office of Emergency Management deputy Director Thomas McIntyre said Morristown Medical Center is conducting COVID-19 tests at a drive-thru site on Madison Avenue adjacent to the emergency room.  McIntyre said Newton Emergency Room has set up a temporary unit for screening at the hospital. 

"Anyone with symptoms are being told to self-quarantine,” McIntyre said.

Trish from Sussex County Department of Health said only people with severe symptoms should be tested.  She could not give any information about where people should go to get tested.

An advisory from Sussex County Office of Emergency Management James McDonald on March 18 said they “are working diligently with our local health care providers and the New Jersey Department of Health to expand COVID-19 testing availability in our County.” 

Governor Phil Murphy announce a government drive-thru testing site will open on the campus of Bergen Community College on Friday.  They anticipate opening a second government drive-thru testing site at the PNC Arts Center in Homdel, but the date has not been announced. 

Atlantic Health’s website recommends, “Most people who contract COVID-19 will experience mild symptoms and can self-manage from the comfort of their own homes. The Centers for Disease Control recommends you seek medical advice if you develop symptoms, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently been in an area with ongoing spread.”  

McDonald’s March 18 advisory said, “If you have mild symptoms and no known contact with a confirmed case or travel to a high risk area, you are advised to stay home and follow the guidance of your health care providers. Individuals with symptoms who have a high risk of exposure and have been advised by their health care provider that they should be tested for COVID-19 should self-quarantine until testing can be completed.”

On Thursday night Sussex County Office of Emergency Management announced a fourth person in the county, a Hardyston resident, had tested positive for coronavirus. No additional details were offered.

Wednesday night at approximately 5:50 McDonald put out a statement confirming a person from Frankford Township, Sparta Township and Vernon Township had tested positive. Officials have not released any information about age, gender, occupation or recent travel of the three patients.

Always call 911 for an emergency.  The department phone number for non-emergencies in Newton is 973-383-2525.