The first confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported in New Jersey on March 4 and a short time later, on March 17, we reported the first confirmed case in Randolph. Since that time, 323 Randolph residents have tested positive for the virus. Some have experienced mild symptoms, some have experienced severe illness requiring hospitalization and 21 residents who contracted COVID-19 infections unfortunately passed away. While health experts learn more each day, they still can’t predict with certainty who is more likely to suffer serious consequences from infection with COVID-19.
Throughout this trying time, the Randolph community has stood together to fight this pandemic. Overall, residents have been extremely supportive of one another and have complied with social distancing mandates, stay-at-home orders and the governor’s directives. It has been reassuring to see the decline in cases reported in Randolph over time. Our weekly average of reported cases has dropped from a high of 50-60 in April to an average of 4 cases per week in July. Hopefully, this trend will continue. We know that other states are now experiencing a significant increase in COVID-19 infections and the epicenter has shifted from New York and New Jersey to states such as Florida and Arizona. While New Jersey was hit hard early, we have made great progress. There are many unknowns, though, and it’s uncertain what the next few months will hold.
These past few months have certainly been a unique time for all of us. Everything in our lives has been disrupted – our jobs, schools, businesses, family events and celebrations, leisure activities, vacations – the list goes on. It’s been wonderful to see glimpses of normalcy return recently as some businesses re-open and outdoor dining gives us a chance to get out.
However, as the COVID-19 virus continues to pose a threat to all of us, it’s important that we continue to practice basic social distancing – wearing face masks and maintaining a 6 foot distance from others when out in public. As opposed to national data indicating a higher incidence of the infection in older individuals, 77% of the COVID-19 infections confirmed in Randolph have occurred in individuals under 60 years of age, so we all need to be cautious.
As Mayor of Randolph, I hear from community members every day and I know many are growing frustrated as the pandemic persists. Everyone wants to return to normal. I have heard from residents who are very fearful of contracting the COVID-19 virus and urge caution, and I have heard from others who feel that the virus is not a serious threat to them. I have heard from residents who think businesses are re-opening too quickly and others who think businesses aren’t re-opening quickly enough. While many residents support wearing face masks at all times when not at home, I have heard from residents who don’t believe they should have to wear face masks at all. My point is that there are diverse opinions and feelings among residents, which is understandable.
However, as a community, we are following and enforcing all state guidelines and directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic. While public health officials have always had policies and procedures designed to curb infectious outbreaks, this novel coronavirus is proving to be unique. Our public health experts are learning more about this virus every day and their recommendations have evolved as more information has become available. The changing of recommendations can understandably lead to confusion and doubt, but they are modified based on the most up-to-date scientific information available.
We are truly all in this together. I thank you for the sacrifices you are making and I ask for your continued patience and understanding during this difficult and challenging time. Please wear face masks when out in public and practice social distancing. Stay safe and take precautions to protect yourself, your family and our community.