MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Embrace the new normal — you can get back out in public in small doses and with your mask on. That was Maplewood Health Officer Candace Davenport’s message in speaking to the business owners at last week’s streaming Maplewood Chamber of Commerce meeting.

“We can participate in the new normal of people engaging in everyday activities, shopping, bringing back the businesses, participating in activities, if people wear masks or face coverings and avoid large gatherings" and frequently wash their hands, Davenport said. “I think the more we keep revisiting that and keep enforcing that, it'll become a new norm until we find a vaccine and that comes out."

She shared that Maplewood is beginning a new social media push: #newnormalMaplewood. The Township is using the hashtag “to encourage people to take pictures of themselves wearing their face covering, engaging in normal activities."

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“So we hope that people take pictures at their local businesses and that you'll participate in that as well just to show people, look, this is the new normal." She said she would love to see photos with the hashtag shared on all social media sites. "We want to encourage people to get out there. From a mental health standpoint, it's good for us to see each other. Just we need to practice social distancing, face covering, and be consistent about that.”

At the time of the meeting, Davenport relayed that Maplewood had 367 total cases; in the intervening days, the case load has only gone up by one. The number of COVID-19 deaths in Maplewood has stayed steady for a while at 27, and the positivity rate in Essex County is 1% as of Sept. 15. Davenport said the county rate is not broken down by township.

“We're seeing [more coronavirus] in young adults, those who are working or out in the community,” said Davenport. She said Maplewood follows the national trend in this respect to COVID-19. “So if you're in the 50s to 60s age group, it's actually the sweet spot. There's actually a benefit to being of that age because we're seeing a lot of [cases in] people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and then a few in the elderly population… And we're constantly monitoring it and marking the national trend as well as we move forward."

She shared that Maplewood’s mobile testing site, in partnership with Salerno Medical Associatesand Accurate Labs, is open through the end of October every weekday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Located next to the Office of Emergency Management, parking is in the lot shared with the Maplewood Community Pool.



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