MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The following is the daily update from Mayor Frank McGehee regarding the latest developments, Gov. Murphy's orders, and the status of the pandemic throughout the local area and New Jersey:

Good evening fellow residents,

The NJ Department of Health has reported 1,327 confirmed coronavirus COVID-19 cases in the state of New Jersey including 107 in Essex County and 7 cases in Maplewood. The two new cases are a 21 year old male and a 32 year old male. The 21 year old has fully recovered and the family is self monitoring.  

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As with our previous cases, the person’s recent contact history is being investigated by the Maplewood Public Health Division. They are contacting anyone who has potentially been exposed and coordinating with other local health departments and health care providers. 

As more people gain access to testing, we expect these numbers to rise quickly in the coming days and weeks ahead. 

If you are feeling sick with cough and fever, please stay home and call your healthcare provider for guidance on how to manage your symptoms and if you can manage your symptoms (cough and fever) from home, please do so.

If you are a close contact with a suspected or known case of coronavirus and have questions on what to do, please call the Maplewood Public Health Division, (973) 762-8120. You can also call 2-1-1 or the state coronavirus hotline, (800)222-1222.

Governor Murphy’s Stay at Home Order

Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 107 directing all residents to stay at home until further notice. The order provides for certain exceptions, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work, or engaging in outdoor activities.

In an effort to strengthen the existing social distancing measures in place, the order also prohibits all gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events, unless otherwise authorized by the Order. When in public, individuals must practice social distancing and stay at least six feet apart whenever possible, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners.

Governor Murphy’s Executive Order further directs the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public, with the exceptions of:

  • Grocery stores, farmer's markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store;
  • Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries;
  • Medical supply stores;
  • Gas stations;
  • Convenience stores;
  • Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities;
  • Hardware and home improvement stores;
  • Banks and other financial institutions;
  • Laundromats and dry-cleaning services;
  • Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years;
  • Pet stores;
  • Liquor stores;
  • Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;
  • Printing and office supply shops;
  • Mail and delivery stores.

Nothing in the Order shall limit 1) the provision of health care or medical services; 2) access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; 3) the operations of the media; 4) law enforcement agencies, or 5) the operations of the federal government.

The Governor’s order also mandates that all businesses or non-profits, wherever practical, must accommodate their workforce for telework or work-from-home arrangements. To the extent a business or non-profit has employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from-home arrangements, the business or non-profit should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.

Examples of employees who need to be present at their work site in order to perform their job duties include, but are not limited to, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, other first responders, cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, IT maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.

The Order continues existing bans on recreational and entertainment businesses, requirements that all restaurants operate by delivery and takeout only.

The orders shall take effect tonight, Saturday, March 21 at 9:00 p.m.

Finally, a new website has been created that is devoted to the pandemic: covid19.nj.gov/

Test Sites

Two Essex County testing sites, one in Newark and the other in Cedar Grove will open next week. Currently there is a community-based test site open at Bergen Community College on the Paramus Campus located on Lots B & C - 400 Paramus Road, Paramus, NJ 07652.  The drive-through testing facility is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please note: individuals who are not symptomatic will not be tested.  In order to be eligible for testing, individuals must be current New Jersey residents and experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. Priority will be given to symptomatic individuals experiencing cough, fever (99.6F or above) and shortness of breath.

Testing is free and will be covered by the federal government or personal insurance company. Please bring your insurance card if you have one.

The specimen collections will be transmitted to the contracted laboratory twice per day and results will be reported within 2-5 business days.

We want to also inform caregivers of the elderly and/or those who have underlying health conditions as well as healthcare providers who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms can get tested at the site.

Free Resource from Audible

Audible (stories.audible.com) has launched a free streaming offering that allows consumers to listen to hundreds of titles. The title selections are available in six languages — English, Spanish, French, Italian, German and Japanese. Consumers are not required to create an account or log in and listening is unlimited. 

Mayor Frank McGehee