SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — Here is the letter issued by Health Officer John Festa to residents of South Orange today:


In partnership with the New Jersey Department of Health, the Township of South Orange Village Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Management continues daily monitoring of communicable diseases within our community, county and state. We are currently monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will continue to provide updates as they become available. 

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Please note: All tests for COVID-19 must be obtained through your primary physician. As availability of diagnostic testing for COVID-19 increases, clinicians are able to access laboratory tests for diagnosing COVID-19 through clinical laboratories performing tests authorized by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Clinicians are also able to access laboratory testing through public health laboratories in their jurisdictions. There is no need to notify the local health department if you feel that you have symptoms. 

Governor Phil Murphy has recommended the cancellation of any public gathering of more than 250 individuals. 

On March 11, the World Health Organization made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. 

A pandemic is a widespread infectious disease, that sickens a large number of people worldwide.

Some things we can be doing before a pandemic begins can include: 

  §  Stocking up on a two-week supply of food and water 

  §  Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home 

  §  Have non-prescription drugs and other health supplies on hand including pain relievers/fever reducing medications, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins, tissues. 

  §  Stock up on household supplies such as toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, etc. 

  §  Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other sources and store them for personal reference. 

  §  Have pet foods and supplies. 

  §  Stock up on baby care items.

  §  Plan for extended school and day care closures. 

  §  Talk to your employer about telecommuting opportunities in the event that movement of people is restricted 

  §  Plan for a sick room in the home. Designate one room that would work best, usually a bedroom with its own bathroom that no one else will use. If someone in the home becomes ill, keep them in the sick room away from others. 

· There are 29 presumptive positives in New Jersey, 1 case has been in Essex County 

·  Seton Hall University has temporarily suspended classes 

·  John Hopkins University Coronavirus Map