FAIRFIELD, NJ — After the Township of Fairfield announced that three cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID19 (novel coronavirus) have been discovered among Fairfield residents, Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna released a statement on Friday night assuring the community that Fairfield officers “will continue to strive to provide [residents] with the same quick and efficient responses” that the department has always provided.
Although officers “remain vigilant in protecting [Fairfield’s] homes, businesses and families” during this unprecedented state of emergency, however, Manna also reminds residents that officers are not immune to the COVID-19 coronavirus disease and urges residents for their cooperation and understanding.
In order to assure that the Fairfield Police Department can continue to provide the optimum staffing levels throughout the course of this emergency, Manna shared the following changes to operations that have been initiated as of Friday:
- The lobby to the police trailer at the municipal complex is now closed to the public. If you come to conduct business at the police trailers, please call the department’s (973) 227-1400 non-emergency number. As always, if you have a police emergency, dial 9-1-1.
- The Fairfield Police Department will accept reports over the telephone for non-emergencies. Police personnel will screen your call and determine if it is appropriate to take the report over the phone or if a police officer will respond to take the report personally. Police will continue to respond to all emergency calls and other calls where it is determined that a response is necessary.
- The Fairfield Police Department will respond to motor vehicle crashes. In cases of minor crashes, where there are no injuries, damage to the property of a third party, a crash involving a pedestrian or a need for a vehicle to be towed, the officer will provide the drivers with a form that they can send to the State of New Jersey and to their insurance companies.
- At certain times during responses to some calls for service, you may encounter police officers who may be wearing personal protection equipment that may include masks, gloves, eye protection and disposable gowns. Please do not be alarmed. They are doing so for everyone’s protection.
- When dealing with a police officer in person, please try and maintain the six foot social distancing space as recommended by the CDC.
- The Fairfield Police Department has been charged with enforcing the lawful executive orders issued by the Governor of the State of New Jersey which prohibits such things as trespassing in closed parks and recreation facilities and gatherings of people more than permitted by the order. The department is seeking your cooperation in voluntary compliance with these directives as we realize they may be inconvenient. Still it is the law and we will enforce it.
As conditions dictate, these conditions may be enhanced or relaxed, Manna concluded.
The township has confirmed that the three patients are currently under isolation from the public and are being continuously monitored by the local health department as per the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements.
“Household contacts or close contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by our local health department, asked for information and provided with instructions for quarantine and monitoring,” said Mayor James Gasparini, adding that federal and state laws “strictly prohibit the release to the public of private health information of any individual, including the name, address, or any other identifying information specific to those who test positive for COVID-19.”
Although those who have tested positive are currently under isolation from the public, there remains the possibility that others with COVID-19 are not yet showing symptoms. As those individuals are not in isolation, the Township of Fairfield urges all residents to comply with social distancing measures and to monitor themselves for symptoms both for their own protection and for the protection of others.
“Please understand that as testing for this virus increases, so does the likelihood of receiving more positive results,” said Gasparini. “We will continue to update the public regularly regarding the status of cases within the Township of Fairfield…
“Our country and our Fairfield community has been challenged with both manmade and natural disasters, and we have always endured and emerged stronger than before. Our resolve may be tested here, but I know that if we all do our part, we will prevail once again.”
According to the mayor, all elected officials and township employees "remain vigilant and prepared to deal with this pandemic" and will continue to maintain government services for as long as is possible "without putting either the public or our employees at unnecessary risk.