WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Health Department reported on Tuesday that there has been a significant increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases within the township, increasing from five reported cases on Friday to 21 as of Tuesday morning.

According to the West Orange Health Department, two West Orange residents who tested positive have already recovered and have been released. Those residents have not been included in the total noted on Tuesday.

Of the 21 current cases, two individuals are currently hospitalized and 19 are recovering at home, according to the health department. The cases include 13 males and eight females whose ages range from a 15-year-old male who does not attend West Orange Public Schools to a 69-year-old female.

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In a joint statement Mayor Robert Parisi, the health department said the increase is due in large part to “faster testing as well as the recent development of the private labs—Quest Labs specifically—reporting directly to the Communicable Disease Database.”

“This development was anticipated, and the township is working each confirmed case,” the mayor and health department said. “As required by protocol, once an individual is identified as a case of COVID-19, dissemination of specific information is prohibited by HIPPA laws…

“These numbers are expected to increase further. Township health professionals are working around the clock to follow up on each case while working to keep residents and township employees as safe as possible.”

Once an individual tests positive for COVID-19, the Public Health Nurse (PHN) is notified either via telephone or the Communicable Disease Reporting System and contacts the individual and interviews them for history, contacts and symptoms. The affected individual is then placed on self-isolation and his or her symptoms are monitored with daily contact from the PHN.

After all at-risk contacts are identified, they are informed that they have been exposed and should self-monitor at home for 14 days while reporting daily to the PHN.

Additionally, if an affected individual is thought to have been in recent contact with a large group of individuals, such as a grocery store or religious service, the public would be notified about the possibility of exposure.

“All residents are reminded to stay at home as much as possible,” the township and health department said on Tuesday. “We are only in the early stages of this shut down, and we should all plan on being home for a while. Read a book, watch a movie, clean the garage or just enjoy your family. Stay home and help to flatten the curve.”

Although the township is not able to release the identity, address, place of work or other personal information of any affected individuals, the township is able to release the number of positive cases as well as the gender and age of each patient.

The age and gender of the 21 confirmed cases were reported as follows:

  • 15-year-old male
  • 21-year-old male
  • 40-year-old male 
  • 40-year-old female
  • 42-year-old female
  • 42-year-old male
  • 47-year-old male
  • 47-year-old female
  • 50-year-old female
  • 51-year-old male
  • 52-year-old male
  • 55-year-old female
  • 57-year-old male
  • 57-year-old male
  • 62-year-old male
  • 63-year-old male
  • 63-year-old male
  • 64-year-old female
  • 65-year-old male
  • 69-year-old female
  • 69-year-old female

All Township of West Orange municipal buildings have been closed to the public until further notice, although departments will remain staffed to ensure the continued delivery of essential services. CLICK HERE for the West Orange Township Department Directory.

The township also remains under a local "State of Emergency," and only essential businesses will continue to operate. All non-essential businesses that cannot operate remotely from home locations have been closed. 

"Essential businesses" have been defined as:

  • 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; and 
  • Mail and delivery stores.

The township will continue to assist the senior community with resources, provide access to emergency food supply and support those with limited ability to secure needed groceries or other supplies by connecting them with volunteers. Residents counting on these services should call 973-325-4105.

The Commuter Jitney will also remain open at this time to accommodate those residents that work in areas considered essential services. Riders should monitor for additional updates. 

Regular garbage and recycling services and schedules will also remain unchanged.

The New Jersey Department of Health Novel Coronavirus Call Center can be reached at 800-222-1222 (or 800-962-1253 for non-New Jersey numbers) and can accommodate callers in multiple languages.