WEST ORANGE, NJ — After declaring a “State of Emergency” in the Township of West Orange in order to allow for more flexibility in addressing issues surrounding what he described as a “very unique and very significant issue facing our county,” Mayor Robert Parisi hosted a live press conference on Monday night where he and other local officials discussed the township’s approach to keeping residents safe and informed about the ongoing spread of coronavirus COVID-19.

Parisi also fielded questions from the community alongside West Orange Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Coordinator Nick Allegrino, Senior Health Officer Theresa De Nova, Police Chief James Abbott, Fire Chief Anthony Vecchio and Senior Services Program Coordinator Laura Van Dyke.  

“This process is very fluid,” said Parisi. “This is not something that we are familiar with as a community. There’s been no textbook on how to address something like this. This is not just a West Orange problem; this is something impacting the whole world, and we’re admittedly learning a little bit as we go. We’re taking the best guidance we can from the CDC, from state and county officials, from other local municipalities and counting on our professionals to navigate us through this.”

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The press conference was streamed live on Facebook and can be found in its entirety BY CLICKING HERE.

While standing at the local OEM headquarters, Parisi and his fellow officials took turns addressing how their individual departments are working with state, county and other local officials to ensure the health and safety of West Orange residents.

De Nova spoke about ways for residents to limit their contact with others by explaining when, where and how citizens can pay bills and conduct other official business within the township, while Abbott and Vecchio each addressed how their respective departments are handling the global health crisis.

“This crisis, like every other crisis Americans have faced, is something that I’m confident we’ll get by, and we’ll survive, and we’ll do well, and we’ll thrive,” said Abbott. “But, unfortunately, all crises tend to bring out both the best and the worst in everyone.”

Both stated that local first responders are taking preventative measures to keep themselves safe, but will continue to provide all of their regular surfaces around the clock.

Vecchio also explained that the fire department has not reduced staffing levels, but has adjusted its response guidelines to address any health concerns.

Van Dyke addressed the steps being taken in West Orange to reach local seniors during this time, as Parisi stated that senior citizens are already among the community’s most vulnerable residents and that they are now at an even higher risk.

Allegrino explained how declaring a Public Health Emergency allows the local OEM to increase its response and mitigation efforts in order to “flatten the curve” within the township.

In addition to following the link above, the press conference can also be viewed on TV3/45 on cable TV in West Orange as follows:

  • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18 — 8 a.m. / 4 p.m. / 7:30 p.m.
  • THURSDAY, MARCH 19 — 9 a.m. / 1 p.m. / 8 p.m.
  • FRIDAY, MARCH 20 — 10 a.m. / 3 p.m. / 6:30 p.m.