WESTFIELD, NJ — Two more Westfield residents have died from the coronavirus, COVID-19, the mayor said Tuesday night, bringing the number of fatalities in town to five.

“I’m saddened to report that two additional fatalities — a 94-year-old female and an 84-year-old male — bring the total number of deaths in Westfield to five,” Mayor Shelley Brindle said in a statement. “Let’s keep the families of these residents in our thoughts. To lose any member of our community to this virus is tragic; to see the number continue to climb is heartbreaking.”

The number of known cases in Westfield rose to 98 Tuesday, she said.

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In light of Gov. Murphy’s order to close all county and state parks, Brindle said she would follow suit and close all municipal parks beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

MORE: Murphy Orders County, State Parks Closed as Coronavirus Cases Rise to 44,416

“I am concerned that the closure of the county parks will result in further crowding of our own, making it extremely difficult to maintain and enforce appropriate social distancing,” Brindle said. “Additionally, we are entering what will be, by all expert accounts, an extremely difficult few weeks in New Jersey with respect to the incremental increase in COVID-19 cases. As we prepare for the peak of this virus in the coming weeks, we will continue to prioritize public health and undertake all measures we can to save lives and flatten the curve.

“As a resident, a neighbor, and a parent, I am disappointed in having to make this hard yet necessary decision — especially during spring break week,” she continued. “But as mayor, my guiding principles in making any decision are those rooted in science, facts and priorities that serve the well-being of the community.”

Brindle also asked people to follow social distancing and safety rules while outdoors.

“In the last few days, I have received some messages about crowding along residential roadways among joggers, walkers and cyclists,” she wrote. “With the closure of the parks, it is more important than ever to ensure you are following safety guidelines when outside in your neighborhood. As a reminder, pedestrians should utilize the sidewalk or shoulder of the road and always walk against traffic, while cyclists should be on the shoulder riding with the flow of vehicular traffic. Please be courteous and maintain six feet of distance from others.”

Tuesday is World Health Day, she noted.

“Let’s take a moment to thank all of our medical professionals who are on the front lines to keep us safe during this crisis,” Brindle wrote. “While we continue to keep them in our thoughts, I can think of no better way to honor their bravery than to do our part and stay home.”

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