WESTFIELD, NJ — A 75-year-old woman is the town’s 14th coronavirus fatality, the mayor said.

The death comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Westfield to rose to 147, Mayor Shelley Brindle said in her Wednesday night update.

“Please keep this resident’s family in your thoughts during this very difficult time,” Brindle said.

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At least six of the Westfield’s COVID-19 deaths have been residents of nursing homes located in the town, officials have said. Brindle said the latest woman to die is a member of the Westfield community.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in Union County rose to 269 people on Monday while the number of county residents to test positive stood at 7,438 people, the state Health Department figures show.

Across New Jersey, the death toll rose 3,156 people with the total number of people to test positive at 71,030 people, according to the state Health Department.

At his press briefing Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy told reporters he anticipates social distancing will remain the norm for the foreseeable future.

Murphy cited a study by Harvard researchers released in Science Magazine Tuesday that suggests Americans may need to practice social distancing in some forms until at least 2022.

Westfield Recycling, Parks

In Westfield, Brindle said residents who purchased permits for use of the conservation center are anticipated to receive emails detailing procedures for access to the facility tonight, prior to its anticipated Thursday morning opening.

“I want to stress the need for patience as we undertake a new process to ensure social distancing while managing demand,” Brindle wrote. “This demand is anticipated to be much higher at the Center in the initial few days of operation, as folks with a permit will need to have their online purchase verified and the decal put in place.”

Brindle recommended that people who are looking to just deposit recyclables wait until the first two weeks of the conservation center’s opening passes.

“We of course won’t turn you away with recyclables, but we do ask people to prioritize the seasonal, organic debris whenever possible,” Brindle said.

On Tuesday, officials had said police would be on hand at the recycling center to ensure that residents adhere to social distancing guidelines.

In other news, Brindle said improvements at town parks continue while the facilities are closed to the public.

“I look forward to providing updates as work continues,” Brindle said. “I want to assure you that our Town employees are taking advantage of this unprecedented time with low foot traffic to make sure that we continue to move forward on a variety of initiatives.”

Email Matt Kadosh at mkadosh@tapinto.net | Twitter: @MattKadosh

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