The Westfield Regional Health Department serves eight towns.
WESTFIELD, NJ — With resources stretched thin, the Westfield Regional Health Department will no longer provide a daily count of coronavirus cases to each of the eight municipalities it serves, the mayor said Friday.
The lag time with test results as well as the time required to complete the confirmation of each positive result has strained the regional health department’s resources, Mayor Shelley Brindle announced.
“The strain on our Health Department resources is unsustainable for daily reporting,” Brindle said in a statement. “As you know, the official case count is not ever a complete picture because of the many pending results awaiting verification.”
In addition to serving Westfield, the department provides health services to Chatham Borough, Fanwood, Garwood, Mountainside, New Providence, Roselle Park and Summit.
“I anticipate the actual cases to be a significant multiplier over what’s reported,” Brindle said. “Please assume everyone is contagious and behave like it with vigilant social distancing measures.”
On Friday, the health department reported two newly confirmed patients with coronavirus in Westfield: a 65-year-old woman and a 49-year-old-man, Brindle said. Across Union County 519 people had tested positive for coronavirus, state health department figures showed Friday. Statewide that figure stood at 8,825 people, according to the DOH. The death toll stood at 108, according to the state figures.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing more people to work from home, Brindle requested that people curtail the use of loud landscaping equipment to the hours of 9 a.m. — noon.
“I do appreciate the sentiment of folks working and schooling from home with open windows,” Brindle said. “Please make a collective effort to avoid using loud equipment between the hours between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. as a courtesy to our neighbors and ask your landscapers to do the same.”
Brindle said she could not use police resources to enforce the request. However, she is asking “as a first step, for us to come together and make an effort with this small accommodation.”
The update came on the same day Westfield resident and Goo Goo Dolls front-man John Rzeznik performed on the TV show “Live with Kelly and Ryan” in an effort to drum up support for impacted local businesses. He had kicked off the fundraiser last week with a “porch concert” in Westfield.
By Friday, Brindle said the Westfield United Fund and Westfield Foundation had raised over $90,000 in support of impacted local businesses.
“The 65 applications for funding have been reviewed — with the first checks going out on Monday to offer some initial relief,” she said. “Thank you so much to all who have donated in support of our dedicated business owners and their employees.”
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