This past Monday marked the start of Stage Two of New Jersey’s “restart and recovery” effort. It’s exciting to have more retail stores open and to have an opportunity to dine outside. As this stage progresses and more businesses open, we need to remain vigilant and not forget the important measures that led to case numbers declining and the opportunity to begin reopening.
Over the last few weeks, as New Jersey and much of the US was improving, states like Arizona, Florida, and Texas have seen an increasing number of COVID-19 positive cases and hospitalizations. This serves as an important reminder - the pandemic is not over. Some cities around the country are even pausing their re-opening efforts because of COVID-19 concerns.
Unfortunately, the virus is still with us. In order to keep moving forward with our recovery plan, we need to continue practicing the social distancing measures that have protected us over the last few months. Keep a distance between yourself and other people, at least six feet. While in public places, wear a cloth face covering that covers both your mouth and nose. Wash your hands often. If you are sick, stay home, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Additionally, get tested. There are now more than 255 locations in the state to get tested. Visit covid19.nj.gov/testing to find a testing site or talk to your doctor. Testing is available for all residents who want it or need it. If uninsured, multiple sites throughout the state will still provide a test, with a number of free testing opportunities.
It's also important that individuals with underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease, take steps to reduce the risk of their exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data this week that showed that deaths were 12 times higher, and hospitalizations six times higher, among individuals with underlying conditions. These individuals should take extra precautions to protect their health, such as avoiding large gatherings, and certainly avoiding individuals who are sick.
As we move to the next openings of this phase on Monday, we must remain cautious and vigilant.
Stay well, and have a great weekend.
Mayor, Mendham Township