I hope this blog post finds you all safe and well. It has been some time since I posted some thoughts here and a rainy Saturday morning seemed to offer the perfect time to do so.
I want to thank Newton residents for taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously in so far as following local, county, state, and national guidelines. It is not easy for normally social people to now retrench into their homes while a virus ravages our nation but we are resilient and will come through this.
I was saddened, as all of you were, to learn about the first fatality from COVID-19 in Newton and Sussex County last evening. We pray for her soul and the family members who now deal with this terrible loss.
Please, I beg of all of you, take this seriously. Vigilance and diligence are required at this time. Although sometimes it feels surreal - like out of a Twilight Zone episode - this virus is changing our way of life, but more directly, it is impacting families, loved ones, neighbors, and people of all ages, races, income levels, etc. This virus does not discriminate - it is deadly and could impact any one of us.
Your local government has been prepared from the beginning as I believed early on that we needed to be on top of things locally in spite of what might occur at the state or national levels. We implemented a written continuity of government plan; staggered DPW work schedules; implemented various safety protocols for emergency services personnel; closed the municipal building to the public while allowing administrative team members to work from home on a staggered scheduled basis. We miss seeing our customers in person but remain available via telephone and email to service your needs to the very best of our ability.
If you are looking for resources regarding this pandemic, may I respectfully recommend the following:
Text: NJCOVID to 898-211
Text: your ZIP Code to 898-211 for live text assistance
As the days progress, we will see the number of cases in Newton and Sussex County most likely rise, including more fatalities. Pray for the first responders and healthcare professionals who are working day and night to keep us safe and healthy. Their work is not easy but has never been more important.
Last night and this morning were tearful for me. This is getting more real as the hours and days progress. But if we remain united (even from 6-feet apart), we will get through this. Take care of yourselves, your families, and loved ones, and don't hesitate to reach out if you need advice or assistance.