Vernon Township Mayor’s Updated Statement on the Coronavirus

Posted: July 23, 2020

My Vernon Family, on yesterday, we had our first municipal employee to test positive for the COVID-19 virus.

On yesterday afternoon, one of our municipal employees called the mayor’s office to let us know that she had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This employee had been away from her work station and out of the municipal center on vacation since July 18, five days before her positive COVID-19 test.

The employee had not, and still does not, show any of the normal COVID-19 symptoms—i.e. fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, headaches, loss of taste or smell, etc. This employee was and is asymptomatic. She was tested for the COVID-19 virus at the direction of her physician as part of a pre-medical procedure evaluation. The employee is being quarantined under her doctor’s direction.

We contacted the employee today and she advises that she continues to feel well, and still has no outward COVID-19 symptoms.

Within an hour of being notified of the positive COVID-19 test by the employee, the mayor’s office met personally with the other employees in the municipal center, advised them of this positive test, and put into action plans to (1) have the municipal center sanitized by an outside professional company that uses CDC approved disinfectant—that sanitizing is taking place as I write this update, and (2) to have a deep cleaning performed of the office where the employee works, and the two other areas where this employee frequented—i.e. the lunch room and the ladies restroom.

This employee’s work station is located in a closed door office that interacts with the public through half inch bullet proof glass. In addition, when this employee did interact with members of the public, she did so while wearing gloves. Therefore, we have no reason to believe that any members of the public were exposed to the virus via contact with our employee.

We directed the two other employees who work in the same office to immediately get tested for the virus, and to self-quarantine while working from home until they get the results of their COVID-19 tests.

The mayor’s office also reported this positive COVID-19 test result to the Sussex County Health Department; the Sussex County Health Department has already implemented the CDC approved contact tracing protocol.

As it relates to this COVID-19 virus, there are two things that I want our municipal employees and our town’s residents to know:

  1. Vernon Township has done, and continues to do, an effective job of keeping down the COVID-19 transmission rate, and keeping this dangerous virus from victimizing more residents of our town.

    For example, while Vernon Township has 17% of our county’s population, as of today, our 137 confirmed COVID-19 cases equals just 11% of the county’s total 1304 confirmed cases.

  2. Even though Vernon Township, like other municipalities in our state, is focused on doing what we can to reopen normal every day activities and our economy, as your mayor, I remain aware of and focused on the need to also ensure that our municipality does what it can to keep our residents safe from this predatory virus.

    We have purchased the equipment and a supply of CDC approved sanitizer that will enable us to routinely and effectively/efficiently disinfect the municipal center; disinfect our parks and playground equipment; plus disinfect our law enforcement, DPW and first responders’ equipment and vehicles on a required basis.

    We have supplied, and will continue to supply, our municipal center employees with appropriate gloves and masks/face coverings as needed.

    We have installed clear protective acrylic barriers at those municipal service counters where the public must interact with a municipal employee.

    We have provided markings which identify required 6ft social distancing while waiting to do business at a municipal service counter.

    And, we have installed an ultra-violet cleaning lights system in the municipal center’s HVAC system so as to reduce the likelihood that our HVAC system will expose either visitors to the municipal center, or employees who work in the municipal center, to the COVID-19 virus.

All indications are that this COVID-19 virus will be with us for a while—this is part of what I call our “new normal.”

This virus has victimized so many people in our country and the world; you have my commitment as your mayor that I will continue to work close with our town council to ensure that our service to you, the residents of Vernon Township, does not become another one of this virus’ victims.

KEEP THE FAITH!

Howard L. Burrell, Mayor