Vernon Township Mayor’s Updated Statement on the Coronavirus

Posted: April 1, 2020

Vernon Family, this is a good day—for the first day within the last six days, Vernon Township did not have any new confirmed COVID-19 cases, or a COVID-19 related death!!

However, in our county, there were 28 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases, and two more COVID-19 related deaths.

Sussex County now has a total of 165 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and seven COVID-19 related deaths.

While we had no confirmed COVID-19 cases today, we should not forget that COVID-19 continues to spread with exponential growth in the United States and, therefore, we should not become overconfident or complacent in terms of our practice of behaviors that have been proven to flatten the coronavirus curve by preventing/limiting its spread—i.e., practicing social distancing, avoiding large crowds and gatherings, practicing good hand hygiene, and staying home if we are sick.

Since the first U.S. case of the COVID-19 was identified in the state of Washington on January 21, 2020, health officials have identified more than 186,000 cases across the United States and more than 4,000 COVID-19 related deaths. By March 17 of this year, the virus had expanded its presence from several isolated clusters in the states of Washington, New York and California, to all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Let’s continue to be vigilant!

A day of no new confirmed COVID-19 cases gives me the opportunity to focus on a conversation that my wife, Reba, and I had this weekend.

Reba, who I can always count on for a positive thought, commented to me about the strong, positive responses and support that our community has received from our town’s merchants and their employees, who have put themselves at risk in order to remain open and serve our community; and about our town’s businesses and many groups and individuals who have been very creative with ideas/suggestions for helping those Vernon residents in need.

While this is by no means a complete list, the nature and extent of the contributions/efforts of the following three businesses/organizations are noteworthy:

  • Mountain Creek, which has stepped up and offered the services of its accounting department and other professionals, free of charge, to local small businesses that need help applying for government loans and other assistance.
  • The Tracks Deli which, during this period when we are hunkered down in our homes, as part of our collective effort to reduce/stop the spread of COVID-19, has offered free lunches to Vernon students, seniors and others in need—no questions asked—and have served as the hub for the preparation/distribution of food donated for those Vernon residents in need.
  • The civic group Vernon Cares, which formed to organize volunteers throughout our town to help those high risk neighbors get whatever it is they need, including the delivering of the food donated and prepared by the Tracks Deli.

My wife’s comments also reminded me of how honored I am to work along side a group of outstanding municipal employees, all of whom are also putting themselves at risk in order to serve the Vernon public. I hope that they know how much I appreciate and respect them.

I am so proud of this town! One unanticipated result of this coronavirus crisis is that I have come to believe that part of my purpose on earth is to serve our town, “At a time such as this.”

In addition to the insidious rate and speed at which COVID-19 spreads, another of its weapons is that the many things that we don’t know about it enables it to attack us mentally and emotionally. These unknowns cause many of us to focus on the negative aspects of our lives, and that gets us down.

In times such as these, we need to remember that our attitude in life is often influenced by that aspect of our life that we emphasize—the good experiences or the bad ones. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.

Let’s focus on those aspects of our lives that demonstrate that VERNON CARES, and that makes us collective VERNON STRONG.


Howard L. Burrell, Mayor