Message from the Mayor, April 3

New cases bring Township's total to 20

Today is Friday, April 3, the start of a new month under the new Coronavirus reality.

As Mayor, I want to start with a message of congratulations and support for  everyone in the community who is carefully abiding by the social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.  It hasn't been easy, but you are making a difference.

Despite all of our good behavior, our local number of confirmed new cases of Covid-19 increased more than 50 percent this week, jumping from 13 on Monday to 20 today.  We knew this number would increase as the number of people tested increased. We also know that this number is just a fraction of those in the community who actually have the coronavirus but have not been tested; have not yet developed symptoms, or have a mild case and have been told by their personal physician to self-quarantine at home.

The only strategy that makes sense is for all of us to act like we -- and everyone we meet -- already carries the virus and can transmit it to anyone else. Keep a safe social distance from everyone outside our immediate household; eliminate all non-essential trips outside the home; avoid contact with high-touch surfaces, and wash hands frequently.  

The message from national, state and county health officials is that we all need to try to do better.  Projections, even with the current level of  protective care, is that an astounding 100,000 to 240,000 people across the country could die due to this pandemic. We can reduce that number. If we  take control of our own behavior locally, it will have a cumulative effect nationally.

A number of community efforts are underway to fight back against the pandemic.

Effective today, the parking lot, facilities and trails at Morris County's Environmental Education Center on Southern Boulevard are closed to the public. With proper social distancing the public can still get outdoors on the trails at the Loantaka Preserve, Giralda Farms, the Great Swamp National Wildlife Preserve, the township's Green Village Pond Conservation Area and elsewhere. Families need outdoor exercise, but the key words are: “Maintain proper social distancing”.

The Thousand Mask Project organized by the Library of the Chathams has more than 100 volunteers working to provide the Chatham Emergency Squad with a supply of masks to use where needed. Anyone interested in getting involved is invited to visit the library website for more details.

The Chatham Township Police Department has an ongoing need for wipes and disinfectant. If you have extra, they would appreciate your donation.

Think about participating in the Monday evening “Clap-Ins” organized by the Front Line Appreciation Group and ongoing in adjoining communities. Their facebook group has more than 900 participants who will be giving a noisy shout-out from their windows and front yards at 7 p.m. every Monday in support of all our essential workers – from our grocery store cashiers, to our first responders, to our hospital care givers.

The Chathams are supporting both our local businesses and our hospital care givers by donating to buy food from local restaurants and delis. The food is delivered to Morristown Hospital where nurses, doctors and support staff are working long hours to treat our neighbors stricken by Covid 19.

The list of creative ideas and efforts goes on. If you have time on your hands as we all do during the current stay-at-home restrictions, think about getting involved.

Experts are telling us we can expect to see increasing numbers of confirmed cases and deaths from the coronavirus throughout April and probably May, which is the most important reason why we each need to do more. We can make a difference if we all follow the best practices to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Be careful and stay healthy.

Michael Kelly

Chatham Township Mayor