Message from the Mayor, July 17, 2020

'May you live in interesting times'
certainly applies to summer,  2020

“May you live in interesting times” is the supposedly ancient Chinese curse disguised as a blessing. If so, we are truly blessed to be living in these pandemic times.

The number of infections and deaths across the country and around the world continue to increase, leaving many local residents nervous. Will travelers bring the infection back to our area from  distant hot spots? Will bad behavior by some local residents undo all of the good work done to bring the coronavirus under control locally?  How will we manage the start of the new school year and the fall flu season without triggering a second wave of the pandemic?

May we live in interesting times. However, so far, Chatham Township residents have risen to the challenge.

Our Covid-19 numbers in Chatham Township remain under control with a cumulative total of 156 positive test results and 33 deaths. The number of deaths has not increased for almost a month since June 19 and the number of confirmed cases has increased by only five in the same 29-day period.

The number of confirmed active cases in the Township – a number reported  this week for the first time by the Regional Health Department – stands at 5.   Health officials intend to report this number following the 15th and 30th of each month to track how many of the Covid-19 cases confirmed by testing since the start of the pandemic in March are still active.

All of the local numbers are reassuringly unchanged, thanks to the conscientious behavior of local residents who are wearing their masks in public, maintaining six feet of social distancing and washing their hands frequently to protect themselves and others.

News reports during the past few weeks identified several nearby towns as potential “hot spots” due to large graduation parties which were held without masks or social distancing.  Health officials said those fears have mostly passed thanks to widespread testing and contact tracing which have not shown the feared super spreader infections.

Chatham Township has avoided any increase in Covid -19 infections resulting from graduation parties. But some residents have reported an outbreak of vandalism to mailboxes on the same nights that post graduation parties were held in the neighborhood. In the Glenmere neighborhood, some home owners have been victimized several times with destroyed mailboxes, and police have apprehended one person in connection with the vandalism. Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact the police. 

Meanwhile, life is cautiously returning to a new normal.

Colony Pool, with its wide expanse of grass and large swimming area, is now open. Chatham Borough families are invited to join at Chatham Township prices as the Borough's Memorial Pool remains closed by the pandemic. Check out the Colony Pool website for details and fees.

Playgrounds in the Township are now open with parents asked to maintain social distancing for themselves and their children. Athletic fields are open for team competition, with certain adjustments to keep players, coaches  and umpires separated.

The Township's Compost Area and Recycling Center on Tanglewood are both open and operating on their regular Tuesday and Saturday schedules.

All of this activity emphasizes the need to stay vigilant to avoid the resurgence of Covid-19 which is being experienced elsewhere.

Remember that wearing masks and keeping social distancing works.  Wash hands frequently, stay home when feeling ill, and contact your physician if symptoms begin to escalate. Following these common sense guidelines will   avoid exposing yourself – and those who are more vulnerable -- to infection.

Be careful, exercise good judgment and stay safe.    

Michael Kelly,
Chatham Township Mayor