COVID-19 UPDATE FROM MAYOR SHELLEY BRINDLE: MARCH 26
▶️ CONFIRMED CASES
As of today, there are 6,876 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey. These include seven additional cases in Westfield -- two males (ages 59 and 22) and five females (ages 52, 45, 43, 32 and 20) -- all are managing symptoms at home. This brings the official count from the Board of Health to 26 cases. For a more detailed breakdown of statewide numbers, visit the NJ Department of Health COVID-19 Dashboard at https://www.nj.gov/health/…/topics/covid2019_dashboard.shtml.
▶️ FEDERAL AND STATE UPDATES
▪️Today, Governor Murphy announced that President Trump issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of New Jersey. The declaration will provide federal assistance to supplement statewide recovery efforts affected by the COVID-19 pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020.
▪️In New Jersey, 155,000 workers filed for unemployment in the last week – 16 times the number who filed the week before.
▪️Governor Murphy signed legislation Wednesday evening to expand New Jersey’s Temporary Disability Insurance and Family Leave Insurance programs to provide more workers with access to paid leave benefits during public health emergencies.
▪️The Governor also indicated that he will not be prepared to revisit the closure of school districts until at least April 17, at the very earliest, and that such a decision will be based on careful discussion with public health and safety experts, educators, and districts.
▪️On Saturday, March 28, the COVID-19 testing sites at Bergen Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center will accept ONLY symptomatic health care workers and first responders. Beginning Sunday, March 29, the sites will move to a new schedule, which is posted on covid19.nj.gov.
▪️As part of the State’s Main Street Stimulus focus, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved an initial $75 million program to help stabilize small businesses. It is believed that this program will be able to provide direct financial assistance and support for between 3,000 and 5,000 small businesses: https://www.nj.gov/…/…/news/562020/approved/20200326b.shtml….
▪️A quick clarification on an error we made in a previous update: While the federal income tax filing deadline has been extended to July 15, New Jersey has not yet announced a definitive extension deadline for filing state income taxes. The state legislature passed a bill recommending a June 30 extension deadline, and we will communicate any updates about its progress from the Governor’s office as they become available.
▪️Congressman Malinowski is launching a food drive to help restock food pantries across the district and has established one of his collection boxes in Westfield (730 Lawrence Avenue). You can drop off supermarket gift cards, canned vegetables, beans and fruit, granola bars, crackers, bottled water, apple juice, coffee, cleaning supplies, diapers, and paper goods by April 6.
▶️ LOCAL UPDATES
▪️Who’s ready for an encore? Tune in to Live with Kelly and Ryan at 9am tomorrow on WABC7 to see Westfield neighbor and Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik reprise his porch performance to raise money for Westfield United Fund’s #welovelocal campaign to support our local businesses. And, in even better news, the Westfield Foundation has offered to match the next $30,000 in donations! We have already received more than 40 applications from local businesses who need our support -- please make your donation today at www.westfieldunitedfund.org.
▪️Although the Westfield Memorial Library remains closed until further notice, remember that online access will continue. For residents without a card, please request one on the library’s website (www.wmlnj.org). In addition, during the COVID-19 closure, no fines or DVD fees will accrue. Please follow the library on Facebook (@WMLNJ) to catch all of their virtual programming -- including storytime, virtual Lego club, crafting, daily teen writing classes, author readings, drawing tutorials, and more. As always, members can access movies, books and music through the library’s digital services, such Overdrive, Freading and Hoopla.
▪️Thanks to Westfield Police Officers Jackus, R. Johnson and Kenny, along with Chaplain Gibbons, for unloading four pallets of food for the Westfield Food Pantry from the Community Food Bank. In addition, Officer Kenny and Detective Savnik today delivered two full bins of donated masks to Overlook -- many thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.
Thanks to each of you for your ongoing support and willingness to help. Stay well.
To make a contribution, please visit the Westfield United Fund website: https://www.westfieldunitedfund.org/what_you_ca…/donate.html