BY ASSEMBLYWOMAN YVONNE LOPEZ
On March 15, the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders declared a county-wide state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but county’s preparedness efforts had begun long before then.
New Jersey had not yet seen its first case of the novel coronavirus when the county developed a web page to update the public on the spread of the virus. The county health office started providing community briefings to mayors, business administrators, health officials, legislative representatives and community stakeholders. We began planning for how Middlesex County would respond to a potential outbreak.
Little did we know it would be mere weeks before our plans would be called into action.
I want every Middlesex County resident to know that despite a slow, muddled response to pandemic by the federal government, our local leaders have stepped up to slow the spread of the virus and help our community get through this public health crisis.
By declaring a county-wide state of emergency, Middlesex County is now eligible for federal reimbursement for certain response and recovery measures, and to procure additional goods and services that were previously unavailable.
The county opened a COVID-19 testing site on April 1 at the Motor Vehicle Commission in Edison to give residents access to testing. Open three days a week, the County is able to administer hundreds of tests a day to Middlesex County residents. More information can be found at middlesexcountynj.gov/covid19testing.
County officials are working jointly with all 25 municipalities to coordinate response efforts. They are also in regular contact with the Center for Disease Control and federal, state, hospital and educational partners.
Our children’s education continues to be a top priority as we combat this pandemic. The Executive County Superintendent of Schools speaks daily to each public and private school superintendent to discuss how our students and teachers are handling at-home learning and instruction.
For the safety of county employees and residents, all county buildings have been closed to the public until further notice. The county continues to conduct business remotely, and essential services are still accessible via phone, email and telecommunication. All county events have been cancelled through April 30.
The county website and social media pages are frequently updated with the latest information about the virus. If you have any questions about COVID-19, please call the 24-hour public hotline at 800-222-1222.
As a longtime resident of Perth Amboy, I’m proud to see our county working diligently to keep us safe and informed. Crises reveal character. Our leaders have proven to be resilient through this challenging and uncertain time. Our community is stronger because of them.
Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez represents the 19th legislative district in the New Jersey General Assembly.