A letter from County Executive Brian M. Hughes
|Dear Mercer County Community,
One week ago, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) announced the first presumptive positive case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Mercer County, nine days after the first such case in the state was reported.
Our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. This is a rapidly changing situation, and based on what we’ve seen around the state, around the country and around the world, it will get worse before it gets better. But it will get better.
I assure you that the health and safety of our residents is our top priority, and we remain vigilant to doing all we can to protect the people of Mercer County as we face this crisis together.
On March 12, I issued an executive order declaring a countywide state of emergency and health emergency to help coordinate the local response and to allow Mercer County and its municipalities to seek federal reimbursement for extraordinary measures.
On Monday, I announced the closure of all county-run facilities, except for essential functions, effective at the close of business that day. This was done to reduce the movement of people in county buildings for the health and safety of our employees and the public with whom they interact. While we work remotely, I want to emphasize that this is not a government shutdown. We here at Mercer County continue to work to protect public health, and my office remains a resource for any and all concerns.
Meanwhile, we are making every effort to continue providing necessary services, such as using our TRADE vehicles to transport clients to medical appointments and deliver shelf-stable meals to older adults in our nutrition program.
Our emergency response team has been working around the clock in response to this crisis, coordinating with our 12 municipalities, assisting with tracing patient history, isolation and quarantine measures and ensuring that all our local emergency management offices are working together. With increased testing, we expect that the number of positive cases will increase and we will provide updates upon official information from the New Jersey Department of Health.
Mercer County is working closely with our 12 mayors and our partners at the State to expand the number of coronavirus test sites in Mercer County, and to provide our health care workers and emergency responders with the protective gear they need to safely do their jobs.
It is incumbent upon all of us to continue doing the things we can do to keep us safe, such as staying home, practicing social distancing when you must go out, and taking everyday preventive measures such as frequent hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces. The goal is to slow the spread of infection as much as possible, especially among high-risk groups, and to take the pressure off our health care system.
I thank each of you for your commitment to helping slow the spread of COVID-19, and for the sacrifices you’ve made and will continue to make.
The coronavirus response is taking precedence over everything at this moment. If we all do our part by staying home as much as possible, practicing social distancing, washing our hands and helping our neighbors, we WILL get through this crisis. Thank you.
Brian M. Hughes
Mercer County Executive