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Posted on: March 25, 2020

Borough of Westwood - Coronavirus Update 03/25/2020

March 25, 2020

Dear Westwood Residents,

The Borough of Westwood continues to monitor the evolving situation surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). With that, I would like to update you with some of the events surrounding our response to this crisis:

On March 7, Borough officials – the Borough Administrator , Board of Health Director, Police Chief, Borough Council’s Health Department Liaison, and I met with administrators at the Pascack Valley Medical Center. They briefed us on what we might expect during this pandemic, and on their procedures/preparations for handling COVID -19 admissions while keeping in house staff, as well as Westwood Ambulance Corp members, First Responders, and other patients - safe from the virus.

Since Governor Murphy’s declaration of a Public Health Emergency (E.O. #103 on March 9th), our Office of Emergency Management Command staff has met regularly to ensure interdepartmental operational responses are coordinated, complimentary and seamless. Items discussed and decided during these ongoing meetings have included:

  • Establishing uniform protocols for engaging with confirmed or likely positive COVID-19 residents needing service. These protocols include a series of questions to assess the probability of infection, donning proper Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), post intervention decontamination of responders’ equipment and clothing.
  • Determining which Emergency services will respond to what types of calls and minimizing how many First Responders will actually enter a scene to engage physically with the person or persons requiring assistance. These are best practices intended to limit our personnel’s exposure – unnecessarily - to better conserve our human assets.
  • Memorializing time and place of possible COVID-19 service calls should State Health Investigators require the same for follow up Containment efforts.
  • The Westwood Police Department has received medical supplies from the 1033 Government Military surplus program including : surgical masks and gowns , and an inventory of HAZMAT response kits featuring full body suits, face shields and booties that now travel with each patrol.
  • Westwood’s OEM Director, Darren Blankenbush, is monitoring the on-hand inventory of PPE across WWPD /WWFD and WWVAC; rationing, recording and tracking its use and replenishment on a daily basis.
  • Ensuring additional PPE procurement is an ongoing effort, and that current allocation and depletion, is coordinated with expected delivery dates.
  • Electric signboards are flashing the Social Distancing Message and advising that Westwood parks are closed to groups of 10 or more.
  • WWPD has introduced the 911-EYE system, which enables our Dispatchers to visually contact an individual calling for service, through their smart phone. Dispatchers can then see what the caller is seeing. This enhances the borough’s ability to send the appropriate resources, without duplication, thereby further minimizing the risk of compromising First Responders, and conserving precious supplies of PPE.
  • Finally, WWPD has completed its first auction of other, non-emergency related 1033 items no longer needed by the Borough. This has netted approximately $22,000, which is a timely infusion of revenue that can be used to buttress the Department’s COVID-19 defenses.

Keeping First Responders available for duty is a critical element of our COVID -19 defenses. We must keep them safe, in order for them to keep us all safe.  I especially want to commend OEM Coordinator Darren Blankenbush, OEM Deputy Coordinator Janet Dunn, Board of Health Director Sharon Blehl, Fire Chief Kevin Woods , Ambulance Corp. Captain Robert Simak, Police Chief Michael Pontillo and Borough Administrator Ben Kezmarsky for their extraordinary leadership in preparing our Emergency Services to serve our the residents of our community during this public health crisis.

For more specific information regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov or call the CDC hotline – 1-800-232-4636. Links for more information can also be found on our website www.westwoodnj.gov.

Many thanks,

Mayor Ray Arroyo

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