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Posted on: March 26, 2020

Borough of Westwood - Coronavirus Update 03/26/2020

Dear Westwood Residents,

I have been asked to provide the number of COVID positive cases in the borough of Westwood. The Borough is utilizing www.westwoodnj.gov/bergencounty, which links to an updated map hosted by Bergen County and provides town-by-town counts of known cases. We have noticed slightly different numbers from different sources; and so we suggest residents seeking those numbers visit that site.

Some thoughts on these numbers:

  • We know the number of positive COVID-19cases will continue to rise as more testing is conducted and results are returned faster.
  • Undetected, the virus spreads at a rate that exceeds the testing regime’s parameters of testing only symptomatic individuals.
  • HIPPA confidentiality rules prevent disclosure of specific information about any individual who tests positive for COVID-19. With that, we can’t know who they are, where they live, who they have been in contact with, or if they even, had the virus when they were in contact with those people. State Health professionals conduct “contact tracking “investigations. We also do not know how severe their symptoms are, whether they are resting comfortably at home, hospitalized or hospitalized and receiving intense critical care measures.
  • We won’t know soon enough how many are returned to wellness. That number is subject to a protocol that takes time to confirm , and during that time the anticipated, growing number of positive cases will garner the public’s attention and stoke its fear.

So while knowing the current number of positive COVID -19 may be of limited, practical value, we should be reminded of this:

  • There will be some number of our community who will need to be hospitalized. Some will require critical care. And as I have explained above, the rapidity of transmission, the disconnect between this spread via unknowing carriers and post symptomatic testing /detection/confirmation - is the principal reason for the State’s current “lockdown”.
  • The fewer personal interactions we have, the less chance of infection, the fewer unknown carriers - and the sooner this crisis will peak.
  • For now, acting responsibly means acting as if everyone is a potential carrier. And the single most responsible thing that YOU can do, to make sure the hospital beds and services are available for those who will need them, is to make sure YOU and the children who depend on YOU do not contract the virus.
  • Embrace Governor Murphy’s Executive Order - Stay home for all but the necessities. Maintain 6 ft. Social Distance when in the presence of others. Practice radical hygiene as prescribed by the CDC website - www.cdc.gov

As I have stated elsewhere, and often, complying with these protocols – religiously - reduces your risk of contracting COVID -19 by 37 to 40 %. That is really the most consequential number to know, and to remember, until this is crisis ends- and end, it soon will. And, for the vast majority of us - without devastating health consequences requiring hospitalization. 85 % of those infected will have no symptoms, or mild symptoms, as reported by NJ DOH Commissioner Judith Persichilli. Some percentage of those being tested are proving negative.  John’s Hopkins University‘s global tracking of the virus reports the growing number of people, confirmed to have had COVID-19, who are now healthy again. Millions more , who never even knew they were sick, are walking around with antibodies that serve as the basis for fast tracked vaccines, and therapies that will ultimately defeat this virus.

Numbers without context can inspire fear. But since the beginning of March, I have witnessed, close up, the people of Westwood respond to this event. I have seen you rise to care for and protect the most vulnerable among us. I have seen our Emergency Services volunteers suit up, and risk their own health, so that we may keep ours.

It has been said of Westwood “Hate has no place here. “ Neither do fear and hopelessness. What I have seen in our residents, borough employees and business people over the past few weeks can be summed up in one word - Faith. Faith in each other and faith in Westwood- our beloved Westwood.

I could not be prouder to serve as your Mayor at this time.

Ray Arroyo

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