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Posted on: April 13, 2020

Borough of Westwood - Coronavirus Update 4/22/2020

Dear Westwood Residents:

Please see the chart from Hackensack University Medical Center at Pascack Valley.  It shows, in stark relief, that our local hospital COVID-19 admissions are over the peak event and on the downward slope towards leveling off at a manageable level. After rising to a high of 57 admissions  on April 12th, as of yesterday, April 21st, they were at the same level as March 28th with 27 positive patients admitted.

In other words, your sacrifices at self-quarantining and social distancing are producing the desired result!  Declining COVID-19 admissions mean more available hospital beds, more available ICU beds, more ventilators…and fewer intubations.

It means fewer instances where the last time you saw a loved one was when they were put in an ambulance.

It means reducing the burn rate of PPE for EMS and health care workers – and the burnout level of first responders and hospital staffs.  These are all welcome trends signaling an end to Phase One of state-wide, virus mitigation and suppression.  We are now eagerly anticipating the Governor’s plan for Phase Two -  unwinding his Executive Orders, in a gradual and thoughtful way, a way that does not undo the achievement traced in HUMC’s charted statistics.

The Governor has no easy task – balancing the desperate need to re-open the economy, with the need to keep public health safeguards in place; to ensure the virus does not boomerang back, and leave us at square one – our progress for naught.

Any plan must have a starting bench mark.  At what point on the chart extended and the restrictions are eased?  How long must the consistent downward trend in COVID-19 admissions be sustained before the unwinding begins?

And what scope of resumed commerce will the easing measures allow? What new parameters and benchmarks will be set for ramping up to full resumption of business?

Under the current orders “essential businesses “are allowed to operate under a social distancing regime where masks are required and a reduced occupancy of floors pace is enforced.
Maybe that logic will be applied to non-essential businesses.  Maybe the path forward will be to reopen more rural areas of the state ahead of the populous Northern counties.

Whatever the path forward, it will reflect the fact that the virus is still with us, and will remain with us. Identifying recovered people who’ve been infected; and determining whether a certain level of antibodies will confer immunity, reduce the severity of re-infection or minimize the degree of contagiousness – are open questions that must be answered to make the virus less deadly and more manageable.  It will also allow a narrowing of CDC isolation protocols to non-infected, at risk populations whose best protection lies in a currently unavailable vaccine.

Various medical labs are working on rapid result COVID-19 testing that can be mass produced and distributed.  Many are coming on line now. The vaccine time line is further out.

The Social Distancing orders have achieved the effect desired - the flattening curve - predicated by the University of Washington.  April showers and chilly weather have been less than crowd inspiring; making the CDC protocols easier to observe.

May flowers and sunny 70 degree days are knocking on the door. Financially stressed businesses are anxious to reopen their doors. The next phase requires a cohesive plan and a start date from the Governor.

No one should doubt Westwood’s ability to bounce back from this disaster.  Westwood was only 24 years old when the 1918 Spanish Flu hit. That wasn’t the end of us ... a renewed beginning of the beloved place we call home.

And that’s exactly what Westwood will be when the Novel Coronavirus is put back in its bottle, and no longer an infamous novelty.

Many thanks,

Mayor Ray Arroyo


COVID HUMC

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