Cranford Confirms A Coronavirus Fatality; Town Facilities Reopen

CRANFORD, NJ — The town of Cranford said on Wednesday afternoon that since last week’s report on coronavirus fatalities, there has one new resident death confirmed, a person who lived in a long-term care facility (usually a nursing home or rehab). The town has had a total of 539 confirmed cases, with 3 new in the last week, and 97 fatalities (including the latest).

Right now, there are 159 long term care facilities with active outbreaks, the state Department of Health said on Wednesday. The state also announced that deaths at the facilities had more than doubled since May 1. The state announced it will make some long-term changes for the facilities.

For more on long-term care facilities in the state, see the list of coronavirus updates below.

In related coronavirus news in Union County, Westfield High School closed for two weeks as of Thursday after six students tested positive for the virus. Read more about that here.

Other statistics as of Wednesday:

Municipal Buildings Reopening

According to the town, the Cranford Municipal Building is now open to the public, but officials strongly encourage visitors to call or email ahead and make an appointment. The building, including high touch surfaces, will continue to be cleaned daily.

Please follow these instructions to access or interact with the appropriate departments:

  • One Entrance for Members of the public – Visitors may only use the Health Department entrance located behind the building in the lower parking lot. This is an ADA-accessible entrance with access to the elevator. Entry protocols are necessary to comply with CDC and state guidelines on contact tracing and social distancing.

  • The public is strongly encouraged make an appointment due to the limited space and occupancy issues. If there are too many people in the “queue” for say the building department, the member of the public will have to wait outside. Calling ahead avoids these issues. Please visit the Township Website for department email addresses and telephone numbers.

  • Due to limited spacing with the outward facing departments, only one person will be allowed at the front counter and anyone waiting to meet with a Township representative, such as Tax Collector or Building Department employee, will be spaced at least six feet apart, and encouraged to wait outside until called in. Employees may also offer to meet residents outside in the parking lot if all parties agree and the matter can be completed while safety protocols like masks and social distancing are followed.

  • The public is not permitted access to employee space. All business shall be done through plexiglass/counter locations. In person meetings shall not be scheduled unless they can be done through the plexiglass/counter or by maintaining social distancing.

  • Consider calling or going online first. You may be able to take care of the matter without going to the building.

  • Consider using the new, secure drop boxes. These are located at the rear entrance and can be used for tax payments, drop off for building, zoning and engineering. A drop box for the health department is located outside their entrance.

  • The Cranford Fire Department will take temperatures and log in visitors for contact tracing purposes from 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.

  • Visitors and employees must maintain social distancing and be separated by at least six (6) feet from other members of the public and employee. Markers have been placed on the floor and additional dividers are being purchased to section off the departmental queue lines.

  • Hand Sanitizer stations are conspicuously spaced throughout the building. Extra masks and gloves are available.

  • If a visitor anticipates requiring more than 10 minutes of time, he or she will need to be met by an employee outside and accompanied to a designated meeting room. If a visitor is at a window and is taking more than 10 minutes, he or she will be relocated to a meeting room where a designated department representative can continue assisting.

  • Anyone with a fever (100.4° F or higher), feeling ill or who has been in contact with anyone who has been ill with COVID-19 will not be permitted in the building.

  • Anyone returning from states on the state’s incoming travel advisory are not permitted to enter the building.

  • Members of the public who fail to abide by the rules will be asked to leave the building immediately and may be subject to other enforcement action.

  • Visitor restrooms are located on the first floor, next to the Municipal Court. Visitors will not be permitted to access employee restrooms on the main level.

Cranford Library

  • The Library is open with limited open hours for browsing new books in adult, young adult, children, and media collections. This will be in a new, dedicated space inside the Walnut Avenue entrance area.

  • The area is small so one person at a time will be allowed entry for a 10-minute period.

  • Small children will be allowed with a parent or caregiver and must be supervised

  • Library users can check out items or request items located elsewhere in the Library at the Circulation Desk. Library staff will pull those items and deliver to the front desk.

  • Library hours are:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

  • Wednesday: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Community Center

  • Community organizations and clubs are invited to reserve rooms for meetings or activities. The staff has information about maximum capacity for each room in the Community Center and will assist you in booking a room to best accommodate your group.

  • The gym and teen room remain closed and programs will not resume in person at this time.

  • To reserve a room or get more information call 908-709-7283.

Other Union County coronavirus information from Patch:

HOW TO GET TESTED: WALK-UP SITES

  • Union County has added mobile walk up test sites in addition to the testing site located at Kean University. Testing is free for Union County residents and is by appointment only with no car required; participants must wear masks and observe social distance. Any Union County resident can make an appointment for a test, whether they have symptoms. To pick a location, date and time, and to make an appointment online, visit ucnj.org/coronavirus-update/walk-up.

  • Union County residents who need to make an appointment by phone can call 908-518-4307 for assistance. Non-profit organizations and other community groups can call the Union County Office of Emergency Management at 908-654-9881 to request a visit from the Mobile Test Unit.

GYMS

  • Gov. Murphy recently signed an executive order allowing gyms, health clubs, and indoor amusement facilities to reopen at 25 percent capacity effective Sept. 1. Equipment must be adjusted to allow a minimum of six feet of distance, and must be sanitized between uses. Everyone must wear masks. More details can be found here.

HOW TO GET HELP WITH HEAT, RENT, AND MORE

  • During the State of Emergency in New Jersey, no tenant is permitted to be evicted from their home or apartment for the inability to pay rent. Talk to your local mayor’s office if you are experiencing difficulties.

  • The CARES act has made money available to help with rent in each city. More information is here.

  • New Jersey residents can get help with heating and energy bills. Information is here.

  • Various other avenues of relief and benefits have also been made available, including family leave for 12 weeks if you can’t work due to your child’s school or camp being closed, and changes to unemployment rules to help those who were at a job for a short time, or freelancing.

LONG-TERM CARE

  • New Jersey residents have become alarmed at the high number of residents who have passed away in nursing homes, rehabs, and similar facilities. The state announced plans in May to increase testing at some long term care facilities and to bring in the National Guard to help make changes.

  • The state released death toll statistics for long-term care facilities like rehabs and nursing homes. See the list here.

  • You can report problems with long term care facilities here, or if you suspect coronavirus related misconduct, here.

  • Some New Jersey long-term care facilities reopened for limited visits, with precautions, in July.

  • Other states have been dealing with nursing home deaths more recently, including a recent outbreak in a Texas nursing home.

Here are statewide coronavirus resources:

  • NJ COVID-19 Information Hub: https://covid19.nj.gov/

  • General COVID-19 questions: 2-1-1

  • NJ COVID-19 hotline: (800) 222-1222

Got news? Email caren.lissner@patch.com. To be the first to get news alerts with breaking stories in Cranford, or to get a free local newsletter each morning, sign up for Patch breaking news alerts or daily newsletters.

This article originally appeared on the Cranford Patch

Source Article