Mayor’s office: COVID-19 case at HQ Plaza not risk to Morristown

Coronavirus cases, March 17, 2020. Graphic: Coronaviral.fyi
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A confirmed case of COVID-19 at Morristown’s Headquarters Plaza, reported Monday by MorristownGreen.com, “poses no risk to the public based on a comprehensive public health investigation,” Mayor Tim Dougherty’s office said on Tuesday.

“As the situation evolves,” Dougherty said in a statement, “I want to assure our residents that community spread of COVID-19 is not occurring in the town of Morristown at this time.

Tenants at HQ Plaza on Speedwell Avenue were informed by management that the infected individual was last there on March 4, 2020, and has been quarantined since then.

Headquarters Plaza remains open for business, a spokesman for owners Newmark Knight Frank told MorristownGreen.com on Tuesday.

“Newmark Knight Frank has rolled out a responsive plan and will continue to take proactive measures to help protect the health and safety of our tenants, clients, colleagues and their families,” said spokesman Brandon Levesque.

Levesque referred questions about the case to the Morris County Office of Health Management. Morristown Green left voice messages for county Health Officer Carlos Perez on Monday and Tuesday.

“While community spread has been observed in other parts of the country, the town of Morristown advises residents the risk of infection to the general public remains low,” said Dougherty, who urged residents and business owners to practice social distancing, vigorous hand-washing and other measures advocated by health officials.

The term “community spread” refers to people who “have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected,” according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Friday, the mayor’s office reported that a county resident working at the Shalom Yeladim Nursery School in Morristown had tested positive.

Morristown Medical Center said last week it was treating a 44-year-old Morris County male who tested positive for COVID-19.

As of early Tuesday evening, New Jersey had 267 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and three deaths. Seven cases are in Morris County.

Nearly 6,000 cases and 100 deaths have been reported nationwide. Globally, nearly 200,000 infections have been confirmed, with almost 8,000 dead.

The New Jersey Poison Information and Education System has opened a COVID-19 public information hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or 1-800-962-1253. It can field questions in multiple languages, the mayor said.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Why on Earth are they not allowing workers in that building to work from home if possible or allow them to stay out of that building until things are cleared up?

  2. This statement is concerning:

    “I want to assure our residents that community spread of COVID-19 is not occurring in the town of Morristown at this time.”

    He cannot know this. We do not have the information to know this because we are not testing at scale. We know that asymptomatic people spread the virus, and perhaps with more effectiveness (http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/03/study-highlights-ease-spread-covid-19-viruses). The mayor needs to get educated on this stuff if he wants to be a voice of authority for the community. This statement is almost as fanciful as the weird 250 customer bar limit that applied to bars with a much lower capacity…

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