Morris freeholders urge governor to reopen New Jersey

Morris County Freeholder John Krickus heads the new Morris Recovery Taskforce.


From the Morris County Freeholders:



The Morris County Board of Freeholders unanimously passed a resolution last night calling for the safe, phased reopening of New Jersey, allowing a re-start of the state’s economy while protecting the public health from the continuing presence of COVID-19.

The resolution, which is being sent to Gov. Phil Murphy, state legislators, the New Jersey Association of Counties, and mayors in all 39 Morris County municipalities, was a recommendation of the new Morris Recovery Taskforce, which has been created by the freeholders.

“We have reached a point where continued closure of business in New Jersey may actually be causing harm to overall public health,” said Freeholder John Krickus, who is chair of the Task Force.

“More deaths are likely resulting as outreach and treatment for opioid addiction are hampered, as people avoid emergency room visits neglecting symptoms that lead to heart attacks and strokes, and as medical procedures and screenings are continuously postponed.

“We need to reopen Morris County business in a safe, phased manner, while protecting public health, providing citizens with income and hope, saving both lives and livelihoods,” he added.

The resolution noted that there have been significant declines in new reported COVID-19 cases in Morris County, dropping from a peak of 204 to a recent daily average of 52.

COVID testing demand at the county drive-thru testing center at County College of Morris CCM has declined from 320 daily to 85 per day, with positive results from those tests dropping from 43 percent to 15 percent.

Read the text of the Freeholder Board’s Resolution.

In particular, the freeholders’ resolution targeted the county’s hospital and healthcare industries. As a result of a declining number of COVID-19 cases, the stress on hospitals and medical facilities is decreasing, providing the ability for them to return to dealing more aggressively with non-COVID-19 cases.

Reopening medical services will have three major impacts:

  • Saving lives and improving public health by providing delayed medical procedures and preventative screening.
  • Ensure that our “medical heroes” jobs are secure.
  • Ensure that health services providers have the financial strength to maintain robust staffing and capabilities.

“Unneeded deaths may be occurring as hospitals have seen a significant decline in heart and stroke cases as people avoid medical facilities, including a reported drop of more than half in emergency room visits,” the freeholder stated in their resolution.

However, with reopening comes a need to remain vigilant in dealing with the novel coronavirus, the board stated. The resolution asks all county residents to continue maintaining social distancing practices to help contain the spread of the virus.

Contact Tracing

To prepare for recovery and continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Freeholder Board, in coordination with county and local health officials, has initiated a countywide Contact Tracing program.

Towards that end, the freeholders approved hiring a part-time public health nurse and up to five disease control field representatives to bolster the Morris County Office of Health Management staff.

Also, volunteers from the Morris County Medical Reserve Corps have signed up for the program, which reaches out to people with COVID-19 and tries to determine who have been in contact with them.

Morris County Recovery Task Force

The key objective of the Morris County Recovery Task Force is to anticipate and prepare Morris County to reopen in the most effective manner, both in terms of protecting public health and renewing business, social and religious activities.

Leaders from government, health, education, labor, social services, tourism and arts, and others will participate in an effort to gather information, share ideas and develop strategies for the post-COVD-19 world in Morris County, in conjunction with state and federal governments.

More on the Recovery Task Force .


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  1. Good post Will. Margret, lets be clear that your solution is to force all businesses to stay shut and people in their homes until there are no new cases? How about every flu season and other diseases/infections that go around – lets do the same thing? Be very careful about what freedoms you toss away for “safety” from the government. What you are proposing is extremely dangerous (and no, not a conspiracy theory).

  2. Wait, 2 cases per day is not even close to leveling out? By definition, that is almost no new cases so the infection curve has not only leveled out/flattened, it has gone down to close to zero. You mention the 499 case but that is the CUMULATIVE NUMBER since the start of the pandemic. The vast majority of those cases are now over and done with the disease. Some towns publish numbers daily including how many have recovered. As of yesterday, Jefferson Township says that it has had 212 confirmed cases of and 6 COVID-19-related deaths in Jefferson Township. One hundred seventy-eight (178) of these individuals have been cleared of active disease status. Given the time lag since the start of the infections in Morristown and how fast the numbers climbed, it is highly probable that there are over 300 people who are over it.
    My wife and I are part of Morris Twp’s numbers and we’ve been fully recovered for over 8 weeks now but
    we’re still in the number of people who tested positive.

  3. Hard fact in Morristown is that our numbers are still climbing. As of May 19th there were 499 cases, even at 2 cases a day. it indicates that we are not close to leveling out. Te fact that we have 24.77 cases per 1,000 residents, and that 42% of those cases are between the age of 18 and 46 does not make me see any flattening of the curve here in Town. If restrictions are lifted throughout Morris County as suggested, lives will be lost as a result. There may be numerous places where it may be safe to lift the restrictions. if care is taken not to let the Covid-19 virus spread from community to community. Good news for those communities, but Morristown is not at that point yet as more and more refuse to protect themselves and their neighbors by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing..

  4. Those who live in fear and panic and who also don’t understand how important the economy is have a very leisurely approach to opening things up again. No rush at all. Let’s just shut things down for as long as it takes. They also don’t mind having government types telling them how to live their lives.

    The rest of us recognize that the effects of this virus have been greatly exaggerated. While caution is always appropriate, we also so know how important it is to be productive again, both for our economic and mental health.

    It might take a while, but we will win out.

  5. Here are my hard numbers (data from covid dashboard):
    – Total hospitalizations in the State are currently 3,509, down from a high of over 8,000.
    – Total hospitalizations in the Northern Region of the State are 1,752, down from a high of over 5,000.
    – There are 819 people on ventilators in the State (26% of capacity), down from approximately 1,700.
    – There are also 1,053 people in intensive/critical care, down from over 2,000.
    – 96% of deaths are in age groups >50 years old, with 58% having cardiovascular disease and 44% having diabetes.
    Conclusion: the curve has flattened.

    With a significant ramp up in testing, the number of new cases is an incomplete data point. You need both the number of new cases divided by the total number of tests performed. That metric, trended over time gives a good indication of whether or not the infection rate is increasing or decreasing. I’ve not seen that trended data.

  6. So ridiculous. Still less cases and deaths than a regular flu season and the entire economy is brought to a fascistic state of near collapse. The easement from the hospital has been contained, which was the priority. These arbitrary opening guidelines are crazy. People who want to be coddled by the govt and told the govt is here to protect you love this type of stuff and use the emotion of the virus to brow beat people into believing its the right thing to do. These people never signed the front of a check, owned businesses, and can’t understand econ 101.

    Margret, Charles – at what point do we reopen? When new cases are at 0? Please tell us all what the magic number is that your interpretation of what is going on is so much better than ours. Hard numbers, please.

  7. Morristown numbers tell the real story. Each day we have had additional cases. The average age has remained in the 50s, although the number of elderly victims is considerable. Schools and churches have had outbreaks. Those are the facts. The conspiracy theories are just that. Theories intended to manipulate how we think without any facts to back them up. The people we depend on most are the ones at greatest risk. Let’s honor our heroes by protecting their lives. If Jeff wish to risk his life that’s his choice, but stay away from all the others, who respect and care about our future.

  8. Hey Charles – Instead lobbing ad hominen insults to those who disagree with you, please educate us with the actual data and science that’s so obvious to you and not the rest of us. I’m particularly interested in reading the study supporting your 50% immunity claim for NJ. Please also provide the data to refute that the curve has flattened in NJ and risk to overwhelming the healthcare system has passed. In the meantime, I doubt there will be any executive orders forcing you from the safety of your home, so you are free to stay there until there’s a cure.

  9. Glad to see misinformation on a community forum. Good job, sir!

    Multiple waves cause more economic damage. This isn’t even rocket science.

  10. Government types and the media have so many people right where they want them – compliant, cowering in fear, and ready for their next order.

    This disease isn’t nearly as fatal as they were telling us. Most deaths have occurred with elderly people and/or those who had serious existing health conditions when they got sick. Many Covid deaths were from people WITH the disease – not FROM the disease.

    The virus doesn’t do well outside, so it is humorous to see uninformed, terrified people walking running, and cycling with masks on.

    Masks are basically medial theater.

    The effects of these ridiculous shutdowns will kill and adversely effect far more people than the bug itself through depression, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, bankruptcy, suicide, domestic violence, isolation, loss of housing, job loss, etc. It’s time to end the madness.

  11. Don’t know if the likes of JT are lying or if they really are that dense.

    Until you reach at LEAST 50% of the state already having (maybe) immunity by having contracted the disease, you absolutely can overrun the healthcare system. The math and science here is not at all complicated at the big picture level.

    Even worse, these fools don’t realize that multiple spikes and multiple closures would inherently cause MORE economic havoc.

    Absolutely criminal these people spouting such silly misinformation.

  12. As I observe the number of people all over town walking and running and hanging out without taking any precautions, I cannot not help but feel that removing any more restrictions will just make things worse. As long as we continue to add more confirmed cases each day. the risk continues. The difficulties with Covid-19 is that individuals can spread and carry the it, without having symptoms and appear to be fine.

    Many of the restrictions that can be safely lifted, such as receiving proper medical care, have already been lifted. Curbside sales were permitted , once the stores had adapted their establishment in a manner that protected their workers and customers.

    As long as our police, firefighters, emergency workers and public servants are out there every day, risking their lives to protect and care for us, I’m not prepared to simply open everything up again and put them at even more risk, as they work on our behalf.

  13. Margret, you aren’t dealing with people who understand information and such inconveniences as “facts” and “logic.” You are dealing with people who denounce science and don’t care what medical experts think (i.e., Republicans). Science and tens of thousands of deaths be damned, they say. Obvious link between public health and economic health is a sham, they say. Open up, and if this thing blows up again (which the medical experts say it could) oh well thousands more will die I need to get back to chasing a little white ball around and doing my 9 to 5. We are all going to die someday, they say…better that than changing the ‘Murican way of life. Mouth breathers, all.

  14. The virus is still here. it can spike again. This article talks about access to health care. Beginning access to healthcare offices may be safe but I don’t think that people are safe inside restaurants where they will be removing their masks to eat. Kids in schools or camps can not be safe. Kids bring home germs. We have to be thoughtful about what is re-opened.

  15. The state needs to re-open. Only someone who doesn’t understand basic economics and business would want further delays. It’s been said that more people will be adversely impacted by these closures than by the virus itself.
    Irrational fear, government overreach, and panic serves no one.

  16. To those who say that we should not reopen, what about the risk to many from the continued closure of Dentists and many/most medical facilities to non emergencies? I am months overdue for cardiac testing and I already HAD the virus. Are we to keep everything until there is a cure AND it gets rolled out to EVERYONE since otherwise, there will be added deaths from the virus.

  17. Flatten the curve was meant to prevent the healthcare system from being overwhelmed. It was not intended for us to stay at home indefinitely. The risk to the healthcare system has passed based on all objective evidence issued by the State of NJ. Those in the “at risk” groups should continue to take all precautions, as should those who fear for their personal safety, but a significant swath of the population is ready to return in a safe, phased manner.

  18. Encouraging reopening can prolong the crisis, as new information indicates that without more caution, the number of people, who are stricken with Covid-19 and may die will increase.

    This is not the time to play politics. Not far from the Court House is the famous statue of Thomas Paine, reviled patriot in his lifetime, because he preached the doctrine of Common Sense but later found to be courageous for standing up for what was right.