Monmouth County freeholders authorize assistance to towns during ongoing crisis

0
1542

The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders has authorized the county administrator to enter into agreements with Monmouth County municipalities to provide health related services to assist municipalities and residents during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The five freeholders who sit on the county’s governing body took the action during a March 26 meeting.

In a resolution, the freeholders said “the timely and accurate tracking of known and suspected cases (of COVID-19) is an essential public health tool to limit the spread of the virus.”

The freeholders said they are “committed to using (their) resources to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and to assist … constituent municipalities in their efforts to identify local hot spots so that appropriate mitigation may be implemented.”

Freeholder Director Tom Arnone, Deputy Director Susan Kiley, Freeholder Lillian Burry, Freeholder Patrick Impreveduto and Freeholder Dominick DiRocco voted to authorize Monmouth County Administrator Teri O’Connor “to enter into one or more agreements with Monmouth County municipalities to provide for health related services.

“These services may include, but are not limited to, investigative, epidemiological and other related services relating to communicable diseases,” according to the resolution.

The freeholders said some municipalities have a health department and some municipalities have united under regional health departments.

Arnone said some municipal and regional health departments were “showing flaws” in certain aspects of their operation and he said, “at this time, we need to gather consistent information.”

During the crisis, current school nurses and retired nurses are being recruited to assist with the case management workload, officials said. As of April 1, Monmouth County was reporting 1,300 positive cases of COVID-19.

The freeholders said the county would not take over the regular duties of a municipal or a a regional health department. They said their action only provides assistance in matters dealing with the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Kiley, who oversees matters relating to health and human services, said employees in those departments have been deemed to be essential during the current health crisis and remain on the job at their offices in Freehold and in the field.

“Our employees are doing everything they can to make sure we get through this safely,” she said.

Kiley recognized the efforts of Christopher P. Merkel, public health coordinator, Monmouth County Health Department, and Sue Moleon, director, Monmouth County Division on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services, and their staffs.

“The Division on Aging is feeding frail seniors at home, people who cannot get out to the store. They are making home deliveries. In some towns, residents are helping to feed people. To watch what people are doing during this crisis is heartwarming,” Kiley said.

Monmouth County news updates and information regarding the COVID-19 situation are posted at www.visitmonmouth.com