WOODBRIDGE – The township reported five new cases over a three-day period, which bring the total number of cases to 2,104, according to Mayor John McCormac in his coronavirus report on June 29.
There were three new cases reported on June 26, two new cases reported on June 27 and zero cases reported on June 28.
“We had only 20 new cases last week from Monday through Sunday,” McCormac said. “We have not seen numbers this low since the very first week we started reporting cases back in mid- March. We first hit double figures in new cases with 17 on March 26 and had plenty of days with caseloads in the 60s, 70s and even 80s so these recent numbers are very welcome news.”
The number of COVID-19 cases include East Jersey State Prison and a number of related state facilities in the Avenel section of the township. The state reported 16 new cases from their facilities over a three-day period, which bring the total number of cases at the facilities to 447.
There are 68 COVID-19 cases reported from St. Joseph’s Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility. The residents at St. Joseph’s Nursing Home devastated by COVID-19 were initially counted in the township’s statistics before residents were moved to another facility out of town on March 25. On April 16, residents started moving back home after a massive cleaning effort. On May 4, the last resident moved back to the facility.
The township is reporting statistics from the state facilities and nursing home separately. McCormac said tracking the numbers separately – general population, state facilities and health facilities – gives the township a better indication of the real impact on its everyday residents.
The township has lost two more residents – a 59-year-old male and an 81-year-old male – to COVID-19, which bring the number of residents lost to 93 residents in the general population, 17 residents lost from state facilities, and 28 residents lost from the St. Joseph’s Nursing Home.
“Please remember to keep all those who passed and everyone who just got sick or who is still sick in your thoughts and prayers,” McCormac said.
As of June 15, outside dining is permitted in more than 30 restaurants and bars in the township. A list generated of local businesses and restaurants are on the township’s website and Facebook pages.
Indoor dining at 25% capacity – no more than 100 patrons – was expected to begin on July 2. Gov. Phil Murphy announced the decision to delay the reopening of indoor dining indefinitely on June 29.
Hair salons, hair braiding, barber shops, cosmetology shops, spas, massage parlors, nail salons, tanning salons, electrolysis facilities, tattoo parlors, daycare centers and non-essential businesses that sell bicycles, cars, used cars, boats and motorcycles reopened on June 22 as well as outdoor pools.
The outdoor gathering limit increased to 250 on June 22 with no limit for political or religious activities. The outdoor gathering limit is expected to increase to 500 on July 6.
Highland Grove Pool and Spray Park on Highland Terrace opened June 22.
Senior centers Colonia, Hickory in Fords, Sycamore in Port Reading and Five Branches in Iselin, reopened on June 22, on a limited basis. There will be no luncheons or large gatherings, but seniors can call in advance to schedule times to visit for crafts, games or other recreational activities, McCormac said.
The township’s Farmer’s Market reopened on June 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Town Hall parking lot, 1 Main St. The market will include Jersey Fresh Produce from Alstede Farms, D’Orsi’s Bakery and two new township businesses, Ice Cream Emergency and Popcorn for the People. The market will run through Sept. 26.
Woodbridge Center and all indoor malls reopened on June 29. Woodbridge Center will open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information visit www.woodbridgecenter.com.
Ahead of the July Fourth weekend, the township is cracking down on illegal fireworks. It is legal for residents to purchase sparkling devices and other novelties sold in regular retail locations, but the sale, possession and use of all other fireworks is a fourth-degree crime.
“Loud fireworks significantly disrupt the quality-of-life of our residents,” McCormac said, adding the township will have extra patrols and will monitor the places where fireworks have been sold illegally in the past.
Registration is open for weeklong summer camps expected to begin on July 6 at Merrill Park, The Club at Woodbridge’s KidSports and the Woodbridge Community Center. The Avenel Performing Arts Center will offer camps for singing, dancing and acting and Curtains Restaurant will offer camps for cooking. The township will also hold a number of recreation programs, summer enrichment classes for robotics, computers, sign language and many virtual camps will be available.
All four locations of the Woodbridge Township Public Library is offering curbside pickup. For more information visit woodbridgelibrary.org or call 732-634-4450 between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.
The libraries will open at 25% capacity on July 6, but will remain closed on the weekends. Visits are limited to one hour.
We Feed Woodbridge, a coalition of 11 food pantries and a soup kitchen, surpassed its donation goal with more than $102,000 in monetary donations plus thousands of pounds of food in six weeks.
With national reports indicating that as many as one in five children suffer from food deprivation and township officials reporting a 33% increase in utilization of the township’s food pantries, community efforts to collect food and money really never ends, McCormac said.
The soup kitchen at Trinity Episcopal Church, 650 Rahway Ave., in Woodbridge is open again from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday for a hot lunch to go.
The township is taking steps toward reopening Town Hall. Most interaction with local government can be done by phone, mail or on-line. Township officials are also accepting appointments if a person needs to meet with someone to conduct business. Phone numbers are on the township’s website or call 732-634-4500.
Hematology and Oncology Associates at 540 Green St. in Iselin and Excel Urgent Care at 740 Route 1 north in Iselin are offering antibody testing. For more information call Hematology and Oncology Associates at 732-913-8500 and for Excel Urgent Care call 732-874-5507.
For hours of operation for the Skyline Mini golf course and batting cages behind the Woodbridge Community Center call 732-596-4000.
Summerfest 2020 has been moved from June 6 to Sept. 5 in Merrill Park, Iselin. McCormac said they hope to have a ceremony during the festival to recognize the residents who passed from COVID-19 and bring together family and loved ones to celebrate their lives as well as to celebrate hero first responders and health care professionals who put their lives on the line to protect and save others.
The township’s annual fireworks display has been moved from July 2 to Sept. 6 in Alvin P. Williams Park in Sewaren.
The township will hold its summer concert series starting on July 6 – Doo Wop Monday nights of the 50s and 60s, Rock and Roll Tuesday night tribute bands from the 70s and 80s, Eclectic Wednesday nights, Local Band Thursday nights and Country Band Sundays – at Woodbridge High School to allow proper social distancing.
All shows will begin at 7:30 p.m., shows on Sundays will begin at 6 p.m. Concerts are free with food and refreshments for sale. The township will collect boxes and cans of non-perishable foods at the shows for the local food pantries.
Bulk pickups have restarted. To schedule a bulk pickup for the second half of June or into July call 732-738-1311 ext. 3600.
With the increased limits on outside gatherings, the township is permitting individual garage and sales again as well as block parties, contact the Township Clerk’s office at 732-634-4500 for a permit.
Basketball hoops and playground equipment at municipal parks are now open for use.
Township officials remind the public organized games are not permitted and encourage people to be careful and diligent about cleaning equipment before and after usage. The township will continue to also diligently clean the equipment. Non-contact organized sports can begin on June 22.
Playgrounds at county parks – Merrill Park in Iselin, Alvin P. Williams Park in Sewaren, Warren Park in Woodbridge, and Fords Park in Fords – will reopen July 2.
The mayor continues to urge neighbors to check on people who live alone and cannot leave their homes and to continue to follow the rules and guidelines for social distancing, good personal hygiene, proper disposal of trash and avoiding non-essential travel. He also continues to warn residents of potential fundraising scams as well as contact tracing scams for COVID-19.
For more COVID-19 information, visit covid19.nj.gov. Visit www.twp.woodbridge.nj.us for local information.
For Middlesex County information visit discovermiddlesex.com/covid19/ or www.middlesexcountynj.gov/covid19.