Total new COVID-19 cases in October may reach May numbers in Woodbridge, police collecting unused drugs on Oct. 24

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WOODBRIDGE – The township reported 49 new COVID-19 cases over a three-day period, which brings the total number of cases to 2,253, according to Mayor John McCormac in his coronavirus report on Oct. 19.

Nineteen new cases of COVID-19 were reported for Oct. 16, 13 new cases were reported for Oct. 17 and 17 new cases were reported for Oct. 18.

“The last time we had that many cases over three days was from May 2 to May 4, which was the total end of the height of the pandemic,” McCormac said.

The total number of cases in October has reached 178, already higher than the number of cases from the months of June through September.

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 zero new cases from their facilities over the three-day period. The total number of cases at the facilities remain at 813.

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 102 residents to COVID-19 in the general population, 22 residents lost from state facilities and 28 residents lost from the St. Joseph’s Nursing Home.

The Woodbridge Police Department (WPD) will participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) annual “National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day” on Oct. 24.

The program, geared to prevent prescription drug abuse, is free and will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of the Town Hall Municipal Building, 1 Main Street.

Woodbridge residents should bring unused and expired prescription drugs (if possible in the original prescription container) to the WPD. For more information contact the WPD at 732-634-7700.

Halloween festivities are a bit different this year. The township’s annual Trunk-or-Treat event has been cancelled, but officials have arranged to have the fire companies in the township drive around their sections of town and pass out candy. Trick-or-treating will be permitted and officials will ensure safety measures are in place for the children and their families.

The Skyline Mini golf course behind The Woodbridge Community Center is set up with a Haunted House theme for Halloween festivities. The township will also host a virtual costume contest for the kids, a house decorating contest for adults and a painted pumpkin contest. Details for all of the events will be posted on the township’s social media pages along with the township website.

Photos for the home decorating contest must be sent in by Oct. 23, painted pumpkins by Oct. 26 and costume contest by Nov. 2. Participants can pick up a pumpkin to paint at the Woodbridge Community Center and must register before pickup at register.communitypass.net/townshipofwoodbridge.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Domestic Violence Awareness Month. A number of events will be held and can be found on the township website.

The Woodbridge Relay for Life is holding an event to honor those who have battled breast cancer at 5 p.m. in front of Town Hall on Oct. 21.

Health and fitness centers reopened on Sept. 1 with a number of restrictions. McCormac said the Woodbridge Community Center and The Club at Woodbridge buildings have been sanitized and equipment have been moved around. Employees have been trained to ensure the personal safety of the members.

A list generated of local businesses and restaurants offering outside dining are on the township’s website and Facebook pages. Indoor dining at 25% capacity – no more than 100 patrons – began on Sept. 4.

The outdoor gathering limit increased to 500 on July 6 with no limit for political or religious activities. On Aug. 3, the governor limited indoor gatherings to 25% for a room’s capacity, with a maximum of 25 people.

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.

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.

All four locations of the Woodbridge Township Public Library reopened at 25% capacity on July 6, but will remain closed on the weekends. Visits are limited to one hour.

The main library is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday. The Fords, Colonia and Iselin branch libraries are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. For more information visit woodbridgelibrary.org or call 732-634-4450.

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.

The annual Veteran’s Parade will be held virtually in November. The township will be collecting pictures and short biographies of anyone who fought in World War II while a resident of Woodbridge now living or deceased and include them in a video on Veteran’s Day. Veterans and family members of World War II veterans can send in a picture and a short video of the veteran to wbmayor@twp.woodbridge.nj.us. Include details of service and information about their families and any other points of interest about their lives.

The township’s summer concert series came to an end on Sept. 24. Additional shows are scheduled on the township’s second outdoor stage at Curtains Restaurant next to the Avenel Performing Arts Center through October. The Avenel Performing Arts Center reopened on Oct. 1 with a full schedule, but limited capacity.

Bulk pickups have restarted. To schedule a bulk pickup 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.

Residents can schedule a free annual bulk pickup after the fall garage sales through the Sanitation Division at 732-738-1311 ext. 3600.

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 began 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 – reopened 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.