Woodbridge new COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Holiday Stroll postponed

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WOODBRIDGE – The township reported 121 new COVID-19 cases over a three-day period, which brings the total number of cases to 3,049, according to Mayor John McCormac in his coronavirus report on Nov. 16.

Forty-four new cases of COVID-19 were reported for Nov. 13, 39 new cases were reported for Nov. 14 and 38 new cases reported for Nov. 15.

“We have been averaging 33 per day in November and 38 per day for the last 10 days so the numbers are creeping up, but we are nowhere near setting daily records like the county, state and country are,” McCormac said.

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 823.

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 one more resident – an 87-year-old male – to COVID-19, which brings the total number of residents lost to 106 in the general population, 22 residents lost from state facilities and 28 residents lost from the St. Joseph’s Nursing Home.

A number of events are scheduled Thanksgiving weekend.

The township will hold its 1st annual 5K Turkey Trot on Nov. 28 at Alvin P. Williams Park in Sewaren. Online registration is required at register.compuscore.com/wbturkeytrot. Entry fee is $25.

The township has postponed its Holiday Stroll on Main Street on Nov. 28 due to the increase in number of virus cases.

The Holiday Light Festival event at 6:15 p.m. on Nov. 28 will still go on as planned. It will feature a light parade of firetrucks from the township’s nine fire companies. The trucks will be decorated and drive in a group all throughout the township.

The annual winter holiday ghost walk will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Nov. 28  at the Tanzman Recreational Area across from the Woodbridge Train Station with tours every 15 minutes. Tickets are $10.

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 began on Sept. 4. On Nov. 9, the state imposed new restrictions on all bars and restaurants to close indoor dining by 10 p.m. This does not affect outdoor dining or takeout.

Indoor limits for political or religious gatherings remains at 25% of capacity. Outdoor gatherings including sports, concerts, parades and holiday events have a maximum of 150, which is down from 500. Social distancing and mask wearing is mandatory at all outdoor gatherings and these guidelines should be followed at all indoor events.

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, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. 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 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.