While the COVID-19 curve may be flattening across the state, Shamong Township remains focused on keeping residents and employees safe.
As of deadline, at least 133,635 state residents had contracted COVID-19. Shamong accounts for 14 of those cases and one death. Those statistics have kept Office of Emergency Management Coordinator John Lyons on his toes.
“Face coverings are required and encouraged when out and about in public,” Lyons said. “Municipal offices are closed and services are available by phone or email as previously shared. Municipal parks are open while playgrounds are closed. Again, gatherings are limited to 10 or fewer, statewide.
“Social distancing is still the order at bay.”
During the township’s virtual May 5 committee meeting, Lyons’ office announced collections of masks, face shields, hand sanitizers and full-body protection suits for public safety, thanks to donations from the public.
“I anticipate refills of hand sanitizer and refreshes of our mask supply will be necessary,” Lyons shared. “We feel comfortable at the current moment, but as things continue, supplies will deplete. We’ve provided masks and sanitizers to the office staff in the township and department of public works.”
A contract has been awarded to properly clean and sanitize the township’s N95 masks, free of charge. Masks are delivered to a central facility where a bulk sanitization occurs to prolong their effectiveness at a cost offset by The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Burlington County has used its reverse 911 software to inform residents who may be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms that they should schedule an appointment through the county to get tested. The free tests are performed at the Emergency Operations Center in Westampton. Residents can call (609) 726-7097 to screen for an appointment.
Shamong residents who are at high risk for severe or fatal complications from the virus have connected with emergency management’s Register Ready service. Volunteers have made weekly contact with those residents.
Volunteers have become de facto grocery delivery drivers, a measure Lyons said was initiated as local food stores became overwhelmed with delivery orders — with some switching to curbside pickup only — and to help residents without a reliable means of transportation.
Schools have provided meals to Shamong students, while community churches donated gift cards and pantry items.
New Jersey set up its 211 hotline for immediate food assistance to residents. Lyons said calls are redirected to one of either Indian Mills United Methodist, Shawnee Baptist or Crossroads Community churches.
“Shamong has made a request for public assistance (to FEMA),” Lyons noted. “We are awaiting rules and guidelines on what can be included and what would be excluded as acceptable expenses.”
Details on accessing Shamong Township Committee’s June 2 virtual meeting are available by visiting Shamong.net.