Novel Coronavirus


March 26, 2020 Update

In partnership with the New Jersey Department of Health, the Township of South Orange Village Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Management continues daily monitoring of communicable diseases within our community, county and state. We are currently monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will continue to provide updates as they become available.

  • Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 110, directing all child care centers in New Jersey to certify by Friday, March 27, that they will solely serve as emergency child care centers for the children of essential workers. Child care centers that do not certify that they can and will exclusively care for these children of essential workers must close by Wednesday, April 1.

Among the directives, the Governor’s executive order directs:

  • The Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, in consultation with the Commissioners of the Departments of Education, Human Services, and Health, shall implement a plan permitting access to emergency child care services for the children of “essential persons.”
  • In order to be designated as an Emergency Child Care Center, any person or organization, requesting permission to stay open or resume operations on or after April 1, 2020, shall submit the certification form to the Commissioner of Children and Families for approval by Friday, March 27, 2020. If the certification form demonstrates that it will provide child care services exclusively to “essential persons” during the school closure period, and that it will follow all applicable emergency child care standards, the Commissioner shall authorize it to remain open or resume operations as an emergency child care center.
  • Any child care centers, including those as defined in this executive order, that fail to timely certify shall be closed to the public as of Wednesday, April 1, 2020, and remain closed through the school closure period. Centers shall receive notice of the Commissioner of Children and Families’ certification decision by Monday, March 30, 2020.
  • Child care centers, for purposes of this order, include entities providing care on a regular basis for children aged 0-13, including licensed child care centers.
  • For purposes of this order, essential persons shall include, but not be limited to:
    • Health care workers, including staff working in health care facilities and in community-based services including home health and behavioral health;
    • Law enforcement personnel, fire and emergency services personnel, and staff at correctional facilities;
    • Individuals employed at emergency child care centers operating on or after April 1, 2020;
    • Staff working for entities that provide essential social services, including, but not limited to, group home and shelter staff;
    • Essential government employees who are unable to work from home, including child protection services workers, child welfare workers, foster care workers, unemployment compensation processing staff, and public health employees;
    • Certain critical workers, as defined by the Commissioner of DCF, at essential retail businesses, as defined in Executive Order No. 107 (2020) and subsequent Administrative Orders. The Commissioner of DCF shall have the authority to make changes to this list.

The order will take effect immediately.

For a copy of Executive Order No. 110, click here.

To access the form for Child Care Centers, click here.


 March 24, 2020 Update

  • South Orange has declared a State of Emergency
  • South Orange has launched a COVID-19 Informational Portal
  • There are 3,675 presumptive positives in New Jersey.
    • 701 cases have been in Bergan County
    • 342 cases have been in Essex County
    • 288 cases in Monmouth County
    • 277 cases in Middlesex County
    • There have been 44 deaths to date from the coronavirus
  • Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 109, cancelling all elective surgeries in New Jersey, effective 5:00 pm on Friday, March 27.
    • Any business or non-hospital health care facility, including but not limited to dental facilities, construction facilities, research facilities, office-based healthcare or veterinary practices, and institutions of higher learning, in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines that are not required for the provision of critical health care services should undertake an inventory of such supplies and send that information to the State by no later than 5:00 p.m. on  Friday, March 27. The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management shall establish a process by which entities subject to this provision can submit this information.
  • New Jersey has launched a COVID-19 Information Hub
  • There are now seven "walk-in" sites near Essex County
    • In order to be eligible for testing, individuals must be current New Jersey residents and experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness. Priority will be given to symptomatic individuals experiencing cough, fever (99.6 degrees or above) and shortness of breath.  Individuals who are not symptomatic will not be tested, as it diverts critical resources such as testing kits and laboratory materials from those who are ill. Each site will be provided with an allocation of 2,500 specimen collection kits and Personal Protective Equipment for all staff. The specimen collections will be transmitted to the contracted laboratory twice per day and results will be reported within 2-5 business days. Testing is free and will be covered by the federal government or personal insurance company. Individuals are encouraged to bring insurance cards if they have one.
    • Bergan Community College
      400 Paramus Road
      Lots B & C 400
      Paramus, NJ 07652
    • The Doctor’s Office Urgent Care of West Caldwell
      556 Passaic Ave
      West Caldwell, NJ 07006
      (973) 808-2273
    • CityMD Urgent Care – Newark
      617 Broad Street
      Newark, NJ 07102
      (862) 201-4596
    • CityMD Urgent Care – East Hanover
      399 Route 10
      East Hanover, NJ 07936
      (908) 557-9808
    • Other "walk-in" facilities near Essex County include Holy Name Medical Center (201-833-3000, Hudson Regional Hospital (201-388-1097) and Riverside Medical Group (for current patients only - 201-865-2050)

  • Coronavirus – What To Do If You Are Sick


 March 16, 2020 Update

  • There are 178 presumptive positives in New Jersey.
  • 20 cases have been in Essex County
  • Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 104, implementing aggressive social distancing measures to mitigate further spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey, effective immediately.
    • All gatherings of persons in the State of New Jersey shall be limited to 50 persons or fewer, with limited exceptions;
    • All public, private, and parochial preschool programs, and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools, will be closed beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and remain closed as long as the Order remains in effect;
    • Institutions of higher education will cease all in-person instruction beginning on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, and shall cease such in-person instruction as long as the Order remains in effect;
    • The Commissioner of Education shall continue working with each public, private, and parochial school to ensure students are able to continue their education through appropriate home instruction;
    • The Secretary of Agriculture and the Commissioner of Education shall take all necessary actions to ensure all students eligible for free or reduced meals will continue to receive the services necessary to meet nutritional needs during closures;
    • All casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters, and performing arts centers will be closed to the public beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. and remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect;
    • All other non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.; and
    • All restaurant establishments, with or without a liquor or limited brewery license, are limited to offering delivery and/or take out-services only.
  • Governor Phil Murphy and New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Chief Administrator Sue Fulton have announced that due to the COVID-19 outbreak and to protect the public, the MVC will extend expiration dates for driver licenses, registrations, and inspection stickers. Effective immediately, the NJMVC will grant a two-month extension for:
    • Driver licenses expiring in March, April, and May
    • Registrations expiring in March, April, and May
    • Inspection stickers expiring in March, April, and May


 March 12, 2020 Update

  • Please note:  All tests for COVID-19 must be obtained through your primary physician.  As availability of diagnostic testing for COVID-19 increases, clinicians are able to access laboratory tests for diagnosing COVID-19 through clinical laboratories performing tests authorized by FDA under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).  Clinicians are also able to access laboratory testing through public health laboratories in their jurisdictions.  There is no need to notify the local health department if you feel that you have symptoms.
  • Governor Phil Murphy has recommended the cancellation of any public gathering of more than 250 individuals
  • On March 11, the World Health Organization made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic
    • A pandemic is a widespread infectious disease, that sickens a large number of people worldwide.
  • Some things we can be doing before a pandemic begins can include:
    • Stocking up on a two-week supply of food and water
    • Periodically check your regular prescription drugs to ensure a continuous supply in your home
    • Have non-prescription drugs and other health supplies on hand including pain relievers/fever reducing medications, stomach remedies, cough and cold medicines, fluids with electrolytes, and vitamins, tissues.
    • Stock up on household supplies such as toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, etc.
    • Get copies and maintain electronic versions of health records from doctors, hospitals pharmacies and other sources and store them for personal reference.
    • Have pet foods and supplies.
    • Stock up on baby care items
    • Plan for extended school and day care closures
    • Talk to your employer about telecommuting opportunities in the event that movement of people is restricted
    • Plan for a sick room in the home. Designate one room that would work best, usually a bedroom with its own bathroom that no one else will use. If someone in the home becomes ill, keep them in the sick room away from others.
  • There are 29 presumptive positives in New Jersey
    • 1 case has been in Essex County
  • Seton Hall University has temporarily suspended classes

  • John Hopkins University Coronavirus Map


March 10, 2020 Update

  • New Jersey reported the first Coronavirus related death today.  The governor said the victim was a man in his 60s from Bergen County who had a history of traveling between New Jersey and New York, and was admitted to Hackensack University Medical Center on March 6
  • Governor Phil Murphy declared a State of Emergency and Public Health Emergency yesterday.
    • At present time, South Orange has not yet declared a State of Emergency.
  • As per the ongoing Governor’s broadcast, there are now 15 presumptive positive cases in New Jersey.  31 people are under investigation.
    • No cases have been in Essex County.
  • Residents are reminded to make sure you are up to date on all of your vaccinations. Please check with your physicians
  • Any resident who feels they have symptoms or may have been exposed to the Coronavirus should see their local health care provider.  Make sure to notify your provider ahead of time if you think you have Coronavirus.


March 9, 2020 Update


March 4, 2020 Update

The South Orange Department of Health and the Office of Emergency Management participated on a conference call with New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy and New Jersey Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli, Chair of the Governor’s Coronavirus Taskforce. 

  • Gov. Murphy reiterated that the virus is currently a “low overall societal risk.”
  • There are still no confirmed cases in New Jersey.  10 people have been tested with negative results.  10-12 more individuals are expected to be tested pending CDC approval.
  • CDC has two laboratories conducting testing for the virus that causes COVID-19. CDC can test approximately 350 specimens per day.
  • Commercial labs are working to develop their own tests that hopefully will be available soon. This will allow a greater number of tests to happen close to where potential cases are.
  • Commissioner Persichilli said “risks to the general public remain low.”
  • They are currently testing individuals with symptoms and individuals who have traveled to China recently.
  • Facemasks are not necessary unless a resident’s health care provider recommends it.

NJ Transit has issued an update on their precautionary measures against COVID-19.

Any resident who feels they have symptoms or may have been exposed to the Coronavirus should see their local health care provider or go to a hospital to be checked out.  There is no need to notify the local health department if you feel that you have symptoms.  Hospitals and health care providers have a direct line to the local health department and will follow the appropriate protocols if the virus is detected in a resident.


February 28, 2020 Update

According to CDC, “Current understanding about how the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) spreads is largely based on what is known about similar coronaviruses. COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread in the United States.”

The CDC recommends that residents use common precautions to help prevent the spread of disease.  While each respiratory illness possesses its own unique characteristics, based on a multitude of research and knowledge regarding the vast amount of respiratory illnesses currently circulating, what we’ve always learned still holds true.  The actions you take and the plans you make today make a difference. Here are some important steps for protecting yourself from getting and spreading diseases.

  1. Staying home when you are sick.
  2. Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay at least 3 feet away from sick people when possible
    • Tell your employer if you get sick. If possible, those who are at high risk for flu complications should avoid attending meetings or events in person if they are sick.
  1. Covering your coughs and sneezes.
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
    • Throw away the used tissue, and then wash your hands.
  1. Washing your hands.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water.
    • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Why is this important?

Washing your hands lowers the amount of flu virus that can spread when you shake someone’s hands or touch surfaces and objects such as desks and doorknobs. It is especially important to wash your hands before and after touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

  1. Cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects.
    • Clean surfaces and objects that are touched often, including desks, doorknobs, railings, computer keyboards, phones, and toys.

Does cleaning with soap and water remove the flu virus and other infectious diseases?

Yes, soap and water is all you need to remove the flu virus.

You can also use a bleach-and-water solution or disinfectant with a label that says “EPA approved” for killing bacteria and viruses. Always follow directions on product labels.

Why is this important?

The flu virus can remain on surfaces for up to 48 hours. Cleaning frequently touched surfaces and objects lowers the amount of flu virus that can be spread when you touch an infected surface and then your eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Being prepared and informed at: