Sussex County to get first testing site, freeholder requests National Guard protection

Sussex County. New partnership works to get local testing site at Sussex County Community College. Freeholder Anthony J. Fasano has called for the National Guard to protect vulnerable residents at Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, which recently experienced mass deaths due to COVID-19. Daily New Jersey deaths surpass New York for a second day.

05 May 2020 | 11:04

New partnership works to get local testing site

Sussex County is creating a drive-through coronavirus testing site in a parking area at Sussex County Community College in Newton.

The Sussex County Division of Health and the Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management are creating the drive-through center in partnership with Atlantic Health System. Sussex County Community College is also a partner.

Residents may see tents going up at the site, which is expected to serve only people who have symptoms and prescriptions for testing from their medical providers.

"I'm proud of the efforts of the Office of Emergency Management and the persistence of our County Administrator in his steadfast pursuit of securing a commitment with a partnering healthcare agency, Atlantic Health System,” said Deputy Freeholder Director Dawn Fantasia. “We are grateful to Morris County for their support and partnership that provided testing to our residents as we secured all of the necessary components for the Sussex site.”

Freeholder Josh Hertzberg gave credit to the county administration, "especially County Administrator Greg Poff, County Emergency Management Coordinator Sheriff Mike Strada and team, and our health department have worked hard, with very limited resources, to stand up our own testing center. Now we can focus our much needed effort on safely getting our economy started again."

The opening of the testing facility is contingent on the receipt of necessary medical equipment. More specific details on the operation of the testing center will be made public in the coming days.

Pathline Labs opened a new coronavirus testing at its Ramsey, N.J. The tests are administered via nasal/oropharyngeal swab and can be completed with results returned in 1-2 days.

Tests are available to current Pathline clients in New York and New Jersey, with plans to expand testing to others in the area, and eventually, to clients nationwide. For more information visit pathlinelabs.com.

Freeholder: National Guard should protect Andover nursing home

Anthony J. Fasano, a Sussex County freeholder and liaison to the Division of Health, has called for the National Guard to protect vulnerable residents at Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, which recently experienced mass deaths due to COVID-19.

"There are lives on the line as we are running out of time and options," Fasano said. "Because of this, I am asking the Freeholder Board to formally request the assistance of the National Guard to provide critical protocols, staffing, and resources to the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center."

He noted that the New Jersey Department of Health is "directly responsible for monitoring, inspecting, and investigating this privately-owned, state-licensed long-term care facility within Sussex County that is currently home to hundreds of some of our most vulnerable residents."

He said the county has "exhausted all of its feasible options, and I am deeply concerned that The State of New Jersey is not doing enough to address this ongoing health crisis" in Andover.

The county health department has filed complaints with the state health department and has alerted state officials of“whistleblower” complaints by facility residents, staff, and/or family members," he said.

"There are residents in this facility who cannot speak for themselves and need urgent assistance," said Fasano.

Daily NJ deaths surpass NY for a second day

(AP) New Jersey recorded more deaths from COVID-19 than New York for the second consecutive day on May 1, and Gov. Phil Murphy said he will decide on the remainder of the school year next week.

New Jersey reported 311 deaths on Friday, bringing the state's total to 7,538, Murphy said, while New York tallied 289. Sussex County reported seven new deaths on Friday, the highest tally since April 25.

As of May 4 in Sussex County, there have been 119 deaths, of which 71 were in Andover Township, and 987 cases since the pandemic began. Five new deaths were reported in Sussex County on May 4.

Murphy announced on May 4 that schools statewide will be closed through the remainder of the year.

New York's governor said that the state is closing schools for the rest the academic year but continue online learning. Pennsylvania has also announced school buildings will not reopen this academic year.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.