COVID-19 Update from Mayor Manzo – 4/07/2020

Mayor Lou Manzo provides regular updates on the COVID-19 crisis. This is the 4/7 update.

Dear Residents & Business Owners:

IMPORTANT UPDATE – DRIVE THRU TESTING

Gloucester County will offer a drive-thru style COVID-19 testing site on Wednesday, April 8, 2020. The site will be set up at Rowan College of South Jersey at 1400 Tanyard Road in Sewell. This is a one-day event with additional dates to be announced.

Based on the production and distribution of Test Kits, which is finally beginning to flow, the County leadership anticipates doing 100-125 tests per week going forward at this local Drive-Thru Test Center. As proceeding Test Dates are determined, we will convey them to you.

“Testing will be provided for symptomatic residents at a crucial point in our fight against COVID-19,” said Freeholder Director Robert M. Damminger. 

The site is a partnership between Inspira Health, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Josette Palmer of Happy Healthy You Medical Practice, Cooper University Health Care, the Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Gloucester County Department of Health and the Gloucester County Office of Emergency Management.

THE COVID-19 DRIVE-THRU TESTING PROCESS

Residents 18 and older with symptoms of COVID-19 must call (856) 218-4142 to be prescreened.

  • Tests will be performed by appointment only.
  • Please have your insurance information available when you call in.
  • Once prescreened, an appointment time will be scheduled

The Gloucester County testing site is open to eligible Gloucester County residents only. Proof of residency, such as a passport or driver’s license, is required. Anyone without symptoms, based on the prescreening phone call, will not be eligible for testing.

The path back to normalcy requires several layers of this Coronavirus outbreak to be in check. The first of which is the ability to test everyone (on demand) that needs to be tested, based on a medical professional’s evaluation. This Drive-Thru Center locally is a step in that direction. Great news!

UNRELATED TO COVID-19 – ROUTE 77 TRAFFIC UPDATE

Though not related to the COVID-19 crisis, you should be aware of a local dangerous intersection that has been improved. The intersection of Route 77 (Bridgeton Pike) & Harrisonville/Fislerville Road is now a 4-Way Stop, with new red-flashing lights to indicate a 4-way STOP. Previously, the north-south traffic on Route 77 flowed through that intersection with flashing yellow lights. This has been a long-needed and requested improvement, so please pay attention to this change going forward. We always expect some “recognition pains” when a change like this occurs, so please be careful.

TOWNSHIP PARKS UPDATE – AGAIN!

Earlier today, the Governor issued Executive Order 118, which orders the closing of all State and County Parks, including all bike/walking paths and trails. Individual towns are given the authority to use their discretion for their municipal parks. As you know, our current policy allows for the use of the paths ONLY at William Wilt and Ella Harris Parks. I have repeatedly been compelled to ask for adherence to this policy since some have decided to ignore it. For that reason, we are now removing the hoops from the basketball courts and locking the tennis courts at Ella Harris Park. Police Chief, Tom Mills, has deployed a special detail to monitor the parks for violators. Based on today’s Executive Order, the easier answer would be to totally close our park paths also.  

Somehow, we still believe that our teenage population and others, who have been violating the rules by using the fields and courts over the last week, can control themselves. Parents, you need to convey this message firmly in your home, as we extend one final chance on this front. DO NOT use the fields or courts, which will allow for the rest of the community to enjoy the paths as allowed. With the new Executive Order eliminating all use of State and County Parks, please don’t force us to follow suit.

SUPPORT FROM OUR BUSINESS COMMUNITY – THANK YOU

Now that I have sufficiently sounded like a mean Dad (my daughters would all recognize the tone of my admonition, lol), let me end on a much brighter note. In the face of the COVID-19 battle, our local businesses have been stepping up big time. I will write a separate piece on that soon, but I want you all to know how impressed I have been with them during this crisis. 

Whether it’s Sew Sassy or Karen from Tori’s Cleaners making and donating masks or Kristen from K Artocin Photography bringing the Easter Bunny to town, our business community is engaged. From Day 1, I heard directly from the restaurant owners in town offering to feed our municipal troops. Kenny Patel of Dunkin’ Donuts, Jim Malably from blueplate, Anthony Romeo from Naples, Constantine Benas from Harrison House, Anthony Marino from Marino’s…..all of them, reaching out to see how they can help. Alexandra Benas of The Cake Boutique is donating/delivering 200 specialty cupcakes to Inspira on Friday. They’ll love that! The list of our local businesses stepping up in all different ways, continues to grow. We thank you. We love you. You are part of the fabric that makes us Harrison Strong!

Together for Harrison Township,
Lou Manzo
Your Mayor