Letter From Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders on COVID-19

by The Village Green
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From Brendan W. Gill, President of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders: 

When addressing the Essex County community at large, I usually do so as President of the Board of Chosen Freeholders. On this occasion, under these unprecedented circumstances, I am expressing my thoughts as a father, a son, a husband, and concerned neighbor who loves his community.

The spread of the COVID-19 virus has affected so many of us in my hometown of Montclair, Essex County, and the entire world. On behalf of my family, I offer condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one, and I offer my prayers to all individuals and their families who are currently dealing with any negative ramifications brought on by this pandemic.

It is important we all understand – the strong do not struggle alone, the strong struggle together. We are a strong community, and we will get through this trying time together, as a community. The efforts of our healthcare workers, community service organizations, and countless concerned citizens has not gone unnoticed, and I thank the members of these groups for their selfless acts. While they are assisting our neighbors on the frontlines of this battle, we as government leaders will continue to work together, share information, and put measures in place to ensure all those in need receive the finest care possible.

I thank Governor Murphy for his unwavering leadership during this time. I also thank our County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, my colleagues on the Freeholder Board, members of law enforcement, and other county and municipal agencies for their diligence in continuing to provide critical services for our citizens, while pooling resources to setup COVID-19 testing sites for our residents showing symptoms of the virus.

Through hard work and fast track planning, we were able to open a COVID-19 testing center in Weequahic Park last week. We have successfully tested hundreds of people in the first few days of operations, and we will continue to increase our testing capabilities as we move forward. While we are combatting COVID-19 from a healthcare standpoint, we as individuals must continue to follow the social distancing guidelines mandated by our Governor. We all need to do our part in “flattening the curve” of the spread of this virus. At the same time, we must recognize that each day is a blessing. Although social distancing has been imposed as a measure of protection against the Coronavirus pandemic, it has also presented us with an opportunity to come closer together with our families. 

From a personal standpoint, it brought me a great sense of joy and comfort to carry on the tradition of having Friday Night Pizza with my wife and children. Whether you have a game night or a video call with a family member or friend, we should embrace this opportunity to come closer together as families, and as a community. I implore everyone to spend quality time with your loved ones, while those of us in government work tirelessly to serve you for the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic, and celebrate with you when this pandemic comes to an end.

If I can be of any assistance, please contact my office via phone at 973-621-4486, or contact me directly via e-mail at bgill@freeholders.essexcountynj.org.

Stay home and stay safe.

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