MAYOR'S UPDATE: AUGUST 6
It was wonderful to see so many residents out on Tuesday night enjoying Sweet Sounds and National Night Out! Thanks to the dedicated members of our Police, Fire, and Public Works departments, as well as the Volunteer Rescue Squad, for providing such a great evening of family entertainment.
As we continue to hear more about the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant of COVID, I urge everyone to take the proper precautions and follow the CDC guidance to help prevent additional infections. The CDC recently reiterated that if you get sick with the alpha variant, you could infect about two other unvaccinated people, whereas if you get sick with the delta variant, the estimation is that you could infect about five other unvaccinated people. While we are fortunate to have a high vaccination rate in Westfield, please remember that children under 12 are not able to be vaccinated yet, and we must rely on masking, distancing, and other best practices to keep them and other vulnerable members of our community protected. I know that this setback with the Delta variant is difficult for many with young children, and I continue to urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.
On a separate note, we have our next Town Council meeting on Tuesday, August 10 in Town Hall. In accordance with the updated CDC guidance, masks are now required for all those entering the building. Public comment for the meeting will be accepted in person only, although you can continue to view it via Facebook Live. I look forward to another productive session.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!
As you know, the CDC now recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in public if they live in an area with substantial or high transmission levels. Union County is currently categorized as having a substantial level of transmission. Those who aren't fully vaccinated are urged to wear masks in those settings, regardless of transmission level.
Regional Health Officer Megan Avallone reports that all six regions in New Jersey now show moderate levels of activity, with each region showing an increase in case rate and percent positivity from the week before. Locally, regionally, and statewide, the numbers are unfortunately trending in the wrong direction. Additionally, this week’s variant report shows that 83.9% of COVID-19 samples sequenced over the last four weeks were of the Delta variant. As a result, Governor Murphy announced today that all children in grades K-12 will be required to mask while in school.
Locally, 48 cases were identified in Westfield during the month of July, up from 19 cases in June. Of these 48 cases, the age ranges are broken down as follows:
21 of these cases were in residents who were identified as being fully vaccinated. It is worth noting that all 21 of these breakthrough cases had mild symptoms or remained asymptomatic. And while breakthrough cases are occurring, the CDC has stated that the unvaccinated are still eight times more likely to get infected, and 25 times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID.
- Age 9 and under: Five cases
- Age 10-19: Four cases
- Age 20-29: Nine cases
- Age 30-39: Ten cases
- Age 40-49: Four cases
- Age 50-59: Seven cases
- Age 60-69: Seven cases
- Age 70-79: No cases
- Age 80-89: One case
- Age 90 and above: One case
I’m also saddened to report an additional death -- a hospitalized 80 year-old, unvaccinated resident.
While we are seeing increases in cases from last month, the 48 cases for July 2021 is markedly lower than the 108 cases we reported one year ago in July 2020, due largely to the vaccination levels in the community.
The state’s seven-day average for new confirmed cases is up 36% from a week ago and up 423% from a month ago -- the highest rate since May 10 -- and the statewide transmission rate is 1.37.
Statewide, vaccination rates have increased 16% from last week’s rate, with an average of 20.1K doses administered per day. More than 5.3 million New Jersey residents are fully vaccinated. About 58% of New Jersey’s population is inoculated, ranking seventh in the country, compared to the 51% national average.
In Union County, 356,123 (64% of the total population) have received one dose of vaccine, and 315,737 (56.7% of the total population) are fully vaccinated. This week, Union County saw an average of 55 new COVID cases a day (up from 12 cases a day four weeks ago).
In Westfield, 95% of those 65 and older, 94% of those 30 and older, 96% of the adult population (18+), and 75% of the entire population has been vaccinated with at least one dose. Fortunately, the percentage of fully vaccinated residents continues to increase, reflecting 91% of those 65 and older, 89% of those 30 and older, 90% of adults (18+), and 70% of the entire population.
In addition, we now have access to vaccination data in the 12-17 age group for the first vaccination dose only, which is currently 60% in Westfield.
Immunization outreach efforts by the Health Department are in full swing, as they continue to meet people where they are. In total, the department administered 43 COVID vaccinations during the month of July, and they are continuing to offer vaccinations in homes and offices for those 12 and above. Any resident interested in receiving the vaccine can call 908-789-4070. The Health Department has also sent a notification to all child care centers informing them that they will come to their center to vaccinate interested parents and staff. Additionally, they are hosting a vaccination clinic in Westfield on August 11, from 4:00 - 7:00 PM, at Town Hall for anyone age 12 and up. No pre-registration is needed and they will offer both the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Lastly, and importantly, the department continues to monitor cases and will be working with the schools to ensure that each district is ready to fully reopen in September.
Chief Battiloro reports the following notable incidents since my last update:
A resident of the 400 block of Beechwood Place reported the theft of his 2020 Dodge Durango from the driveway of his residence during the early morning hours. This vehicle was left unlocked with its key fob in it at the time of the theft. The car was subsequently recovered in Newark later that day by the Newark Police Department, following a crash with a police vehicle. Several persons were arrested in possession of the stolen vehicle, including the same 16-year old male from Newark arrested the week prior for possession of the 2017 BMW X5 reported stolen from Cherokee Court on July 17.
A resident of the 900 block of Willow Grove Road reported that home security footage captured a thin male wearing a hooded sweatshirt and white sneakers attempting to enter her 2021 Audi wagon while it was parked in the driveway of her residence at approximately 3:00 AM. This vehicle was locked and no entry was gained.
A resident of the 30 block of Normandy Drive reported that home security footage captured a thin male wearing a hooded sweatshirt and white sneakers entering his 2013 BMW X5 while it was parked in the driveway of his residence at approximately 3:38 AM. This vehicle was left unlocked, but no key fob was present in the vehicle.
A resident reported the theft of her 2020 Volvo SUV from the driveway of her son’s residence located on the 400 block of Edgewood Avenue at approximately 1:58 PM. It was left unlocked and unattended with its ignition running at the time of theft. The 2020 Volvo SUV was subsequently recovered in Newark several hours later as a result of the efforts of our officers assigned to the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft Task Force.
At approximately 5:40 PM, a 2020 gray Audi occupied by 4-5 males was observed present in the private parking lot of Echo Lake Country Club. One of its occupants exited the vehicle and was making his way towards two parked BMWs when he noticed his actions were being observed. He returned to the Audi, which subsequently fled the area. The vehicle was identified by its registration as stolen from Montclair earlier in the day. Police information continues to indicate that country clubs remain a target for vehicle burglaries and thefts. Two such incidents were also reported at country clubs in Morris Township during the late afternoon hours on the same date.
There have been 18 reported vehicles stolen in Westfield to date in 2021. Sixteen of those stolen vehicles were left unlocked with their keys or key fobs in them at the time of the thefts. Additionally, 16 of those 18 stolen vehicles have since been recovered, most as a direct result of the investigative efforts of our police.
As Chief Battiloro continually reiterates, unlocked vehicles with keys or key fobs in them remain THE contributing factors of nearly every single vehicle theft. Please take appropriate action to protect your property and please continue to report all suspicious persons, vehicles and/or activities immediately to the police via 9-1-1. Chief Battiloro advises that officers responding to residents’ reports of suspicious vehicles, persons, and activities have undoubtedly prevented additional vehicle burglaries and thefts from occurring.
For a more inclusive account of police activities, please see the weekly Police Blotter, which is posted every Tuesday on the Westfield Police Department’s website (www.wpdnj.org), as well as on their Facebook (@WestfieldNJPD), and Instagram (@westfieldnjpd) pages.
It was another very productive week for road paving, as our contractor is moving quickly and the weather has been cooperating! I want to thank everyone for your patience with the road closures and detours necessary to complete this work, which we anticipate resulting in 18 miles of newly paved roads in 2021!
Since my last update, the following roads have been milled and paved:
We also anticipate the following roads to have paving completed by the end of today:
- Manitou Circle
- Unami Terrace
- Marlin Court
- Mohican Drive
- Davis Court
- Carol Drive
- Wychview Drive
- Karen Terrace
- Hampton Court
- Dudley Court
- Alden Avenue
- Highland Avenue (Dudley to Alden)
- Bradford Avenue (Mountain to Colonial)
- Standish Avenue (Alden to Colonial)
- Prospect Street (Dudley to Ferris)
- Clark Street (Ludlow to North)
Our next round of work will be on the following roads:
- Nelson Place
- Ludlow Place
- Ferris Place
- Cowperthwaite Place: Clark to Prospect
Milling will be followed by paving and striping. As always, all work is weather permitting.
- Boynton Avenue (E. Grove to end))
- Elizabeth Avenue (Central to Boynton)
- Pine/Boynton (Ripley to cul-de-sac)
- Hardwick Avenue (entire length)
- Cedar Street (entire length)
- Cambridge Road (entire length)
- Avon Road (entire length)
- Eton Place (entire length)
- Welch Way (entire length)
- Grandview Avenue (Roger to Twin Oaks)
- Tice Place (Clifton to Montauk)
- Radley Road (entire length)
- Pine Court (entire length)
- Radley Court (entire length)
- Kirkview Court (entire length)
- Lambert Court (entire length)
- Bayberry Lane (entire length)
- Rahway Avenue (Summit Court to Town line)
As a reminder, our multi-year paving plan lays out approximately 40 miles of roads to be paved through 2024, which, in addition to the nearly 29 miles we paved in 2018-2020, represents about 69% of the Town’s total road mileage -- an unprecedented paving undertaking. You can see the plan and follow our progress on the Town website.
Thanks to everyone who joined my Town Talk session on Facebook Live with Westfield resident and Inside Edition correspondent Les Trent on Monday. While this conversation was focused on the downtown, we’ll hold additional chats in the coming weeks and months devoted to other relevant topics in Westfield. Please send your suggestions for topics, along with your questions, to email@example.com.