With Thanks To All Partners, the Morris County Drive-Thru COVID-19 Test Site Ceases Operations On June 26, 2020

The Morris County drive-thru COVID-19 test site, started on March 30 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, closed down on Friday, June 26, after more than 8,000 people were tested over the past 13 weeks.

Supervising Nurse K.J. Feury of Atlantic Health System, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Morris County Law and Public Safety Director Scott DiGiralomo at the Morris County COVID-19 test site on June 26, 2020.
Supervising Nurse K.J. Feury of Atlantic Health System, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Morris County Law and Public Safety Director Scott DiGiralomo at the Morris County COVID-19 test site on June 26, 2020.

Operators of the test site on the County College of Morris campus – including Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Sheriff’s Officers – spent Friday morning assisting a steady stream of 225 people with last-day appointments for nasal swabbings that would show after a lab analysis whether they were positive for COVID-19.

The last day was also one of gratitude that the partnership between multiple agencies that led to creation of the test site worked seamlessly and efficiently.  Sheriff Gannon noted that when testing first began, 43 percent of the individuals tested were confirmed positive for COVID-19.

In recent days, the number of people whose test at the site was positive had dropped to less than 1 percent, the Sheriff said.

Morris County Sheriff's Officer Stephen Nowatkowski assists a medical technician with securing their personal protective equipment at the Morris County COVID-19 test site on June 26, 2020.
Morris County Sheriff’s Officer Stephen Nowatkowski assists a medical technician with securing their personal protective equipment at the Morris County COVID-19 test site on June 26, 2020.

He called all the test site partners courageous, saying they put themselves at risk though attired in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) because they wanted to help others combat the virus in as calm a way as possible. Along with Morris County Department of Law and Public Safety Director Scott DiGiralomo, Sheriff Gannon on Friday addressed several groups of test site workers with words of thanks.

“I think of the word courage to describe what happened here. We didn’t know what was going on. We were looking at the wind every day, how the wind was blowing, because we didn’t know what was going on in those early days. But it was courage that had you people step up to the plate to say ‘We got this, we’ll take care of it,’” Sheriff Gannon said.

Partners in the test site included the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, the Morris County Office of Emergency Management and Office of Health Management, both of which Scott DiGiralomo oversees; Atlantic Health System, which provided nurses and medical technicians to do the swabbings; the Morris County Medical Reserve Corps, Morris County Park Police, County College of Morris, and the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy Fire Division.

As they have been since March 30, Fire Division Instructors Scott Warner and Bill Hamilton were on-scene Friday, assisting the medical technicians and Supervising Registered Nurse K.J. Feury with putting on their Tyvek suits and hoods before taking swabs and then decontaminating their protective gear at regular intervals.

Scott Warner, left, and Bill Hamilton, right, assist medical technician Francis  Reardon with his personal protective equipment at the Morris County COVID-19 test site on June 26, 2020.
Scott Warner, left, and Bill Hamilton, right, assist medical technician Francis Reardon with his personal protective equipment at the Morris County COVID-19 test site on June 26, 2020.

“This is a great group of people and it’s amazing how it all worked out so well,” said K.J. Feury.

The Bar Foundation of the Morris County Bar Association thanked the operators Friday by ordering pizza for all the test site workers.

CCM President Dr. Anthony Iacono also thanked the partners and said he marveled at how smoothly the test site ran.

“They say it takes a village, but wow, what a village.  You folks just did an absolutely amazing job,” Dr. Iacono said.

 

 

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Reaches Milestone of 500 County ID Cards Issued To At-Risk Residents

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office has achieved the milestone of issuing 500 photo Identification Cards to Morris County residents, enabling many to access vital medical and social services and even obtain a library card.

Sheriff’s Office Senior System Analyst Russell Moser reached the benchmark on June 23, virtually three years to the day that Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon launched the Morris County ID Card program on June 22, 2017, in partnership with the Morris County Department of Human Services.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon with Sheriff's Office Senior System Analyst Russell Moser.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon with Sheriff’s Office Senior System Analyst Russell Moser.

Free to Morris County residents between the ages of 18 and 54, the photo ID Card program was designed to help at-risk and struggling individuals – particularly those who may lack a driver’s license – prove their names and residency so they can  access medical, rehabilitative, housing and other social service programs.

After the Sheriff, the Chief Sheriff’s Officer or a Captain verify the identity of ID Card applicants through other supporting documents, Analyst Moser issues the plastic, credit card-sized IDs that contain the individual’s name, address, birthdate, gender, height, weight and eye color.  The cards are valid for four years.

The ID cards are part of a mosaic of programs that Sheriff Gannon has started since taking office in January 2017, some in partnership with other departments or non-profit agencies, that assist at-risk individuals.  The Sheriff credited Analyst Moser with approaching the duty with empathy and a desire to help individuals in need.

“All our programs begin with proper identification. A person cannot get into rehab, detox or intensive out-patient programs without ID.  Talking about literacy, a person cannot get a library book without ID,” Sheriff Gannon said.

“I’d suggest this may be one of the most important things we do in providing services to people. The people who come to us for ID are those with issues of addiction, mental health disorders, and perhaps homelessness. It’s rewarding to me, and it’s rewarding to Russ (Moser) because we do see people standing up a little taller when they leave than when they entered,” Sheriff Gannon said.

The cards, labeled Official Morris County Identification Card, are valid only for identification purposes and may not necessarily be accepted by certain agencies that require a state ID. They can be used as back-up identity documentation and assist a person in obtaining additional proofs of ID.

The Office of the Morris County Clerk separately issues Identification Cards to individuals 55 years of age or older and to U.S. veterans.

To obtain a Morris County Identification Card from the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, an individual must prove his or her citizenship or legal status by presenting a U.S. birth certificate, a valid U.S. passport, a permanent resident card, or a naturalization certificate/certificate of citizenship.

In addition, applicants must prove his or her identity and Morris County residency by presenting a valid New Jersey driver’s license or a New Jersey Non-Driver ID Card, or alternatively, two items such as a valid library card, voter registration card, auto registration, Social Security Card, health insurance or work ID with a photo, plus a recent mailing to his or her home address.

For more information on the program and how to obtain a Morris County ID Card, please visit:

https://sheriff.morriscountynj.gov/community/morris-county-id-card/

 

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Officers Help Partners Welcome People In Need To Food Distribution Site At County College of Morris

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Agency Officers joined Table of Hope and County College of Morris leaders and volunteers Tuesday in distributing free produce, canned goods, meat and dairy products from the CCM campus to anyone in need.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, joined by Teresa Williams, greets volunteers at the Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry distribution at County College of Morris on June 23.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, joined by Teresa Williams, greets volunteers at the Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry distribution at County College of Morris on June 23.

The event on June 23 drew supportive appearances from New Jersey First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy and United States Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, who applauded the generous outreach at a time when many families have been economically devastated by the COVID-19 healthcare crisis.

The food distribution was primarily hosted by County College of Morris and Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry, a non-profit program of the Morristown-based Spring Street Community Development Corporation (Spring Street CDC).

Student and community volunteers turned out to assist with sorting and bagging lentils, cereals, dried cherries, meat, tuna fish, and an abundance of lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables donated by Alstede Farms.  Morris County Sheriff’s Officers, along with CCM Security Officers, were responsible for traffic control, ingress and egress from the site but many helped unload trucks and carry boxes to prepping tables.

Volunteers sort groceries during the June 23 Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry food distribution at County College of Morris.
Volunteers sort groceries during the June 23 Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry food distribution at County College of Morris.

A team from the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile addiction and mental health outreach program was on-scene to pass out literature but team members also spent much of their time separating food items and loading groceries into bags.

Morristown Pastor Sidney Williams and his wife, Teresa Williams, formed the Spring Street CDC about 10 years ago, and since March have distributed more than two tons of food to people in need around Morris County through the Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry.

As vehicles were lining up for the no-contact distribution of bags of food placed in their trunks by volunteers, Sheriff Gannon and others commended the mission to keep families nourished and healthy throughout the pandemic.

“I’m very honored to be here and very honored to be your Morris County Sheriff,” he said. “This is a partnership.  What I see when I look out here today is people who are going to make a direct difference in the lives of other people. These are our neighbors, these are our friends. It’s a tough year, 2020.”

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Andreas Zaharopoulos, in blue shirt, and Sheriff's Officer Stephen Chiarella, in yellow vest, assist at a food distribution event at County College of Morris on June 23.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Andreas Zaharopoulos, in blue shirt, and Sheriff’s Officer Stephen Chiarella, in yellow vest, assist at a food distribution event at County College of Morris on June 23.

“This has affected people all across our county, all across our state and nation.  It’s great to play a small part,” the Sheriff said.

CCM President Dr. Anthony Iacono, whose wife and son volunteered at the event, introduced First Lady Murphy, Congresswoman Sherrill, state Senator Anthony Bucco, Morris County Freeholder John Krickus, Pastor Williams and his wife, and others in short, pre-distribution remarks.

All emphasized the need to work harmoniously, without divisiveness, during a crisis.

“You have incredible partnerships here. No one is looking at anyone else and saying ‘Why are you here?’ That’s one of the best things about Morris County,” said First Lady Murphy.

She highlighted Table of Hope’s impact on the community by saying “I think Table of Hope has always served a really important role in the county. If you don’t know you should know, in the last two months Table of Hope has served over two tons of food.”

New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy speaks at the June 23 free food distribution to people in need hosted by Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry and County College of Morris.
New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy speaks at the June 23 free food distribution for people in need hosted by Table of Hope Mobile Food Pantry and County College of Morris.

Mrs. Williams told the volunteers she was simply happy to work with committed volunteers, while Rev. Williams credited Community Food Bank of New Jersey Chief Executive Officer Carlos Rodriguez for his partnership with Table of Hope.

“None of this would be possible without the tremendous help of our partners and networks, like Table of Hope.  The leadership here is really second to none. Just remember, to fight hunger, to nourish New Jersey, it takes all sectors coming together the way we’re experiencing today,” Mr. Rodriguez said.