the

New Jersey Mayor David Fried Discusses Covid-19

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so hi this is Eric Grable I'm a managing

editor for da flyer news and we are

speaking today for a couple of minutes

with the mayor of Robbinsville New

Jersey

David freed thank you for taking a

couple of minutes today mr. mayor to

speak with us we are going to be

focusing on sort of the small government

local steps that are being taken in

actions that are being implemented

regarding the Cova 19 pandemic I guess

my first question is what are some of

the steps that you have taken in your

community to assist maybe the local

healthcare providers or the community of

large and you know testing and dealing

with this whole thing and I guess I can

just let you you know explain sure we

were fortunate when we saw this sort of

breaking loose in China we I had a

little bit of a feeling that this might

turn into a bigger issue than perhaps we

had thought about so I actually called

our our team together and we we began

purchasing supplies ordering supplies

cleaning surprised you know PPE

equipment and started really preparing

for you know what may be coming so you

know back in early January we were we

were all of the curve we had quite a bit

of you know equipment available we had

quite a bit of product available in

cleaning supplies available so we were

very fortunate there and we started

immediately providing it to you know

quite a number of the local authorities

we started providing and sharing it with

their towns we started providing and

sharing it with the county we were also

very lucky and that we had a very large

be a PS temple in our town mm-hmm and

they've been great community partners

with us and they were also being able to

give us a tremendous amount of donations

of masks gloves cleaning equipment so

we've been able to really stay in front

of you know a lot of what what's

happening and also be you know

source for the rest of the county in

terms of having these supplies and

having them be available to our

residents so once we got all of our you

know sort of frontline workers equipped

with PPE we then started to hand it out

to our seniors we'd also started trying

to provide cleaning supplies to those

who are infected and then just this week

we started handing out masks to the

general population or our residents who

were out between 9:30 and then noon

every day giving out mass to the

residents so that everyone can can be

protected ok great so I'm actually gonna

kind of skip the next question do you

use a lot of water

what are some of the challenges that you

face I know you said you guys got out

ahead of the curve a little early but I

mean have there been roadblocks or there

have been anything that's been you know

annoying in the process what have you

lots of annoying things so the biggest

challenge is you know that we had you

know one of one of the things that we

got early was the wisdom you know we had

a large supply of the malaria medicine

brought into the region but the governor

decided to change the rules on that

malaria medicine well it doesn't work

for everyone it does work for some

people at least that's been the reports

that we've gotten and they changed the

rules that you could not receive the

malaria medicine unless you had tested

positive a challenge that we had you

know least locally was was I'm very very

difficult to get tested so we had the

medicine we knew did it worked at least

for some portion of the population but

we couldn't get that population tested

therefore we couldn't get the medicine

to the right people that was very very

frustrating so then we set up a local

testing site in town so Robbinsville is

actually the only town in Mercer County

right now that has its own own local

testing in it the county is testing for

the county but there are two sites in

Mercer County right now we're actually

one of them okay sure so on the flip

side of that um what do you think has

worked if anything exceptionally well or

maybe better than you had anticipated

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you know the violent terrorism and the

donations have been incredible you know

I've been trying to communicate with our

community via Facebook which has turned

into a real good vehicle for me not only

to let people know what's happening but

also to be able to ask for help we've

been asking for cleaning supplies we've

been asking for volunteers you know once

you have an entire family with the with

the virus it gets difficult for them to

go out so we've now got volunteers

willing to shop for families and even

little things that you might take for

granted walking your dog and doing some

other things when the entire family is

infected these little things become more

and more difficult so the the

volunteerism in our community has been

incredible every time I put out a post

and ask for things I immediately get

responses the donations have been

incredible we're seeing you know the

need for food increased dramatically in

fact our Meals on Wheels has now polled

you know our food pantry is being used

more often than we've ever seen before

so we're starting to see that the needs

of those who have been out of work for a

long period of time you know start to

mount up

you know I was not a fan of the closure

of the parks I think people need to go

out and exercise we kept our local parks

open I was a little disappointed to see

the the state in the county parks closed

you know my biggest concerns right now

or you know the food supply making sure

that that you know continues and that

you know we can continue to get the

supplies that we need and also you know

people being able to have the resources

to to be able to just provide themselves

the normal necessities food etc sure do

you have any advice that you could share

with from the experience here with other

you know mayors of maybe a town similar

size are there best practices that

you've been following or is there

anything that you've kind of dealt with

in the moment and said you know this is

this looks like it's a good way to go

we know I listen if you can you know if

you can you know find a way to

communicate effectively with the with

the community that that is number one

I've been lucky you know most of the

town follows my facebook post and I've

been communicating very well the more

you know the more you communicate with

people I think the better off you're

going to be mmm

you know bad news doesn't get any better

better to get it out in front of it

people know what's happening and then

you know being willing to ask for help

me none of us are infallible and when I

find every time I I need help I put it

out there and you know my residents help

me figure it out we got a lot of you

know very very smart people in our

community so you don't have to do it all

yourself you know ask for help ask for

volunteers and you'd be surprised you

know how quickly you can you know be

able to respond to things I think we're

probably one of the only towns in the

region they're literally handing out

mass every resident I mean we were able

to do so because we you know we

literally got in front of as much as we

possibly could and we asked for help and

you know this one knew that one and we

were able to to be able to purchase get

donations and being able to provide

things for our residents um just a

couple more here so is there any one

kind of the provider of the care

provider side of that what do you have

any advice for any look you know medical

personnel or hospitals or you know care

facilities that would be partnering with

local governments is there anything that

they can do to enhance the the two-way

camaraderie and make sure that

everything works as well as it again you

know we've been blessed I mean we had a

local connection with our one of our

pharmacies who had a connection to bring

in the malaria medicine to help treat

our residents we've had a number of

doctors sharing with us what seems to be

working with their patients

we've had a ocean care center partner

with the township and they were actually

willing to put a testing facility

on-site right at the municipal building

where they actually did the testing we

provided the logistics as well as you

know so the traffic control and

everything else so we've had done a

number of public you know private

partnerships working with our churches

you know our our pastors in this

community of more like generals and we

sort of work

donations and also making sure that

those who have the virus are taken care

of and then lastly you know making sure

that those who have the virus don't feel

like they're being about or don't feel

like they're somehow you know being

excluded from your community and we had

a lot of people who you know wanted to

know you know who it was where it was

and you know we had a lot of residents

who had the virus who were feeling you

know like almost like they were wearing

The Scarlet Letter

mm-hmm and you know we immediately tried

to change the tone of that because you

know those who are coming out of

recovery and we've literally got as many

people right now coming out of recovery

as we have going in blue which is a

tremendous statistic these are our new

superheroes these are the folks that I

can send on the front lines these are

the folks who are now donating their

antibodies you know from their blood

these are the folks that I can send to

those who have viruses you know

currently going on and can go shopping

so right you know I really think that

the more we you know communicate with

those who have the virus and show them

that we're here from them is going to

encourage them to to pay it forward and

be there for the next person I know that

our residents who are speaking to people

who have gone through the virus who have

just recently tested positive I found

that to be a really really meaningful

thing to be able to talk to someone

who's gone through it couldn't sort of

share with them some of what's going to

happen that has been something that you

know those who are going through the

virus right now have been very grateful

for okay great and so I guess my last

question would just be was there

anything we were kind of chatting about

here that I didn't hit or that you

didn't hit kind of in your responses

that you wanted to just make clear or

any any special messaging out there that

you had mine I think you're the biggest

thing right now is for people to

remember that this will be over and that

will rebuild our lives that will get our

jobs back then we're going to recover

and you know to continue to just treat

one another as well as you possibly can

I think a lot of people have been inside

for too long people are starting to get

frustrated so just you know to remember

to be patient count to five before you

talk especially online and you know use

kind words I know it sounds silly but

yeah well as as people have been inside

there you know the frustration is

building and you know we just need to

take a breath take a step back and

remember that

you know we're all in this together and

you know hopefully we'll look back on

this and learn a lot of lessons but we

will look back on this and you know

things will improve

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