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FAIR HAVEN: TOWN HALL GOES REMOTE AGAIN

fair-haven-borough-hall-011921-2-500x332-6335749Fair Haven’s borough hall and library share the same building on River Road. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

UPDATE: On Tuesday, Little Silver announced it was closing all borough buildings to public access starting Wednesday and until further notice. Details can be found here.

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_02-220x137-6360205Amid a steep rise in positive COVID-19 tests, Fair Haven has put its government and public library at arms-length for the second time in the pandemic.

Borough hall and the library, which share the building at 748 River Road, will be “closed to the public until further notice, due to an increase in Coronavirus cases throughout the region,” the town announced in its daily newsletter Monday afternoon.

The cumulative number of Fair Haven residents infected since the start of the pandemic has risen 25 percent in the past eight weeks, from 618 as of November 1 to 778 as of Monday, according to a report by the Monmouth County commissioners.

Countywide, case totals have grown by 17,798 in that time, with 3,521 added between December 23 and Monday, the county said in its twice-weekly report Monday.

Sixty-six county residents have died from the virus since November 1, according to the reports.

The county has seen 113,623 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in March, 2020, according to the New Jersey Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Fair Haven’s move comes amid an “exponential” rise in infections in multiple countries, driven partly by the Omicron variant identified in late November, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the variant has so far proven less lethal and less likely to cause serious illness than earlier versions of the virus, and on Monday, the CDC shortened its recommended isolation period for those infected but without symptoms to five days, from ten.

The change was “motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after,” the agency said in a statement.

Fair Haven’s offices will continue to operate during regular business hours, with employees reachable via telephone and email, the notice said. Office visits “will be available by appointment on an as-needed basis,” it said.

The annual municipal government reorganization meeting, scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m., will be accessible both in-person, at borough hall, and via Zoom, according to the newsletter.

Library requests may be phoned in to 732-747-0241, extension 220.

Both facilities reopened in June following a 15-month COVID-19 pandemic closure to the public. At the time, Business Administrator Theresa Casagrande said the “entire central office” staff had been vaccinated.

As of early Tuesday, Red Bank and Little Silver had not followed suit. Red Bank is scheduled to hold its reorganization session via Zoom Saturday at 3 p.m., following an in-person swearing-in ceremony at noon, and Little Silver’s is slated for Monday, both in-person. [Correction: the original version of this story incorrectly reported that Red Bank’s reorganization meeting would be in-person.]

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