Assemblyman Thomson To Introduce Antibody Testing Legislation
Assemblyman Edward Thomson announced plans today to introduce legislation establishing COVID-19 antibody testing in what he hopes will be the start of efforts to reopen the state’s economy.
“Antibody tests are key to resuming close-to-normal life, because it could determine whether enough people have immunity to protect those who haven’t contracted the virus,” said Assemblyman Thomson (R-Monmouth). “As it becomes available, we need to use this tool to begin reopening the state safely and restarting our economy.”
Antibody tests are a way of establishing whether a person has had an illness and that his body has some capacity to fight further infection. Public health experts have said that mass availability of accurate antibody tests are an essential piece of allowing society to begin a return to normalcy.
Assemblyman Thomson’s legislation would require New Jersey’s Health Department to conduct antibody testing or contract it out to a company. Results would be analyzed and published on the department’s website.
“Every day the state is closed, our residents’ and business owners’ struggles are multiplied and New Jersey gets closer to economic collapse,” he said. “We need to get the infrastructure in place to begin widespread testing so we can end this shutdown as soon as possible.”
According to a statement by Assemblyman Thomson’s office, more than 90 companies have developed antibody tests and New York state recently began a widespread testing program for antibodies. Yet some of those presently in use have produced a relatively high number of inaccurate results. Additionally, health experts are not yet certain to what extent the presence of antibodies protects a person from contracting COVID-19 a second time, or if so, for how long.
Deadlines for Mail-In Primary Voting Postponed
Following a statewide delay in primary voting in response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Ocean County publicized a postponement of its deadline to register for mail-in voting to June 30.
Primaries were initially scheduled to take place on June 2, but an order by Governor Phil Murphy pushed the date back to July 7 to allow for state officials to plan appropriately for altered protocols to accommodate public health concerns. The governor also said that the later date would allow time to see if votes could safely be cast in person or if the entire primary would be conducted by alternative means.
Only registered Republicans or Democrats are eligible to pick candidates for their party to stand in the 2020 elections. The deadline for submission of a form declaring or changing one’s party affiliation has also been pushed back to May 13. The Ocean County Clerk Office has been closed to the public for the time being, but forms to declare party affiliation or to request a mail-in ballot are available on its website.
As in most years, New Jersey’s primary is being held long after candidates for the upcoming presidential election have been settled. The most significant local primary race will likely be choosing a Republican contender to take on Democratic Congressman Andy Kim, whose district includes Toms River. The county GOP has endorsed David Richter, who leads a global construction company, but he faces two competitors for what is likely to be a highly competitive race.
Court Invalidates Women’s and Men’s Hours at Country Place Pool
A federal appeals court struck down rules that allowed for separate pool use hours for men and woman at a Lakewood retirement community.
A Country Place has increasingly become a popular residence for Orthodox seniors seeking to live closer to their children in the Lakewood area. By 2016, when, according to court documents, some two-thirds of its residents were Orthodox Jews, rules for use of its pool were adjusted to allow for separate hours by gender.
The rules were challenged as discriminatory by three residents — Diana and Steve Lusardi and Marie Curto.
The court ruling invalidated the rules due to the fact that unequal hours had been allotted for men and women but did not say that such an arrangement was inherently unlawful.
Brick Man Arrested For Harassing Orthodox Shopper
Brick Police arrested a man for harassing an Orthodox shopper at a store last week.
Francis Dudas, 51, of Brick allegedly began making offensive comments to the shopper upon entering a department store on Route 70 this past Monday evening. He then followed him around the store, ultimately yelling at him, “Go back to Lakewood,” and implying that the Orthodox shopper was putting others at risk of contracting COVID-19.
The victim called local police, who used a drone to locate Dudas in a wooded area along Cedar Bridge Avenue and arrested him. He has been charged with simple assault, harassment, terroristic threats and two counts of bias intimidation.