Coronavirus News: Paterson unveils COVID Task Force to beat pandemic

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh on Thursday unveiled the city's COVID Task Force, created to ensure consistent and saturation-level communication of the path forward and standardized health protocols.

The task force consists of various leaders who will guide the city back onto its feet while making sure the citizens of Paterson are safe and confident that they can remain healthy in the era of COVID-19.

"I know we're asking people to distance themselves socially, and it's a time of separation," Sayegh said. "But for us, it's a time of solidarity.

The task force will include state and local political leaders, education and hospital administrators, public safety officials and more all coming together to communicate one single message.

"If you we can pool our resources and our talents, the people who will benefit the most are the people we serve and the people right now that we are protecting," Sayegh said.

Meanwhile, the Paterson School District is in the process of planning both virtual and in person graduation ceremonies.

Everything will be based on guidelines that were released by the state Department of Education, including using the largest space available, seating students six feet apart, providing a broadcast of the ceremonies, and having multiple graduations for large classes.

Superintendent Eileen Shafer says that's all in the works.

"They'll have to wear face coverings," she said. "We're going to limit it to two guests. Those two guests are going to have to register so that when they come to get into the stadium, we don't have any problems We know who they are. We'll have markings so people know where to sit."

The task force includes:
--School Superintendent Eileen Shafer
--Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly
--Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter
--Municipal Council President, Martiza Davila
--St. Joseph's Hospital President, Kevin Slavin
--PCCC President, Steven Rose
--Fire Chief, Brian McDermott
--Health and Human Service Director, Oshin Castillo-Cruz
--Economic Development Director, Michael Powell
--Chief Data Officer, Harsha Mallajosyula
--Chief Innovation Officer, Ed Boze
--Paterson Housing Authority Director, Irma Gorham
--Director of Downtown SID, Orlando Cruz
--Pastor Kenneth Clayton
--PACC Executive Director Rania Mustafa
--NJCDC CEO, Bob Guarasci

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