Advisory: Update from Mayor Bhalla on COVID-19 (11/25)
Below is an update from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla on COVID-19:
Impact of COVID-19 in Hoboken
The Hoboken Health Department reported the following new, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hoboken:
November 23: 22 new, confirmed cases
November 24: 22
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1,353 known, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hoboken. Fatalities thankfully remain unchanged at 31. We will post the recovery count in the next update to residents. The Hoboken University Medical Center is currently treating 13 patients with COVID-19, which includes four Hoboken residents.
Governor Phil Murphy and the State of New Jersey yesterday reported the following:
- 4,383 new, confirmed cases
- 48 COVID-19 related deaths
- 1.27 rate of transmission (anything above 1 indicates the virus is spreading)
- 2,785 COVID-19 related hospitalizations, which are up for the 25th day in a row
There is no way to sugar coat it – numbers are continuing to rise in Hoboken and New Jersey, in the midst of our second wave. We unfortunately expect numbers to increase even more given the holiday season, colder weather, and increased likelihood of indoor gatherings. As always, I encourage all residents to take the necessary precautions that will protect us to the greatest extent possible until a vaccine is widely distributed: avoid socializing – especially indoors – with others outside the household, wear a face mask whenever you’re outside your home, maintain six feet of distance from others at all times, and avoid crowds.
Please take additional precautions of gathering with family on Thanksgiving
As mentioned in previous updates, the best way to give thanks to your family members this Thanksgiving is by staying home and keeping them safe. We only need to look to Canada, where COVID-19 cases surged in the weeks after Canadians celebrated their Thanksgiving in October.
If you do happen to gather with extended friends or family, please note the characteristics of the virus, and that a negative test is not a guarantee of being virus free. If you received a COVID-19 test on Monday, but went to an indoor gathering one day before and were exposed, the test has a high likelihood of coming back negative – even if 7 days after the initial test, you test positive. A COVID-19 test is more likely to be accurate at least 5-7 days after a potential exposure.
All this is to say that even with a negative test, if you are gathering with others, please consider taking the precautions of keeping groups small, staying outside if possible, and social distancing and wearing a face mask whenever practical.
For more on this topic, I encourage residents to read the CNN article, “Don’t rely on a negative test for Thanksgiving”: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/16/health/thanksgiving-family-covid-testing-wellness/index.html?fbclid=IwAR04VpUOuYPD4VQ8i8mZ7Iu6Z7uYwKwNzcFYhBAZkjLExoONt1lXrV93lNo.
If on Thanksgiving or over the weekend you attended a large, indoor gathering or situation where you may have been exposed, as mentioned above, please be sure to wait at least 5-7 days to get tested. If this type of incident occurs on Thanksgiving, please wait until at least Wednesday to get a COVID-19 test, to ensure accurate results.
Distributing a vaccine once available
I remain optimistic that a vaccine will be distributed the general public in the coming months – something we’ve all been waiting for and anticipating. We have been working closely with our partners in Hudson County and the Governor’s office to ensure that once a vaccine is determined to be safe and available, we are able to provide it as efficiently as possible to Hoboken residents. We anticipate initial distribution in Hoboken focusing on vulnerable communities and frontline workers, followed by the general public.
Discounted PPE for small businesses
New Jersey small businesses and non-profits are now eligible for discounts of up to 70% of PPE, purchased through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. Businesses can apply for these discounts by visiting covid19.nj.gov/ppeaccess by December 10.
I want to thank our four COVID-19 testing providers – Riverside Medical Group, Prompt MD, Medicine Man Pharmacy and ivee for partnering with the City to increase testing capacity with us over the past week. Due to a number of factors, including the Thanksgiving holiday, a substantial uptick in cases, travel, exposure incidents, and more, we had the highest demand for testing since the start of the pandemic. Yesterday alone, with our partners at public testing sites, over 1,000 residents signed up for a test – which doesn’t include those who were tested at other medical offices.
Next week, Riverside Medical Group will continue COVID-19 testing six days a week at a new indoor location. We will provide further details about location and timings for this new indoor location in the coming days. Prompt MD will continue to provide testing on Monday, Thursday and Friday. We will also look to add testing days with our other partners, as we continue to revise our schedule to meet high testing demand. This is one of our highest priorities in the City.
Sign-up for testing with Riverside Medical Group (Hoboken residents only): http://www.hobokennj.gov/riverside.
Sign-up for testing with Prompt MD (Hoboken residents and Hoboken business employees): http://www.hobokennj.gov/promptmd.
Please note that Prompt MD, Medical Man Pharmacy, and ivee will do everything possible to provide PCR testing results from this week by Thursday, although results could potentially take longer.
PCR tests obtained through Prompt MD and Medical Man Pharmacy utilize Star Laboratories, which can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if a test result is not obtained 72 hours after a test. If reaching out to Star Labs through email is not successful, please feel free to email email@example.com so our Health Department can follow-up. Ivee is using a different laboratory, which will be emailing results directly to residents.
Additional testing in Hoboken Housing Authority provided by Governor Murphy and NJ Department of Health
I’m pleased to share that Governor Murphy and the State of New Jersey are providing Hoboken with new pop-up testing options in the Hoboken Housing Authority. On December 4 and December 18, the New Jersey Department of Health will host COVID-19 testing from 1 pm – 7 pm in the community room at 221 Jackson Street. The testing provided will be a saliva-based test, and those getting tested should not eat or drink 30 minutes prior to the test. No appointments are necessary, and insurance is encouraged, but not required.
Thank you to the Governor and his team for working with us to prioritize this testing for the Housing Authority and Hoboken residents, as well as Hoboken Housing Authority Marc Recko the partnership on these events.
Battle of the Booty
Despite all that we’ve been through since the start of the pandemic, I want to express my gratitude to our many compassionate residents who are continuing to give back to our community and raise funds for worthy causes. Over the weekend, our local gyms including Hudson River Athletics, Fit Foundry, The Inner Athlete, Crossfit Hoboken and Brazen Athletics held the “Battle of the Booty”, a socially distanced fundraiser in which gyms hosted squat competitions among participants. Together, the gyms combined for a total of 23,253 squats, and most importantly – raised over $15,000 for the Hoboken Food Pantry, which provides food and supplies to those in need. Congratulations and thank you to the gyms, participants, and Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG) of Hoboken for sponsoring the event!
Thanksgiving meals at Mario’s Pizza
One of Hoboken’s finest Thanksgiving traditions is continuing this year, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. Mario Albunia and his staff at Mario’s Classic Pizza are once again cooking and providing free Thanksgiving meals to anyone who needs one, regardless of circumstances. This is especially meaningful this year given that many residents may not be celebrating in-person with family and friends, and the hunger insecurities that some face during the holidays.
If you would like a meal delivered or know someone who needs one, stop by 742 Garden Street beginning at 12 pm on Thursday, or call 201-659-0808. Meals will be provided for take-out or delivery this year. Thank you to Mario, his staff, and the residents who are helping continue this wonderful service to our community.
Delivering Thanksgiving meals to our seniors
To help provide some Thanksgiving cheer to our seniors, we provided freshly cooked pre-Thanksgiving meals to nearly 1,000 seniors in our senior buildings today. I’m greatly appreciative to all of the volunteers who helped make this happen, and also to children from Hoboken Charter School who helped provide letters of thanks to each of our seniors receiving meals. Thank you also to the Hoboken Community Center for partnering with us to pack and deliver the meals, and to Director Pellegrini for organizing the deliveries.
Wishing all of Hoboken a Happy Thanksgiving
As we celebrate Thanksgiving with household members, virtually, in-person, or safely with extended family, I wish each and every one of you the best of health and extend my best wishes for a safe holiday.
All the best,
Ravi S. Bhalla
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