Hoboken Mayor Bhalla Updates Community on Coronavirus

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla has updated residents on the current COVID-19 situation in the city, including vaccines, testing sites and appointments:

The Hoboken Health Department has reported the following, new COVID-19 cases:

January 20: 7
January 21: 23
January 22: 16

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been a total of 2,560 known, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hoboken. Fatalities remain unchanged at 39. Hoboken University Medical Center reports treating 18 patients with COVID-19, which include two Hoboken residents.

Update on vaccines in Hoboken

I’m glad to share that the Hoboken Health Department, in partnership with Hoboken University Medical Center has completed approximately 500 senior vaccinations as of this evening. Hoboken is working as quickly as possible vaccinating our elderly population with the supply we are given, and working from the senior pre-registration list. Next week, we have another 500 senior vaccination appointments scheduled through a second batch of the City’s supply provided from the State.

I know some with chronic medical conditions who have registered with the State vaccine website have gotten an email recently stating they’re eligible during the current 1B phase. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to accommodate most in this group yet, even though one may meet eligibility, due to our limited supply. Candidly, the amount of vaccines we receive each week as a municipality needs to be increased to allow Hoboken to expand vaccinations to this group in the coming weeks. We still have 1,900 seniors who pre-registered but haven’t yet been vaccinated, and we are working on scheduling them based on our supply.

We have been collaborating closely with Governor Murphy’s office and the Department of Health, and I thank him and his team for everything they’ve done to assist us. I know they are doing everything possible to advocate for more vaccines from the federal government. I’m hopeful that New Jersey, Hudson County and Hoboken will receive more with a renewed push for more vaccine distribution under the Biden administration.

To streamline operations going forward, we are currently programming new software to process pre-registration for those with medical conditions, which will also be used for 1C and general populations. This new software and sign-up system will be used for residents who wish to get vaccinated in Hoboken. While we had anticipated this software would be up early next week, it may take a bit longer than expected as it is being programmed to integrate with the state system. This integration will minimize the need for our staff to manually schedule and conduct extensive data entry, which will also result in a greater capacity for appointments to be scheduled in a shorter amount of time. Once launched, those with chronic medical conditions will be eligible to pre-register to receive the vaccine, and eventually scheduled when supply can accommodate additional appointments.

As a point of clarification from the last communication, we are hoping to complete the first shot of vaccinations to the large majority of seniors by mid-February, and simultaneously obtain more vaccines to expand to the rest of the 1B populations. As with everything vaccine related, this is dependent on our supply, with timelines currently in flux.

Other locations with vaccines

As mentioned in previous updates, I encourage those who currently qualify in the 1B phase to consider pre-registering with Hudson County and monitoring their website (http://hudsoncovidvax.org) for potential vaccine appointments at the Kearny site as they become available. Residents who haven’t yet pre-registered on the State’s vaccine page should also consider doing so at https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/. The State, once registered in their pre-registration system, may send out an appointment to you via email at other locations across New Jersey (such as the recently opened mega sites), if there are openings. For the complete list of vaccination sites in New Jersey listed on the State’s website, please click here: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-eligible-recipients.

Today, one of New Jersey’s six mega-vaccination sites opened at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, the closest mega-site to Hoboken. While appointments are currently listed as full, residents can periodically check back and book an appointment, if eligible and when available at https://www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/covid19/.

Additional tenant advocate hours for Hoboken residents

In partnership with the City Council, we are providing additional hours for Hoboken’s tenant advocate, who is providing free legal advice for Hoboken residents with any issue related to a tenancy. This is especially critical now given that residents may be struggling due to COVID-19 or loss of income, and we want to let all tenants know their rights. Residents can schedule an appointment with Andrew Sobel, Esq. by calling Mr. Sobel’s office at 973-557-9059 or emailing hfranklin@sobelhan.com with a description of the issue.

New strain of coronavirus now in New Jersey

Today, a new mutation of the coronavirus, also known as the strain found in the United Kingdom, has been confirmed in two cases in New Jersey. Studies have shown that this variant is substantially more contagious and spreads faster than the common coronavirus strain. Fortunately, the medical experts have indicated that the current vaccines will likely protect from the variant.

However, this new strain makes it even more critical to not let our guard down in Hoboken when it comes to taking the necessary precautions. Wearing a mask around others, staying away from indoor gatherings beyond household member, avoiding travel, and social distancing are even more important now than before.

Johnson and Johnson vaccine trial

Johnson and Johnson is moving forward with a new COVID-19 vaccine that requires only one shot, as opposed to the two that are currently required with Pfizer and Moderna. Johnson and Johnson is likely to ask the FDA for emergency approval in the coming weeks, and if granted, could be available in the coming months. This would be a major boost to vaccine distribution across the country, and would substantially maximize efficiency with only one shot needed. This would be a game changer for communities in New Jersey and across the country, especially given that some locations including New York City are having to cancel or postpone second dose shots because of the lack of supply.

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