Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla provides this weekend’s COVID update, including the announcement that more vaccines are on the way:
Advisory: Update from Mayor Bhalla on COVID-19; Hoboken Receives 1,100 Pfizer vaccines
The Hoboken Health Department has reported the following, new COVID-19 cases in Hoboken:
March 13: 19
March 14: 24
March 15: 9
March 16: 16
March 17: 40
March 18: 24
March 19: 31
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hoboken has had a total of 4,057 known, confirmed cases. I’m saddened to report an additional COVID-19 fatality that occurred earlier this month, a female in her early 70s. I send my deepest condolences to her family and friends during this difficult time.
Additional 1,100 Pfizer vaccine doses secured for Hoboken
I’m very pleased to share that we have been able to secure 1,100 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be administered this upcoming week at Carepoint. This is in addition to 300 second doses the Hoboken Health Department received for next week of the Moderna vaccine. The substantial increase in our vaccine supply is great news for our community, and I’m appreciative to County Executive Tom DeGise and Commissioner Anthony Romano for working with my office to nearly quadruple our first does allocations.
As of Friday, the Hoboken Health Department and staff from Carepoint have administered a total of 4,504 doses, which includes 3,084 first and 1,420 second doses.
I want to extend a note of thanks to our Hoboken Health Department, and in particular Director Leo Pellegrini and Chief Registered Environmental Health Specialist Lynette Medeiros, who has been coordinating the continued vaccine distribution at Carepoint. I’m also grateful to Carepoint’s staff for going above and beyond to make everyone comfortable at the time of vaccination, and for working extra hours in recent weeks. These healthcare professionals are some of the real heroes of the pandemic, and we appreciate their efforts on behalf of our community.
Pharmacies with vaccine supply
Currently, two CVS locations in Hoboken are receiving periodic vaccine doses. In other parts of the State, Rite Aid and Walgreens have received some vaccine supplies. To view availability and schedule appointments, please visit their websites:
Volunteers helping with securing vaccine appointments
I thank a new group of local volunteers who are helping secure appointments for Hoboken residents in locations outside of Hoboken, due to supply limitations. If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, are a Hoboken resident and able to travel, but are having trouble securing a vaccine appointment, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org along with your name and phone number.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will continue to accept phone calls at 201-420-5621 to pre-register eligible Hoboken residents to receive the vaccine through the Hoboken Health Department and Carepoint, as well as Riverside Medical Group, which can also be done at http://www.hobokennj.gov/vaccinesignup.
To view options to register for the vaccine through the State’s sites and Hudson County site in Kearny, please visit Hoboken’s dedicated vaccine page at http://www.hobokennj.gov/vaccine.
Current vaccine eligibility
As mentioned last week, the State of New Jersey has made the following populations eligible to receive the vaccine – healthcare workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, residents and staff at high-risk congregate care facilities, first responders, seniors above 65 years of age, those ages 16-64 with chronic medical conditions, Pre-K to 12 educators and support staff, child care workers, transportation workers, public safety workers, migrant farm workers, members of tribal communities, and individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters.
Rental relief through the State of New Jersey
Governor Murphy and the State of New Jersey are initiating a new rental assistance program, to provide relief to low and moderate-income households in New Jersey that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the pandemic. Households who live in Hoboken and New Jersey can apply who:
1. Qualify for unemployment or have experienced a significant reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19 outbreak.
2. Demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
3. Have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median.
The State Department of Community Affairs will be accepting pre-applications for this program, beginning on Monday, March 22 at 9:00 am. This is on a first-come, first-serve basis and applications will only be accepted until a certain point.
For more information, including required documentation and the application process, please visit https://njdca.onlinepha.com/.
Stimulus funding for Hoboken through the American Rescue Plan
As announced yesterday, Senator Bob Menendez shared some good news about a new pot of $28.6 billion funding from the American Rescue Plan dedicated specifically for restaurants, bars and food establishments which have been hit especially hard during the pandemic. That funding allocation will soon be available, and when it is, we will provide information on how business owners can apply.
While it comes from the overall $1.9 trillion American Recovery Plan, Hoboken’s recent allocation of $27 million is separate and apart from the funding for food establishments. As mentioned in a previous announcement, we are working with our federal elected officials to establish criteria for this funding, a large portion of which may be dedicated for rental relief, another relief fund for businesses impacted by the pandemic, non-profit funding, and more. We plan to roll out this plan, as well as application process, in the coming weeks as well.
Standing up for our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities
While recent acts of violence taking the lives of six Asian American women occurred far from Hoboken in Georgia, it still hits home for many members of our community. Sadly, these horrific acts come at a time during the pandemic when Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have been subject to racism, discrimination, and xenophobia that has absolutely no place in our society.
Let me be clear: we in Hoboken condemn these abhorrent events and racism in all forms. Not only must we as citizens and leaders openly condemn these actions, but also reaffirm our commitment to anti-racism, and to truly acknowledge the enormous pain and suffering that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other historically marginalized communities experience daily.
One way you can make a difference is to stop by and shop local at our Asian American businesses in Hoboken, of which there are several. I thank Senator Menendez, Commissioner Anthony Romano and Councilwoman Emily Jabbour for stopping by Baking Mama with me yesterday afternoon to show support to one of Hoboken’s finest Asian-American owned businesses owners, Tina Rivera, and all of our Asian American community members.
50% capacity for certain businesses
As of yesterday, Governor Murphy announced that restaurants, gyms, fitness clubs, barber shops, salons and personal care businesses are permitted to increase capacity to 50%. Previously, the capacity was set at 35%. The State is continuing to prohibit bar seating at bars and restaurants.
Taking the necessary precautions
Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Fauci indicated that the highly contagious variant identified in the United Kingdom may account for up to 30% of all infections in the United States. Health officials say that the variant could become the dominant strain by the end of this month or early April. To help prevent the further replication of the variant, and to keep our community safe, it makes it all the more important to get vaccinated when it’s your turn, and continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations to wear a mask, social distance, avoid travel to hot spots, and prioritize outdoor activities.
Thank you Hoboken, please stay safe, and know that together, we’ll get through this with brighter days ahead.
Ravi S. Bhalla
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