UPDATE FROM MAYOR BHALLA ON COVID-19
There have been a number of inspiring stories of business owners who, in the face of adversity, are doing everything they can to help others. Although her business has taken a hit, Grace Sciancalepore and her team at Leo’s Grandevous have raised over $5,000 from customers and her own money to help feed our medical professionals at Hoboken University Medical Center, our first responders, Hoboken Shelter members, and more. Thank you to Grace and all business owners who are continuing to give back during this crisis.
Impact of COVID-19 in Hoboken
The Hoboken Health Department reported no new confirmed COVID-19 cases or fatalities in Hoboken on Sunday. We remain at 23 fatalities and 473 known, confirmed cases. The Riverside Medical testing facility is closed on Sundays and reopened this morning for testing. Importantly, of the 473 known, confirmed COVID-19 cases, thankfully 125 have made a full recovery.
Impact of COVID-19 in New Jersey
The State Department of Health last night confirmed a total of 111,188 confirmed, known cases in New Jersey, with 2,146 new cases yesterday. Hudson County has a total of 13,925 cases, behind Bergen County’s 15,104 cases.
We continue to see the apparent flattening of the curve in New Jersey as a whole, with new positive cases in the State remaining relatively flat since April 7. Discharges at hospitals have been exceeding admittances in recent days, and there has also been a reduction in new hospitalizations. This is good news for the State, and I’m hopeful these positive trends continue in the weeks to come.
Expanding COVID-19 testing in Hoboken
We want to ensure every Hoboken resident or frontline worker who thinks they need a test can receive one. Thanks to our rapid, 15-minute tests, Dr. Brahmbhatt and Riverside Medical have expanded testing capabilities in Hoboken. All Hoboken residents or frontline workers having any COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of age or health, or who were in contact with someone who has COVID-19, can receive a test with the results provided on site.
If you believe you should be tested, please do not hesitate to call our City Hall Community Emergency Response Team hotline at 201-420-5621, Monday through Friday from 9 am until 5 pm. It’s important that if you believe you have symptoms, to receive a test, so our Health Department can help contact close contacts of yours to self-quarantine.
We are looking to expand testing even further in Hoboken in the near future and will look to keep you updated.
Supporting Hoboken Businesses during COVID-19
To support local businesses and help people find goods and services during this difficult time, we are compiling a list of Hoboken establishments that are currently open for business in some capacity. If you would like your business to be included, please fill out this short survey with your hours of operation and customer services. The information we receive will be displayed on an online map, providing a valuable resource to residents who would like to find and support local businesses for their daily needs. Please feel free to send this survey to other Hoboken businesses.
Restoring economic health by prioritizing public health
While Hoboken acted early on a number of rules and regulations, a deliberate and regional approach coordinated with Governor Murphy’s office is my preferred course of action as we recover from COVID-19. We continue to have the ultimate goal of restoring our economy but must first prioritize the safety of our residents before this can happen.
Some residents have understandably contacted me, encouraging certain rules and regulations to be relaxed to our self-isolation policy. I know how difficult it has been, and fully recognize that while staying at home is the best and most effective way to stay safe, it is not simply not possible to remain home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for an indefinite period of time. My team is constantly evaluating on the ground observations and considering practical challenges, including those faced by our first responders, as we think about any of adjustments to our current rules and regulations. I believe it’s more important to be cautious as opposed to jumping into any decisions that could unintentionally lead to more infections, and we will continue to evaluate this week and beyond if any modifications can safely be made. While it has been difficult, we continue to ask residents to stay home whenever possible. The data shows it’s making a real positive difference and will lead to a better future with diligence and time.
I watched Governor Phil Murphy’s press conference today, where he outlined his six-step plan to restart New Jersey and provide the benchmarks for recovery. I’m very glad that the Governor shares the viewpoint that we must be guided by prioritizing the health and safety of our residents, which will in turn help restore economic health. The approach that other states like Georgia have taken, I believe are premature and are putting their residents at risk without taking into account sufficient data and science.
According to the Governor, the following principals will guide the process for lifting restrictions in New Jersey:
- Demonstrate Sustained Reductions in New COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations of at least 14 days
- Doubling Testing Capacity
- Implement Robust Contact Tracing
- Secure Safe Places and Resources for Isolation and Quarantine
- Execute a Responsible Economic Restart (includes methodical and strategic return to work based on level of disease transmission risk and essential classification)
- Ensure New Jersey’s resilience for the future
To note, both the State and City’s executive orders pertaining to stay-at-home orders remain in effect until further notice.
Governor Murphy has not yet made a determination on school closings for the rest of the year, with schools currently closed through May 15.
The next city-sponsored Blood Drive will take place this Thursday, April 30th at the Multi Service Center (124 Grand Street). If you are symptomatic or have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID, you will not be able to donate. To check for available appointments, which are required to donate, please visit: https://donor.cbsblood.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/52446
Thank you, Hoboken. Please stay safe.
Ravi S. Bhalla
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