Advisory: Update from Mayor Bhalla on COVID-19 For March 6
The Hoboken Health Department has reported the following, new COVID-19 cases:
February 27: 71
February 28: 19
March 1: 57
March 2: 45
March 3: 38
March 4: 27
March 5: 38
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Hoboken has had a total of 3,706 known, confirmed cases. Reported fatalities remain unchanged from last week at 43. Hoboken University Medical Center reports treating 19 patients with COVID-19, which includes 5 Hoboken residents.
Update on recent cases
The Hoboken Health Department reports that a number of the cases reported above stem from a recent backlog cases from a laboratory. However, even taking this into account, it’s clear that cases are continuing to increase, and that it’s still critical to take the virus seriously. As before, contact tracing indicates that many of these new cases can be linked to indoor gatherings, travel outside of New Jersey, and spread from household contacts. As residents make plans for spring break, I ask everyone to consider avoiding traveling out-of-state, especially to hot spots identified by the CDC.
COVID-19 task force formed one year ago
One year ago, we held our first COVID-19 task force meeting, led by Director Leo Pellegrini and Office of Emergency Management Director Sgt. William Montanez, which we formed before the very first case of COVID-19 was even confirmed in Hoboken. I want to extend my thanks to the various community members, health officials, public safety officers, educators, and more who met every weekday through June. The collaborative work and information shared at these meetings helped Hoboken stay at the forefront of handling the beginning of a pandemic that few knew how to handle. It seems hard to believe it’s been a year since then, but I truly believe the task force’s hard work helped us save lives.
Updates to COVID-19 testing schedule
While we continue to offer robust COVID-19 testing for residents, we’ve made a few adjustments to the schedule. Accounting for demand, ivee will no longer be providing testing for the foreseeable future. I thank the ivee team for all they’ve done for our residents and quickly increasing testing during the Thanksgiving and December holidays. Additionally, Prompt MD will be now providing testing on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Employees of Hoboken businesses, in addition to Hoboken residents can now get tested at both Medicine Man Pharmacy as well as Prompt MD. Riverside’s testing schedule has remain unchanged. We will continue to closely monitor the demand for testing and make adjustments as necessary.
To sign-up for a test and view availability, please visit www.hobokennj.gov/testing.
Update on vaccines
Some good news to share: As of last Monday, 11% of Hoboken’s population has been vaccinated, which is likely up to approximately 15% or more as of this week. We anticipate this number to rise substantially as our supply increases. Yesterday, we reached 3,500 total vaccines administered through the Hoboken Health Department and Hoboken University Medical Center, which now includes 2,484 first doses and 1,192 second doses. We are finishing first dose vaccinations for the few remaining seniors on our pre-registration list, and continuing with vaccinations for our high-risk residents on the 1B list with another 300 first doses we have been provided from the State.
Like previous weekends, Dr. Raj Brahmbhatt and Riverside Medical Group will be partnering with the City to provide approximately 125 vaccine doses to the few remaining seniors, and those with medical conditions on our pre-registration lists this upcoming Sunday. Thankfully, Governor Murphy’s office expects vaccine supply to significantly increase come April, and we are expecting larger shipments to Hoboken then as well.
If you are a senior who has not yet been contacted for an appointment but signed up on the senior pre-registration list, please call the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) at 201-420-5621. CERT will help identify those 65 years of age and older who have not yet been contacted who still need a vaccine. Please leave a message with the senior’s name and contact information if you are calling after hours. Family members or friends are also welcome to call CERT on behalf of a senior.
As before, if you have the ability to travel to Kearny or other parts of the state for a vaccine, please monitor the County and State’s vaccine websites for appointment availability:
Hudson County: https://hudsoncovidvax.org/
State of New Jersey: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine
Vaccines at CVS
Various CVS pharmacies in New Jersey are now carrying the COVID-19 vaccine. CVS currently lists one of the Hoboken locations as offering vaccine doses to qualifying populations, although appointments are currently unavailable. To monitor CVS’ supply in Hoboken and at other locations in the State, please visit https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine.
New vaccine eligibility and pre-registration lists
This week, Governor Murphy announced the following frontline populations will be eligible for vaccinations starting March 15:
- Public and local transportation workers, including bus, taxi, rideshare, and airport employees; NJ TRANSIT workers; and Motor Vehicle Commission staff;
- Public safety workers who are not sworn law enforcement or fire professionals, including probation officers and fire safety inspectors;
- Migrant farm workers;
- Members of tribal communities; and,
- Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters, including domestic violence shelters.
The Governor also announced the following frontline populations will be eligible starting March 29:
- Food production, agriculture, and food distribution;
- Eldercare and support;
- Warehousing and logistics;
- Social services support staff;
- Elections personnel;
- Medical supply chain;
- Postal and shipping services;
- Clergy; and,
- Judicial system.
Yesterday, the Governor announced that educators, including support staff, in pre-K through 12th grade settings as well as child workers in licensed and registered settings are now eligible to receive the vaccine.
Pre-registration sign-ups for these frontline groups, similar to our senior and high-risk groups, will be required for those Hoboken residents who wish to get vaccinated through the Hoboken Health Department or Riverside. We will be releasing the Hoboken pre-registration links for these frontline workers in the near future. However, we still have over 2,000 residents who have pre-registered with high-risk medical conditions in the 1B category that have not yet received a first dose, given our supply. I greatly appreciate everyone’s patience as we work with the vaccine doses we’ve been given by the state.
Hudson County site in Kearny
My office is in close contact with staff from Hudson County, which is administering vaccines at their site in Kearny. Often times, their staff will provide us with information on when they will be releasing appointments during the week, which we have been communicating through Nixle. Please monitor these alerts and sign-up for an appointment in real time if you’re able, once the Nixle alert gets sent.
Socially distant, outdoor workouts
Last year in the spring, we initiated socially distant, outdoor workouts for our gyms and fitness studios. This spring, we’ll look to offer this again whenever field space can accommodate. With our recreation programs anticipated to resume at a regular schedule, the most ideal time for gyms and fitness studios to use the fields is weekday mornings. If interested, gym or fitness studio owners should email email@example.com along with interested field or park, requested times and contact information.
Municipal court closed week of March 8
Due to a positive COVID-19 case, Hoboken Municipal Court will be closed the week of March 8. Those who have been in close contact with the individual who tested positive have been given appropriate guidance from the Hoboken Health Department.
Congratulations to the Hoboken Public School District!
I’m very proud of all of our Hoboken teachers and educators, including those at our Hoboken Public School District, which has been open for in-person education for over 100 days straight. I commend our educators for taking the extra precautions to keep everyone as safe as possible. The Hoboken Public School District is setting the standard across the State for returning to efficient and effective learning in the classroom. Congratulations to Superintendent Dr. Christine Johnson and the Hoboken Board of Education!
Light at the end of the tunnel
Finally, I want residents to know that while we continue to ask everyone to continue taking precautions, there is most certainly light at the end of the tunnel. I am hopeful, and do believe that we will be much closer to normal by the summer once the majority of our population gets vaccinated. Please stay safe, and know we will get through this – stronger, together.
Ravi S. Bhalla
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