|Advisory: Update From Mayor Bhalla on COVID-19 (12/27): City to Institute Mask Requirements to Protect Public Health |
Below is an update on COVID-19 from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla:
The Hoboken Health Department reports the following new COVID-19 cases:
December 18: 62
Since the pandemic’s onset, the City of Hoboken has had 7,322. known, confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 56 fatalities. Currently, there are eight people hospitalized with COVID-19 at Hoboken University Medical Center. Seven are unvaccinated including four Hoboken residents.
Hoboken institutes mask requirement to protect public health and keep businesses open
Today, my office and the Hoboken Office of Emergency Management instituted an Executive Order establishing a face mask requirement at all indoor facilities of public accommodation, due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the City of Hoboken and New Jersey.
Under the Executive Order, all residents and visitors over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask or face-covering while inside any public building or commercial establishment, except when actively eating or drinking.
This became necessary to help curb the spread of the Omicron variant, with record high cases in Hoboken and across the tri-state area. We need to revert back to one of the tools that we know works – a face mask. This new measure will create a safer environment for our most vulnerable residents in public places and ensure our businesses can stay open and remain adequately staffed during the winter months. Thank you to the many Hoboken businesses which have already implemented this requirement.
“Given the recent surge in omicron, we’re taking additional effective measures in preventing the spread of COVID and having our staff mask up for the safety of all, ” said Anthony Pino, Owner of Bin 14 and Anthony David’s. “We’re hopeful the severity of omicron will be short lived and our community can resume to some normalcy. ”
Over the past few weeks, several Hoboken restaurants, bars and other establishments have been closed by business owners due to outbreaks among staff.
The executive order applies to all areas of indoor public accommodation including, but not limited to restaurants, bars, gymnasiums, dance studios, recreation facilities, retail stores, cafes, supermarkets, places of worship, commercial establishments, salons, barbershops, banks, healthcare facilities, and hotels.
Residents, visitors, and patrons of the above public facilities must wear a face mask at all times except when actively eating or drinking, or when socially distanced at least six feet apart from all others for an extended period of time (such as when seated at a desk in an office setting).
The order goes into effect on Wednesday, December 29, and will be enforced by the Office of Emergency Management.
This order will be lifted when the positivity rate for the State of New Jersey reaches 5% for a one-week average or when daily positive cases in Hoboken fall below the weekly average as compared to the first week of November 2021, prior the surge of the Omicron variant, whichever is first.
Hoboken Health Department update
The following is an update from the Hoboken Health Department:
Ages of recent cases
Below is the breakdown of recent positive COVID-19 cases by age group since the last update:
Vaccination rate update
Below is the vaccination rate for Hoboken:
All ages: 80% (first dose)
All ages: 70% (second dose)
CDC shortens recommended time for isolation for asymptomatic individuals
Below are updated guidelines from the CDC, as announced this morning (as found on the CDC website):
The CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after. Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.
Additionally, CDC is updating the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19. For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days.
Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
Isolation relates to behavior after a confirmed infection. Isolation for 5 days followed by wearing a well-fitting mask will minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others. Quarantine refers to the time following exposure to the virus or close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. Both updates come as the Omicron variant continues to spread throughout the U.S. and reflects the current science on when and for how long a person is maximally infectious.”
This week’s clinic schedule is as follows:
Note: Appointments listed below may be filled based on demand
Medicine Man Pharmacy & Compounding
Hoboken Family Pharmacy
Note: Appointments listed below may be filled based on demand; proof of residency or employment at a Hoboken business will be required at all testing sites
Riverside Medical Group
Medicine Man Pharmacy & Compounding
At-home testing through the New Jersey Department of Health
The NJ Department of Health and Vault Medical Services offer free, at-home COVID-19 saliva test kits.
To order your kit go to learn.vaulthealth.com/nj.
Finally, as some may have learned from social media, I tested positive on Saturday for COVID-19. I’m fortunate to have been vaccinated and boosted, and my symptoms have subsided. Like the majority of those breakthrough infections, mild symptoms are further proof that vaccinations and boosters work and prevent hospitalization and serious illness. It’s all the more of a reason to get vaccinated and boosted at your earliest convenience – and one of the best things you can do to stay safe.
Ravi S. Bhalla