Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla issued the following update on the city’s COVID statistics and vaccination situation on Saturday:

Update From Mayor Bhalla on COVID-19 (3/13); $27 Million For Hoboken Through American Rescue Plan

The Hoboken Health Department reports the following new COVID-19 cases:

March 6: 21
March 7: 23
March 8: 32
March 9: 33
March 10: 19
March 11: 23
March 12: 37

Sadly, I was notified of three additional COVID-19 related fatalities in Hoboken that were only recently reported to the Hoboken Health Department: A female in her early 90s, a male in his early 70s, and a female in her early 50s. Two of these fatalities occurred in February, while one was from December. Our hearts are with the family members of all three residents during this very difficult time.

Hoboken now has reported a total of 3,894 known, confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic, along with 46 total COVID-19 related fatalities. Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) is currently treating 19 patients with COVID-19, which includes five residents. Please note the attached charts are from Tuesday, with the Hoboken Health Department providing updated statistics next week.

$27 million for Hoboken through American Rescue Plan

On Thursday, President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, also known as the American Rescue Plan into law. I’m pleased to report that from this bill, the City of Hoboken has been allocated $27 million over a two-year span, which is incredible news for our community. Help is finally on the way for working families, small businesses and our City’s recovery efforts as we overcome the devastation of the pandemic.

I’m extremely grateful to Senator Menendez, Senator Booker and Congressman Sires for hearing our continued feedback and insisting on funding for cities like Hoboken. The American Rescue Plan is one of the most consequential bills passed by the federal government of our lifetime, and it will soon make a direct, positive impact for our Mile Square. My administration is currently working on determining the best uses of funds on our recovery efforts, and I will keep residents informed as developments unfold.

Hoboken vaccine update

Vaccine supply is beginning to expand in Hoboken, with the midtown and uptown CVS locations provided with an initial set of Johnson & Johnson vaccines. While the Hoboken CVS locations are currently booked, if you’re eligible, check on the CVS website to view future availability at https://www.cvs.com/immunizations/covid-19-vaccine.

As before, the Hoboken Health Department is continuing to administer approximately 600 vaccine doses per week which includes first and second shots. Governor Murphy’s office reiterated that municipalities like Hoboken should receive an increased supply in early April, with the State receiving greater shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I greatly appreciate Riverside Medical Group for again providing 150 doses this Sunday, working from our pre-registration lists. As of Friday, the Hoboken Health Department has administered 4,135 total vaccine doses to residents, which includes 2,784 first doses and 1,351 second doses.

As of Wednesday morning, Riverside has administered approximately 3,800 total vaccine doses, which includes 3,000 first doses and 800 second doses at their Hoboken location, the majority to Hoboken residents. In addition to high-risk residents, both the Hoboken Health Department and Riverside Medical are continuing to allocate vaccines on a daily basis to teachers from our schools in Hoboken since they gained eligibility earlier this week.

Additionally, 113 guests and staff from the Hoboken Shelter were vaccinated during the week with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, thanks to the Alliance Medical Group.

Updated eligibility for vaccines

As of Monday, March 15, the following populations will become eligible for vaccination in New Jersey:

  • Public and local transportation workers
  • Public safety workers (who are not law enforcement or fire professionals)
  • Migrant farm workers
  • Members of tribal communities
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness and those living in shelters

As of Monday, March 29, the following populations will become eligible:

  • Food production, agriculture, and food distribution;
  • Eldercare and support;
  • Warehousing and logistics;
  • Social services support staff;
  • Elections personnel;
  • Hospitality;
  • Medical supply chain;
  • Postal and shipping services;
  • Clergy; and,
  • Judicial system.

These additional groups (Hoboken residents), in addition to those already eligible including seniors 65 years of age and older, medical professionals, law enforcement, teachers and day-care staff and those with chronic high-risk medical conditions will become eligible on March 15 or March 29 to receive the vaccine through the Hoboken Health Department, dependent on supply.

Updated vaccine sign-up form for Hoboken residents

Previously, there were separate pre-registration forms for Hoboken residents who are seniors, high-risk groups, and other eligible groups. As of Monday, there will be one, centralized pre-registration form for all eligible groups that our Health Department will work off of to schedule appointments.

Link to new, centralized pre-registration sign-up form for all eligible groups (Hoboken residents): http://www.hobokennj.gov/vaccinesignup.

The previous links for the senior and high-risk pages will redirect to this new pre-registration page, and anyone who signed up on the high-risk or senior pre-registration pages will remain on the list.

If you’ve already pre-registered on a Hoboken list, you do not need to pre-register again.

Other New Jersey vaccine locations

The State continues to prioritize the greatest allocation of vaccines to mega-sites and larger county-based sites in New Jersey. If you’re eligible and able to travel, please consider signing-up with the State or Hudson County.

Hudson County: https://hudsoncovidvax.org/

State of New Jersey: https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/

Positive impact of vaccinations

Yesterday, Police Chief Ken Ferrante shared the good news that for the first time in many months, the Hoboken Police Department does not have any officers out due to a positive COVID-19 test or due to quarantine regulations. This is in large part due to the fact that the majority of the Police Department has been vaccinated, and the resulting immunity is making a direct, positive impact for our community.

Expansion to 50% indoor capacity for certain businesses

Earlier this week, Governor Murphy announced that the following businesses would be permitted to increase to 50% capacity as of March 19:

  • Indoor premises of restaurants, cafeterias, and food courts, with or without a liquor license, and bars;
  • Indoor recreation, amusement, and entertainment businesses (including casinos and gyms); and
  • Personal care services (barber shops, nail salons, and other personal care businesses).

These businesses must continue to abide by current health and safety protocols, including face covering and physical distancing requirements.

Updated guidelines for those who are vaccinated

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided new guidance for those who have been fully vaccinated (a full two weeks after receiving the second Pfizer/Moderna shot, or a full two weeks after receiving the first and only Johnson & Johnson shot):

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from another household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

What Hasn’t Changed

For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
  • You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
  • You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.

What We Know and What We’re Still Learning

  • We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
    • We’re still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
  • We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed.
    • We’re still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease.
    • Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
  • We’re still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.

(Source: CDC.gov)

Please note that at this time, the CDC is still not recommending travel even for those who are fully vaccinated.

Getting back to normal: get vaccinated, and continue to take precautions

The best way we can all get back to normal is to get vaccinated when it’s your turn with the first vaccine available to you. All three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are safe, effective and are proven to protect us. And until you’re vaccinated, the next couple months are critical in preventing variants from becoming the dominant strain and causing another surge, until vaccines are anticipated to be more widely available to the general public.

Please continue to follow the CDC’s guidance on wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding travel to hot spots. With the warmer weather upon us, please consider prioritizing outdoor, as opposed to indoor activities, given the higher likelihood of COVID-19 spreading in indoor environments.

Thank you, Hoboken, please stay safe and remain vigilant.

Sincerely,

Ravi S. Bhalla
Mayor