April 3, 2020
MUPDATE FROM MAYOR BHALLA ON COVID-19
Below is an update from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla for Hoboken residents:
Five days ago, volunteers formed the Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG) of Hoboken and Jersey City. Since then, they’ve had an outpouring of support from the community, serving over 500 meals to our first responders and medical professionals. This included over 625 donors and nearly $6,000 spent at local Hoboken restaurants. The generosity of our residents is truly inspiring and I’m very grateful to everyone who donated for this worthy cause, and to Amy Goldman for spending the time to get FLAG up and running. To donate for this cause, you can Venmo @Flag_HBKN_JC or visit paypal.me/flaghbknjc.d
Hoboken Health Department update
We unfortunately had two seniors in their early 70s pass away due to COVID-19 today. It’s painful to lose any member of our community due to this virus, especially our seniors. I extend my deepest condolences to all family and friends of the deceased.
We reported another 14 positive COVID-19 cases from the Hoboken Health Department today, with 167 total in Hoboken. As always, the Hoboken Health Department conducts an investigation to ensure all those in contact with those individuals self-quarantine. Thankfully, of the 167 that tested positive, 32 have fully recovered.
In an effort to be as transparent as possible, we created additional charts to document the positive reported cases by day, gender and age breakdown, and an overview of the 167 cases, which can be viewed in the attachments.
Call Center for Riverside Medical now open
As reported earlier today, we partnered with Riverside Medical Center to open their existing testing center up to all symptomatic Hoboken residents. This is an important and positive development for our community, and all symptomatic residents now have a local place to go get tested. Understanding that many residents don’t have or need vehicles, they have established a walk-in section for those qualifying for a test.
I was informed that some residents went directly to the testing site without calling first for an appointment. As a reminder, appointments must be secured by calling 201-420-5621 between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Saturdays (we’ll also be opening the call center this Sunday). Appointments through the call center are required, and we’re limiting this to Hoboken residents only with proof of residency. If your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the test, or if you don’t have insurance, the City will pay for the test.
A quick update from today – as was expected, we had a high call volume during the first hour from residents requesting testing, which may have prevented everyone from getting through on their first call.
With this new testing option for residents, we expect that our positive cases are likely to rise. To be clear, the more people that know they’re positive, the more likely it is that they’ll self-isolate. We’ll also know more accurately how it is that our community is impacted from this virus, and plan appropriately moving forward.
Thank you again to the City Council, Director Pellegrini, our CERT Team, Sgt. Montanez, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, Caleb Stratton and Brian Aloia, and especially Dr. Brahmbhat and his staff for helping make this testing center possible.
Recommendation to residents to wear a face cover outside the home
On the advice of the Hoboken Health Office, we are recommending residents wear a face cover when leaving the home. This can include covers such as a bandana, scarf, or other similar materials, which can help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. This is especially important given that people can have COVID-19 but remain without symptoms for days, making it difficult to know who has the virus. This is a precaution that can protect both you and those that you may come into contact with when outside your home.
Important note: we want to be sure to leave all surgical and medical masks for health care workers and our first responders, who depend on these critical resources and are on our front lines keeping us safe. Please, leave those resources for those who need them most.
This recommendation in no way shape or form replaces the need to social distance and remain at minimum six feet from anyone at all times, which along with sanitizing and washing hands frequently, remains an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And the best way, above all else, to remain safe and healthy remains to stay home as much as possible.
Local businesses with memberships
As we all know, Hoboken is a close-knit community where many of our neighbors and longtime residents run small businesses. For many local businesses, including gyms and other establishments that rely on monthly memberships, they’re understandably losing a great deal of revenue and may not be able to pay their employees. If you’re in the financial position to afford to do so, please consider renewing your monthly membership to establishments like locally owned gyms or fitness clubs, which could desperately use the money to stay in business.
April is normally a joyous month with several holidays including Passover, Easter, and more. I know that typically, congregants gather to celebrate, and nothing can replace an in-person gathering. Although in-person gatherings are still prohibited, I want to extend my thanks to our faith leaders for offering their services virtually, which is still a meaningful way to find spiritual strength to help us through this trying time. Thank you to everyone for your understanding this month.
Checking on those who live alone
In Hoboken, there are a lot of residents – some young, some old, who live in one-bedroom apartments or by themselves. If you’re a neighbor, friend, or family member of someone who lives alone, I suggest taking 5 minutes and checking in on him or her, even if you think they’re okay. Everyone should have some type of regular interaction with another human being once in a while, and it can be hard in self-isolation. Even if you’re not the type to pick up the phone and call someone, try going out of your comfort zone and checking in on a senior, friend, or family member who lives alone. It’s good for your health, too. I recently discovered zoom myself, and it’s a great option to check in with friends, and very easy to use.
You’re probably shaking your head at this message in the daily updates yet again but I can’t help it – we need every resident counted for our fair share of local funding. Visit my2020census.gov and be sure to make every person count for Hoboken. And it’s easy to do from home!
As always, thank you Hoboken.
Ravi S. Bhalla
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