Abdel-aziz Seeks Partnership with Murphy to Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing in Paterson

Councilman Mike Jackson, left, and Councilman Abdelaziz.

Paterson City Council President Maritza Davila’s call for an emergency meeting of the council on Monday night prompted agreement about the need for a city-based, senior citizen-targeted testing service in Paterson, as two councilmen advocated for their respective ward to serve as the city’s primary COVID-19 testing center.

Right now, Passaic County’s lone COVID-19 testing facility operates on the campus of Wiliam Paterson University in Wayne.

Both Ward 1 Councilman Mike Jackson and Ward 6 Councilman al Abdel-aziz want an additional site – or COVID-19 testing delivery service – in their hard-hit city, home to 29% of the county’s overall population and on April 11th, home to 39% of the county’s administered tests (1,771 out of 4,574).

“We need to ramp up testing,” said Ward 6 Councilman Al Abdel-aziz. “We’ve heard a lot about the county. We need our partners. We’re not going to get through this alone. We need county, state, and federal help. County, thank you, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t open a test site.”

Abdel-aziz addressed Governor Pil Murphy directly.

“Let’s get a Paterson test site, Governor Murphy, especially in our communties of color, which are so effected,” said the councilman, who wants the state to partner with FEMA. “We have 150K residents in the City of Paterson. We deserve that service.

“In the 6th ward we are ready to test our seniors,” he added, directly addressing City Health Officer Dr. Paul Persaud, who was on the emergency call. “Dr. Persaud, bring your guidelines. We have doctors here ready to test 283 senor units. We need to get the test kits to our most vulnerable residents. Once we lose control, once it spreads, it’s not going to be a sight we’re going to like. We need to ramp up testing.”

Abdel-aziz made his comments toward the tail end of a nearly four-hour meeting in which Jackson had earlier criticized the Sayegh Administration for not initially securing testing in Paterson at the outset of the scourge, and allowing, he said, the county to take the lead.

If the city is to secure a site or the means to test residents, especially seniors, where they live, Jackson said he welcomes that service in the 1st Ward, and mildly objected to the 6th Ward as the testing locus, citing Abdel-aziz’s longtime connection to Passaic County through his affiliation with the Democratic Committee.

“He has spent his entire lifetime affiliated as a Democratic operative,” said Jackson.

“I know you have great intentions,” the Ward 1 Councilman added, “but the African American community is the impacted.”

He wants testing services focused on his areas for that segment of the population that does not have access to county testing or transportation.

Davila convened the emergency meeting, in which the council assumed its powers as the Board of Health, two days after 4th Ward Councilwoman Ruby Cotton lost her husband to COVID-19, and amid ongoing questions, primarly voiced by the council president, about how government reports the numbers of COVID-19 cases and routine mismatching between county and city cases.

“The county can’t be reportin one number and the city reporting another number,” said Davila, on the same night the council also acknowledged that it must act to protect city employees who continue to work at City Hall, epecially employees in the clerk’s office.



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One response to “Abdel-aziz Seeks Partnership with Murphy to Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing in Paterson”

  1. They are all idiots, scrambling for power and control over nothing.
    What is testing going to do, tell you you have community spread and it’s mostly in the Black community.
    We already know that.
    This meeting was nothing but an elections rant and speech, who could get a useless testing site when the real problem is controlling the spread.
    They waited a week to call a State of Emergency, It is already spread, they failed and lost control of they virus now they don’t what to do.
    That the incompetent leadership and sued them for, mostly corrupt but also incompetent.
    I bet there was no discussion on controlling the spread and calming the city. Paterson will again be last in line to get this right, remember this when you vote next month.
    Gut that council.

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