Bhalla Update: Hoboken Nears 200 COVID-19 Cases as of Sunday

Hoboken

Below is a message from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla for Hoboken residents:

I want to extend my gratitude first and foremost to all of our residents who have taken our self-isolation policy to heart and are staying home for everything except essential services. To all those who are making a conscious effort to stay home as much as possible – thank you. This is especially important now as we are about to enter an extremely difficult few weeks with the apex of COVID-19 before us, where our infection rate will likely rise and place a much greater strain on our medical professionals and first responders.

15 new COVID-19 cases today

I was notified of 15 COVID-19 new cases in Hoboken today, for a total of 199 overall. The Hoboken Health Department continues to make every effort to reach out to those who were in contact with the individuals in order to self-quarantine. As mentioned previously, we anticipate the rate of positive cases to increase as we approach New Jersey’s apex, along with increased testing through the Riverside Medical Center that is now open to symptomatic Hoboken residents. As a reminder, if you are have symptoms and are in need of a test, please call 201-420-5621 Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Virtual town hall with Dr. John Rimmer from Hoboken University Medical Center and Police Chief Ken Ferrante

On Monday, I’ll be hosting a Facebook town hall with Dr. John Rimmer, the Director of the Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) Emergency Department and Police Chief Ken Ferrante. We’ll be providing an update to the public on the latest at HUMC, along with our efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Hoboken. You can tune in on Facebook live at http://www.facebook.com/RaviBhallaHoboken at 4 pm.

A personal plea – we are at a critical point and must keep doing our fair share

Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have done everything within our power to keep residents safe. Every decision has been made with the sole intention of what is best for the health and safety of Hoboken residents and getting through this deadly crisis. The standard I’ve used before, and what we’ll continue to use going forward, is whether or not we’ve done as much as practically possibly to save lives.

The decision we made last night to require both employees and customers within essential businesses (which includes all supermarkets, pharmacies, bodegas, restaurants, and more) to wear face covers was no different. I know some residents may feel like this decision, and others including the closure of parks and a curfew were not necessary. At the end of the day, as Mayor I’d much rather look back later saying we did more than necessary to protect human life, instead of taking a laid-back approach or worrying about whether or not the decisions we make were popular or not.

What I ask all residents to understand is that these are not normal times.  Even though things look calm when you walk outside, we are literally on the front lines of a war with a deadly virus, and each and every one of us needs to step up and be ready and willing to make sacrifices necessary to eradicate this virus once and for all.  This is a quintessentially American tradition, and part of what makes our country great.

With this in mind, taking a few weeks (hopefully) of remaining out of parks, going outside only for essential services, and yes – wearing a face cover – is a minor sacrifice we need to make that is 100% worth it if it saves the life of your neighbor, mother, grandmother, or child. I’ve heard from countless residents who are afraid to just go outside of their homes because catching COVID-19 could literally jeopardize their life. While many residents are healthy and in their 20s, 30s and 40s, there are just as many who are seniors, or have pre-existing medical conditions where catching COVID-19 could literally be deadly. Don’t we owe it to them to not just stay inside as much as possible, but when outside, take every measure possible to keep them safe?

What makes this virus even worse for our “healthy” residents is that those of us who have no symptoms could be carrying the virus and not even know it. You may think you are healthy, and not think you need to wear a face cover because of it, but you could very well be wrong and be a carrier of it. You may go to the supermarket, breathe on a few items that you don’t end up taking, and by the time you’re done, you could have infected someone with a medical condition, and end up jeopardizing his or her life – all without knowing it. With this in mind, doesn’t it behoove all of us to take every precaution possible to avoid this situation, to help save lives? If wearing a face cover for 15 minutes when getting groceries helps save the life of even just one person, isn’t it worth it? It is in my book, without even thinking twice.

This is not to mention, those working in our restaurants, supermarkets and more who are putting themselves on our front lines could come in contact with hundreds of residents on a daily basis. The last thing we want is for those individuals to contract COVID-19 from a healthy, non-symptomatic person without knowing it, and then potentially infecting others while handling and bagging our groceries or food. By wearing a face cover, you’re helping protect them, and also the greater public.

I ask residents to consider the evidence from countries like Singapore and the Czech Republic, which have instituted a requirement to wear face masks at all times in public. These two countries have managed to flatten the curve and reduce the transmission rate, in part because of this policy. The Czech motto is “your mask protects me, my masks protects you”. To combat this pandemic, we need to start thinking outside the box, forgetting about what normal was like before this crisis, and selflessly adopt that same motto.

The CDC and medical professionals acknowledge that face covers aren’t a 100% fail-proof way to stay safe. As mentioned in last night’s communication, wearing a face cover does not replace the continued requirement to social distance whenever outside your home. This should continue to be observed at all times. Face covers are a supplement to social distancing, and both strategies combined are even more effective.

One misperception of this new regulation that I’ve heard today is that we are requiring masks. Face covers are permitted – an important distinction. Face covers can take the form of bandanas, scarves, and similar materials. Check out this easy video from local resident John Palumbo who uses a t-shirt and rubber bands to create a home-made face cover. You don’t need to purchase anything if you don’t want – it’s likely you have the materials to create one (or a few) at home. And, while we are requiring face covers be worn while in visiting essential stores, it is recommended but not specifically required when outdoors generally.

In the next few days, the Office of Emergency Management and our CERT Team will be helping distribute these new guidelines to all employees of essential businesses, who must also wear face covers at all times. I recognize that every single business won’t be able to immediately make this change overnight, but we’re confident that we’ll get there in the next few days.

Finally, to reiterate a request from last night, please leave professional personal protective equipment, including N95 masks for our medical professionals and first responders.

As always, Hoboken, I thank you for your support and cooperation for these new regulations. Together, we’ll work to save as many lives as possible. As always, the best way – above all else – to stay safe remains to stay at home as much as possible.

Stay safe,

Ravi S. Bhalla

Mayor

The NJDOH reports that as of Monday April 6th there are 41,090 COVID-19 cases and 1,003 fatalities statewide.

COVID-19 Cases by County
Data is provisional and subject to revision.

3,821 Positives Pending Further Information

13 Deaths Pending Further Information

Bergen County:

6,862 Positive Test Results

200 Deaths

Essex County:

4,493 Positive Test Results

186 Deaths

Hudson County:

4,395 Positive Test Results

92 Deaths

Passaic County:

3,756 Positive Test Results

53 Deaths

Union County:

3,685 Positive Test Results

78 Deaths

Middlesex County:

3,263 Positive Test Results

87 Deaths

Monmouth County:

2,545 Positive Test Results

62 Deaths

Ocean County:

2,374 Positive Test Results

71 Deaths

Morris County:

1,956 Positive Test Results

60 Deaths

Somerset County:

902 Positive Test Results

31 Deaths

Mercer County:

740 Positive Test Results

19 Deaths

Burlington County:

646 Positive Test Results

11 Deaths

Camden County:

645 Positive Test Results

8 Deaths

Sussex County:

292 Positive Test Results

11 Deaths

Gloucester County:

279 Positive Test Results

3 Deaths

Warren County:

215 Positive Test Results

7 Deaths

Hunterdon County:

211 Positive Test Results

2 Deaths

Atlantic County:

132 Positive Test Results

1 Deaths

Cape May County:

85 Positive Test Results

3 Deaths

Cumberland County:

64 Positive Test Results

2 Deaths

Salem County:

29 Positive Test Results

2 Deaths

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