Below is an update from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla for Hoboken residents:
I’ve started each of my daily communications thanking our residents for practicing self-isolation, and today want to begin by offering my sincere thanks to all members of our business and restaurant community. It’s an understatement to say that all of these small business owners, and their employees, have been severely affected by COVID-19. But it’s refreshing that despite these difficult circumstances, there is a widespread understanding that the decision to close the majority of our establishments was done to protect the health and safety of everyone. It goes hand in hand with the generosity of our residents, who have supported our small businesses during this national crisis. We know that our businesses aren’t just places to grab a beer or a slice of pizza – they’re places we call second homes. This solidarity with our small businesses will help get our City through these difficult weeks and months ahead.
Two new COVID-19 cases in Hoboken
I was notified today by the Hoboken Health Department that there were two new cases of confirmed COVID-19 in Hoboken: a male and a female, both in their late 20s. We now have a total of 21 total cases in Hoboken. As always, the Hoboken Health Department conducts an investigation to ensure all those who were in contact with them immediately self-quarantine.
One thing that seems to be a common theme for our positive cases is that the majority of those confirmed COVID-19 cases are under 40 years of age. Everyone, including younger people, and those of every single race, ethnicity and national origin, are vulnerable to catch COVID-19. We must all assume when exiting our homes, that anyone we encounter could have COVID-19. It underscores the critical need to self-isolate at home whenever possible, and if you’re outdoors, to always practice social distancing. If you’re walking down the sidewalk or jogging on our waterfront, always leave at least six feet between you and anyone around you. And please assume any surface could have COVID-19 – every doorknob, railing, etc. which means we all should sanitize and wash our hands at every opportunity, especially when entering the home.
Donations for those in need
This is a difficult time for everyone, but especially those who may have lost their jobs and now need a helping hand. I’m glad to share that the Hoboken Food Pantry, in partnership with the Hoboken City Council, the Office of Emergency Management and Hoboken CERT Team is organizing a food resource center at the former YMCA at 13th and Washington Street for donations of food and goods. We will be announcing what type of goods to give and the best way to donate them, along with volunteer opportunities in in the next day or two. Thank you in advance to Toni Tamarazzo and Councilmembers Ramos, Fisher and Falco for taking this project on. Stay tuned for additional details.
Riverside Medical testing facility
As mentioned in previous days, Riverside Medical has opened up a testing facility in North Hoboken on 14th Street, which for the time being is for Riverside patients. I’ve heard concern from residents in the area about their safety and risk of exposure. I want to strongly assure all residents that this testing center is safe, contained, and operates with all of the standards of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is overseen by the Hoboken Police Department. We assessed this location because it provided the best access for queuing capacity and was at least two blocks from nearby residences. Hoboken is one square mile and the fourth most densely populated city in the country, and any location we chose would have been criticized. We made the best decision on location we could with the least impact on our residents.
To be clear – this testing center is a net benefit to Hoboken because the more people that get tested, the better off our City is, and alleviates the capacity at the Hoboken University Medical Center. Projections indicate that hospitals could run out of capacity in a matter of days or weeks. Yes, this center may not be open yet to the general public, but we are strongly pushing for more testing kits to be available so it can be open to all of Hoboken. I want to thank Riverside Medical once again for making this center possible.
Two new testing facilities in Secaucus and PNC Bank Arts Center
A new testing COVID-19 drive-through testing center will open to the public on Tuesday at Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus (55 Meadowlands Pkwy). Although it’s not in Hoboken, it’s still good news and will be open by appointment by calling 201-388-1097. Appointments over the phone will begin on Monday at noon, and residents must be exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 in order to be tested. The testing site will be open from 10 am to 5 pm on weekdays. The test results will likely be available within 3-5 days of testing, according to Hudson County. Thank you to County Executive DeGise and his team for making this available.
Governor Murphy also today announced the opening of a new COVID-19 testing center at the PNC Bank Arts Center (116 Garden State Parkway in Holmdel). This location will be open starting Monday at 8:00 pm for seven days a week, until supplies last. According to the Governor, priority will be given to those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever (99.6F or above), and shortness of breath.
Domestic Violence Hotline
We know that remaining indoors can be difficult, but it’s no excuse for domestic violence. If you are experiencing domestic violence, please know that there is help for you. Please do not hesitate to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. You can also visit thehotline.org if you need more information or want to remain confidential without speaking over the phone.
Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla