HOBOKEN, NJ — Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla sent out an “important update” to residents Saturday morning saying the Heath Department reported 13 new coronavirus cases Thursday and Friday, the most since mid-May. He said all of the people who tested positive had recently — it was determined during contact tracing — traveled for work and pleasure to “hot spot” states where coronavirus is rising.
Bhalla said they’d traveled to states on the quarantine list of 16 states, including Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina. New Jersey residents returning from those states have been told to get a coronavirus test and isolate for 14 days. Some of those states loosened their coronavirus restrictions early and now have reinstated orders to close bars and beaches.
In the middle of June, Hoboken had a week in which the city saw only one new coronavirus case — before the mass reopenings and travel started.
“If residents aren’t careful,” Bhalla wrote Saturday, “we could set our region back further to the point where we have to resort to stay-at-home orders, close local businesses, and more.”
Bhalla said some of the residents had no symptoms but got tested because they had returned from those states. (See below in this story for how to get tested locally.)
“To clarify a common question,” Bhalla wrote, “none of these new cases in June were linked to Hoboken’s peaceful demonstration for racial justice.” (While more than 7,000 people attended a demonstration in Hoboken in early June, Bhalla said most wore masks. See more here.)
In Hoboken, a mile-city of 53,000 people across from a former hotspot of New York City, the mayor was one of the first in the region to begin shutting down certain facilities to slow the spread of the virus, which has taken the lives of more than 12,000 New Jersey residents in three months. The mayor’s declarations were often followed by similar declarations from the governor within days.
As of Saturday, the death toll in America from coronavirus was over 128,000, with 50,000 new cases in one day, a new record.
In Hoboken, the death toll has remained at 29 since mid-May.
Bhalla said it’s obvious that cases will rise “as our society slowly re-opens” but it’s imperative to follow precautions.
He listed the 16 states that people should quarantine upon returning from, and gave precautions that residents should take if they are coming back.
On Wednesday, before the holiday weekend, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said there had been 423 new cases of the virus statewide in the previous 24 hours, and 45 more deaths. That meant that the number of cases has risen to 171,928, and 13,224 confirmed deaths. Read more: Gov. Murphy: 423 New NJ Coronavirus Cases, 45 More Deaths
But this was down from New Jersey’s peak: a high of 460 deaths in 24 hours on April 30, or one person every three minutes.
The Garden State had planned to start allowing bars and restaurants to reopen for indoor dining on Thursday at 25 percent capacity — but Murphy pulled back on Monday, citing coronavirus spikes in other states where indoor dining opened earlier, as well as photos of Jersey shore bars packed with patrons.
However, restaurants in New Jersey have been allowing outdoor dining for the last two weeks, with restrictions. Malls, amusement parks, and playgrounds were reopened this past week.
As facilities reopen, Bhalla urged wearing a mask and social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control currently recommends wearing a face covering to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.
To read more of Bhalla’s alert and past alerts, click here.
To see information about July 4 activities and changes in Hoboken, click here.
To learn about what’s open, and other coronavirus updates and resources in Hoboken, see below.
Here are other Hoboken coronavirus updates and resources:
Bhalla said last week, “According to Governor Murphy, the following activities are permitted at indoor gyms starting July 2, as provided by his office: ‘individualized indoor instruction by appointment only where an instructor is offering training to an individual, and the individual’s immediate family members, household members, caretakers, or romantic partners. If a gym or fitness center is offering multiple simultaneous instructions at the same facility, these instructions must take place in separate rooms or, if they take place in the same room, must be separated by a floor-to-ceiling barrier that complies with all fire code requirements.’ “
Any resident can get a 15-minute rapid coronavirus test at the Riverside site in uptown Hoboken by appointment by calling 201-420-5621 Monday through Friday. If you don’t have health insurance, the city will pay the cost.
There are other medical offices in Hoboken with coronavirus and antibody tests; if in doubt about what to do, call your physician, then check with your insurance. Many insurances are waiving fees and copays for these tests.
The Hoboken public schools are slated to reopen Tuesday, Sept. 8, but whether it will be in person will be determined by the state. The state is presently considering in-person schooling, virtual schooling, and a “blended option” involving both. There will be restrictions, such as kids wearing masks and maintaining a 6-foot distance. Superintendent Christine Johnson gave information about the local planning process on Monday evening.
The summer camp run by the Hoboken schools has been canceled. Limited recreational options have been scheduled. The mayor made reference to them here.
Day cares were able to reopen June 15, with certain rules in place, and recreational camps can reopen in July. READ MORE.
Residents can return library books and other materials by placing them in the library book/media dropbox in front of the library (500 Park Ave.) from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The library will begin no contact “curbside pickup” service. Library patrons will be able to reserve the materials online, place their orders via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (201) 4202346, ext. 5102. For additional details, visit hobokenlibrary.org.
Kings supermarkets updated residents on their sanitizing procedures and on an employee who tested positive last month. READ MORE.
First Street will be reserved for pedestrians and shoppers this Sunday, and more restaurants are adding “streateries” for outdoor dining. READ MORE.
More than 50 of the city’s restaurants opened last week for outdoor dining. READ MORE.
Two of the city’s weekly farmers’ markets reopened this month. READ MORE.
The city and Patch both have directories of businesses that are open and closed. Check it out and add your listing. READ MORE.
The city will be closing off certain blocks for businesses to expand and draw foot traffic. READ MORE.
Here’s what you need to know about applying for unemployment and other benefits during coronavirus. MORE.
Read more about unemployment, small business, and other coronavirus regulations and benefits in New Jersey here.
New Jersey residents have become alarmed at the high number of residents who have passed away in nursing homes, rehabs, and similar facilities, and have charged that the facilities are undercounting the numbers and not adequately protecting residents and staff. The state has faced questions for weeks from the press about how they will address the problems. They announced plans last month to increase testing at some long term care facilities and to bring in the National Guard to help make changes.
The state has begun releasing death toll statistics for long-term care facilities like rehabs and nursing homes. See the list here.
You can report problems with long term care facilities here, or if you suspect coronavirus related misconduct, here.
Some nursing homes reopened for limited visits, with precautions, this past week.
Here are statewide coronavirus resources:
NJ COVID-19 Information Hub: https://covid19.nj.gov/
General COVID-19 questions: 2-1-1
NJ COVID-19 hotline: (800) 222-1222
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This article originally appeared on the Hoboken Patch