HOBOKEN, NJ — Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said Saturday that there’s a lesson in the recent news about President Donald Trump and top-level White House officials contracting coronavirus.
“This development should serve as a real wake-up call to all of us, that covid-19 is still a formidable opponent requiring vigilance in all aspects of our lives,” Bhalla wrote in a virus update for residents Saturday night. “Even the most powerful and well protected people in the country can’t escape covid-19 if it isn’t taken seriously.”
Trump was brought to Walter Reed Hospital on Friday. Former Gov. Chris Christie and other officials who have been to recent White House events have also tested positive.
Bhalla said that in the last three days, Hoboken has seen 18 new cases of the virus, many within the same family.
“There have been no reported clusters or superspreader events reported,” Bhalla noted.
But, he said, people shouldn’t let their guard down just because they’re tired of precautions.
Hoboken was one of the first cities in the country to begin shutting facilities in March. Since then, the city of 53,000 people — across the river from Manhattan — has seen 31 fatalities from the virus, the last in May.
A total of 805 Hoboken residents have tested positive for covid-19, including the 18 new cases. Last Saturday, the number of cases was 772.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing a similar pattern of increasing cases in Hoboken as is occurring across New Jersey,” Bhalla wrote. “Today, 957 additional positive cases were reported across the state, the most cases since May 29, while the rate of transmission of 1.24 is the highest it has been in almost two months (anything above 1 indicates the virus is spreading).”
More than 14,000 people have died of the virus in New Jersey, including four more deaths announced Saturday. More than 209,000 people have died nationally, with cases increasing in several states (see which states have flattened the curve here).
‘Resort to the mindset we had in March and April’
Bhalla said, “Unfortunately, too many of us here in Hoboken and across the state are beginning to let our guard down, as if covid-19 will just go away with the passage of time … a continued rise in cases could have major impacts to our schools, jobs, and overall way of life if the state must revert to stay-at-home measures.”
He said, “Given the increase in cases, I’m asking all residents to resort to the mindset we had in March and April — to assume that anyone you come into contact with could have COVID-19.”
(In late March, Hoboken officials said the local hospital was about to run out of ventilators for sick patients, and the mayor had advised residents to shelter at home.)
Bhalla explained Saturday, “This means limiting socializing and congregating with members outside your family or household, maintaining social distancing at all practical times, prioritizing outdoor activities, avoiding large indoor gatherings, and wearing a face mask. I know wearing a face mask has often been politicized, but the science is clear – wearing one will help keep your neighbors, friends, and co-workers safe.”
Bhalla recently canceled the city’s traditional Halloween parade.
As for the president, he said, “I wish the president, First Lady and staff the best of health and a speedy recovery.”
Where to get tested
Riverside Medical and Prompt MD continue to offer testing. Appointments are still available with Prompt MD on Monday from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m., at www.hobokennj.gov/promptmd.
Riverside offers rapid, 15-minute tests as well as PCR tests six days a week. Residents can schedule a test with Riverside by calling the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) hotline at 201-420-5621, 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. No symptoms are required. People may walk or drive up to the testing center at Fifteenth and Madison streets.
OTHER HOBOKEN CORONAVIRUS UPDATES
Here are other recent Hoboken coronavirus statistics and reports from Patch:
PAST HOBOKEN STATISTICS
The Hoboken public schools reopened Monday, Sept. 14 remotely, and reopened on-site Sept. 21 for those who requested it.
The district offered a reopening plan giving parents a choice of either full-time on-site learning (until 3 p.m.) or full-time distance learning. In the buildings, there are restrictions, such as kids wearing masks and maintaining a 6-foot distance.
More than 50 of the city’s restaurants opened the week of June 15 for outdoor dining. READ MORE.
Some of those have added “streateries” for outdoor dining. READ MORE.
Two of the city’s weekly farmers’ markets reopened in June. READ MORE.
The city has been closing off certain blocks for businesses to expand and draw foot traffic. READ MORE.
Restaurants in New Jersey can allow indoor dining at 25 percent capacity. Read about Hoboken indoor dining here.
The city of Hoboken is making it easier for restaurants to continue to offer outdoor dining through the winter months.
HOW TO GET HELP WITH HEAT, RENT, AND MORE
During the State of Emergency in New Jersey, no tenant is permitted to be evicted from their home or apartment for the inability to pay rent. Talk to your local mayor’s office if you are experiencing difficulties.
The CARES act has made money available to help with rent in each city. More information is here.
New Jersey residents can get help with heating and energy bills. Information is here.
Various other avenues of relief and benefits have also been made available, including family leave for 12 weeks if you can’t work due to your child’s school or camp being closed, and changes to unemployment rules to help those who were at a job for a short time, or freelancing.
Programs are being added constantly, so don’t think you can’t get help. Reach out to your local mayor’s office to find out what kind of funds may be available to help you get through this time.
Recently, there were 159 long term care facilities with active outbreaks, the state Department of Health said this month. The state also announced that deaths at the facilities had more than doubled since May 1.
New Jersey residents were already alarmed at the high number of residents who have passed away in nursing homes, rehabs, and similar facilities. The state announced plans in May to increase testing at some long term care facilities and to bring in the National Guard temporarily to help make changes.
The state released death toll statistics late in spring 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 New Jersey long-term care facilities reopened for limited visits, with precautions, in July.
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