Update from Mayor Bhalla on COVID-19 (2/5), residents urged to take precautions ahead of Super Bowl Sunday

Update from Hoboken Health Department

The Hoboken Health Department has reported the following, new COVID-19 cases:

January 30: 19
January 31: 15
February 1: 24
February 2: 22
February 3: 29
February 4: 18

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 2,833 known, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hoboken, along with 39 total fatalities. Hoboken University Medical Center reports treating 20 patients with COVID-19, which include four Hoboken residents.

Please get tested for COVID-19 before any Super Bowl gathering

I know for many, the Super Bowl is a time to gather with friends and enjoy the final weekend of the football season. Unfortunately, we continue to remain in the midst of a pandemic where indoor gatherings with multiple households could turn into super-spreader events. Like we advised during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I urge residents to avoid large, indoor gatherings with multiple households to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

If you do end up making the decision to attend an indoor gathering with multiple households on Super Bowl Sunday, please consider keeping groups small, and getting tested prior to Sunday – even if you don’t have symptoms. Please also consider asking any other individuals attending, outside your household to get tested as well. Riverside Medical Group currently has rapid COVID-19 testing available on Saturday, while Prompt MD has testing availability today (8:30 am – 2 pm, 605 Jackson Street), and Medicine Man Pharmacy on Saturday (9 am – 1 pm, 605 Jackson Street). Prompt MD and Medicine Man have been getting PCR testing results back quickly from Star Labs, sometimes within 24 hours.

To sign-up for an appointment and view testing options, please visit www.hobokennj.gov/testing.

Update on vaccines in Hoboken

We continue to make as much progress as possible in vaccinating our most vulnerable residents. As before, the issue is supply – we only have a limited amount of vaccines provided to us from the State each week. This week, we were provided 200 vaccines through the New Jersey Department of Health, all of which we will administer by the end of today. I’m hopeful for a greater supply of first-dose vaccines next week and in the weeks after, and trust that when Governor Murphy and the State have more to provide to municipalities, they will do so. So far, we’ve given 1,500 first-dose vaccines to those in the 1A and 1B categories through the Hoboken Health Department, thanks to our partnership with the Hoboken University Medical Center. The Hoboken Health Department did receive a shipment of 500 second dose vaccines, which are currently being scheduled for next week.

Additionally, I extend my thanks once again to Dr. Raj Brahmbhatt and his team at Riverside Medical Group, along with our Health Department and Office of Emergency Management for administering another 120 first-dose vaccines to our seniors this past Sunday. Their partnership has been invaluable and we are grateful to Riverside for utilizing additional vaccine doses for our residents.

As before, if you’ve signed up on our pre-registration lists, you will receive a call in the coming weeks once our supply is able to administer more first-dose vaccines. I know it has been difficult, and I completely understand the frustration many have about not yet getting scheduled. Please know that we will continue to work as quickly as possible, and that ultimately, anyone who wants a vaccine, will get one. I thank everyone for their understanding and patience.

Vaccine options with Hudson County and the State of New Jersey

The majority of vaccines from the State are being provided to the Hudson County site in Kearny, with over 1,000 administered there a week. To check and see if appointments are available, please visit https://www.hudsoncovidvax. org/. To consider vaccine appointments if available in other parts of New Jersey through the State’s vaccine registration options, please visit https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/.

Clarification on Riverside Medical Group

I’ve received feedback from some residents in the 1B category (seniors, those with chronic, high-risk conditions) who have called Riverside, and their staff has mentioned they may be unable to vaccinate populations other than their patients. The way our relationship works with Riverside, is that when Riverside have an excess supply of vaccines, they coordinate with our Health Department to gather a list of names and contact information from our Hoboken pre-registration lists, and schedule vaccine appointments. If you qualify for the vaccine and sign-up on our pre-registration list, you may be provided an opportunity to get vaccinated at either the Hoboken University Medical Center or Riverside – depending on supply. Neither location takes walk-in appointments.

Hours of operation for bars and restaurants

Earlier this week, Governor Murphy lifted the 10 pm state-wide curfew for bars and restaurants beginning today, citing lower infection rates and recent analysis from the New Jersey Department of Health. Based on guidance provided by Governor Murphy and the State of New Jersey, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop and I have made the joint decision to follow Governor Murphy and the State’s recommendations, to allow bars and restaurants to operate during normal, regular business hours within our cities. Businesses must continue to follow capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements put forward by the State.

More recent analysis from our health departments, as well as new information provided by the New Jersey Health Department suggests that fewer recent cases are coming from bars and restaurants. Mayor Fulop and I believe that this time around, a coordinated regional approach is the best way to implement safety measures, when necessary. Hoboken public safety officers and City staff will be monitoring all bars and restaurants during overnight hours, to ensure COVID-19 safety precautions are being taken at all times. If not followed, any bar or restaurant will be subject to immediate penalties, including but not limited to closure. We thank the large majority of business owners for continuing to take the necessary precautions to keep our residents and visitors safe when patronizing their establishments.

For residents who may be concerned that an establishment is not following social distancing guidelines, please email [email protected] in real time so our teams can follow-up with the business.

New 35% capacity at bars and restaurants

In addition to lifting the state-wide curfew, Governor Murphy has made the following modifications, effective today:

-35% capacity indoors at bars and restaurants

-The prohibition on seating at indoor bar areas will remain in effect, as it creates the danger of close and prolonged proximity between patrons, bartenders, and servers.As a reminder, all consumption of any food or beverage at a restaurant or bar must take place while seated. Any individuals standing indoors at a restaurant or bar must also be wearing a face mask (ie when entering or leaving, going to the restroom).

Additional businesses increased to 35% capacity

The State is now permitting the following businesses to increase to 35% capacity starting today:

-Indoor performance venues (maximum 150 people)
-Indoor gatherings that are religious ceremonies/services, wedding ceremonies, political activities, and memorial services/funerals (maximum 150 people)
-Indoor entertainment and recreation areas – including casinos and gyms
-Personal care businesses