Hoboken Warns People About Gatherings And Gyms Amid Coronavirus

HOBOKEN, NJ — After noting Tuesday that the city of Hoboken had received confirmation of 12 new coronavirus cases since Friday, Mayor Ravi Bhalla said on Wednesday that the city had confirmed six more cases: “all between the ages of 25 and 45, and several were related to situations where residents attended social gatherings that took place during the July 4 weekend both within Hoboken and in areas across New Jersey.”

Bhalla has been encouraging residents who may have been exposed to the virus to get a test starting 5 to 7 days after exposure, for maximum accuracy. Thus, those exposed on July 4 weekend would be more likely to get positive test results over the past week. Bhalla has said that contact tracing and interviews with the Health Department helps determine where people have been.

The new numbers bring the total cases confirmed in the mile-square city to 640 since the start of the pandemic. Deaths remain at 29 (one person was removed from the count last month as he or she was not a resident), with no new deaths since May.

“None of the six cases,” Bhalla reported Wednesday, “were related to travel to states on New Jersey’s quarantine list. The six residents who tested positive included both those who were symptomatic, and some who were asymptomatic but heeded our call to proactively get tested if they were in a situation where social distancing was not possible.”

The New Jersey quarantine list was modified Tuesday to remove Delaware and add four states, for a total of 22 states whose rates are increasing.

Bhalla said none of the six residents have been hospitalized. Hospitalization and death rates are increasing in other parts of the country and setting daily records in some places, such as at these Texas hospitals.

On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Murphy and his state health commissioner said that while younger people don’t always suffer as severely from the virus as their elders, more of them are getting the disease and can spread it to friends and family.

This week, states with new coronavirus spikes, like South Carolina, began reporting cases of a rare coronavirus-linked virus, MIS-C, in children.

Bhalla said, of the Hoboken numbers, “Given these new cases, all with similar trends, I continue to urge all residents to avoid large social gathering when possible, especially where social distancing is not practical,” Bhalla said. “We’ve heard several reports where these large gatherings have occurred in other parts of New Jersey, both indoors at house parties, and in areas like confined spaces on the beach.”

He noted, “If you feel unsafe, or think you may end up in one of those situations, it’s not worth the risk … If you’ve been in a compromising situation such as a house party, please quarantine for a full 14 days and get a COVID-19 test at least 5-7 days after potential exposure. Even if you test negative for COVID-19, you should still quarantine for the full 14 days.”

(For information on how and where to get tested in Hoboken, see below).

Face coverings and gyms

Bhalla also noted Wednesday that for clarification, “My staff reached out to Governor Murphy’s office, which informed us that face masks must be used by both gym instructors and those receiving one on one instruction indoors at all gyms and fitness centers. I ask all gym instructors and participants to please follow this regulation. “

See these recent updates on Hoboken coronavirus testing, reopening, and more:

TESTING

  • To get a rapid, 15-minute test through the city’s partnership with Riverside Medical, call the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) at 201-420-5621 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. 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.

SCHOOLS

  • 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 recently.

  • The governor’s school reopening guidance was published on June 26.

  • 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.

LIBRARY

  • 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 hobkcirc@bccls.org, or call (201) 4202346, ext. 5102. For additional details, visit hobokenlibrary.org.

PARKS

GYMS

  • Bhalla said recently, “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.’ “

  • On July 16, Bhalla clarified, “My staff reached out to Governor Murphy’s office, which informed us that face masks must be used by both gym instructors and those receiving one on one instruction indoors at all gyms and fitness centers. I ask all gym instructors and participants to please follow this regulation. “

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

  • Hoboken recently received $1.9 million in funding for small businesses, to be distributed in $20,000 grants. Read more to find out how to apply.

  • More restaurants are adding “streateries” for outdoor dining. READ MORE.

  • More than 50 of the city’s restaurants opened two weeks ago for outdoor dining. READ MORE.

  • Kings supermarkets updated residents on their sanitizing procedures and on an employee who tested positive last month. READ MORE.

  • Two of the city’s weekly farmers’ markets reopened in June. 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.

  • States around the country have had to pull back on their reopenings, such as Texas, which closed bars and has seen a record number of hospitalizations and deaths.

NURSING HOMES

  • 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, 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

Got news? Email caren.lissner@patch.com. To keep up with breaking news in your town and statewide when it happens, and get a free local newsletter each morning, sign up for Patch breaking news alerts and daily newsletters.

This article originally appeared on the Hoboken Patch

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