UPDATE: North Bergen reviews emergency plans for COVID-19

Mayor Nicholas Sacco has cancelled classes for all public schools and all recreational activities

Mayor Sacco addresses North Bergen by video regarding COVID-19. Photo by AlphaDog Solutions.
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Mayor Sacco addresses North Bergen by video regarding COVID-19. Photo by AlphaDog Solutions.

(Updated Friday March 13 12:18 p.m.)

North Bergen is prepping for the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, according to a statement by Mayor Nicholas Sacco.

Sacco shared an update on the Township of North Bergen’s emergency plans for responding to the COVID-19 through a video message on March 12.

According to Mayor Sacco, the township is taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the community.

There are no cases of the virus in North Bergen as of March 13.

However, out of an abundance of caution, the township has decided to cancel a number of large public gatherings.

All Senior Citizens trips, except for food shopping and other Nutrition Center activities, have been postponed in addition to all Recreation activities including Free Roller Skating Night.

North Bergen has cancelled classes for public schools from March 16 to March 20. School officials will assess the situation after a week and make further decisions from there.

The Mayor added that North Bergen has been coordinating plans with township officials to respond appropriately during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

As required by the NJ Department of Health, all healthcare facilities and municipal emergency responders have developed Pandemic Preparedness Plans to ensure a continuum of care.

“Healthcare staff in our local hospitals and long-term care facilities are being trained and updated on a daily basis regarding this evolving situation,” Sacco said. “Vulnerable populations with compromised immune systems will be prioritized in case of an outbreak.”

The update on the town’s emergency preparations comes at a critical time for Hudson County residents.

COVID-19 has reached Hudson County.

Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez of West New York confirmed on March 8 that a resident of the town tested positive for the virus. According to Gov. Phil Murphy, there are 29 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.

On March 13, Hudson County reported a second presumptive positive case of COVID-19. According to Mayor Steve Fulop, a 41-year-old female who lives in downtown Jersey City felt symptoms and initiated testing with her private physician before being diagnosed with the virus.

According to Sacco, residents are strongly advised to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) common-sense steps to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus.

Common-sense steps

These steps include avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying home when you are sick, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, among other measures that may seem common sense but are vital in preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The CDC guidelines also suggest covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.

According to the CDC, the best way to combat COVID-19 is to wash your hands.

The CDC recommends that you wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. The CDC recommends always washing hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Practicing other good health habits is another way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food to help the body prevent the onset of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Other preventative measures that can be taken to minimize the risk of infection include disinfecting doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, bedside tables, bathroom sinks, toilets, counters, toys, and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.

For regular updates on this or any other situation affecting the North Bergen community, residents are advised to follow the Township of North Bergen on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for the best and most timely way to keep informed of news or updates from the township.

“The Township of North Bergen is prepared to handle this potential outbreak,” Sacco said in a statement.

Sacco and the Health Department are working with emergency responders to safeguard local families from the spread of the virus.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.