COVID-19 spreads to Bayonne

Mayor Davis said the number of cases will increase in the coming days

Bayonne EMS regularly cleans ambulances with an electro-static fog machine.
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Bayonne EMS regularly cleans ambulances with an electro-static fog machine.

COVID-19 has spread to Bayonne, and the city is bracing for the virus’s impact.

Mayor Davis announced on March 20 that the city has confirmed that five additional residents had tested positive for COVID-19 bringing the total number of patients to six.

First, Davis announced that a 27-year-old woman has tested positive after days of isolation at home.

In an update on the pandemic, Mayor Davis gave details on two more  patients. One is a 70 year-old female and the other is an 84 year-old female, both of whom are currently isolated through all proper protocols and guidelines at Bayonne Medical Center under care of their physicians.

Later in the day, Mayor Davis announced in conjunction with Bayonne Office of Emergency Management that two more cases had been identified. The patients are a 35-year-old male and a 72-year-old male both in stable condition at Bayonne Medical Center.

Davis said that the city expects the number of cases to rise in the coming days. He urged the public to remain calm and continue to practice social distancing.

On March 18, Davis confirmed that a resident who was hospitalized at BMC has tested positive. This was the first confirmed case in the city.

Previously, a resident podiatrist at BMC tested positive after a screening. That was not considered the first case in Bayonne because he’s not a Bayonne resident.

“We knew that it was only a matter of time when our residents would be affected, and we do have our first case among one of our neighbors,” Davis said.

The first patient, a 74-year-old male, is in stable condition at BMC, Davis stated. Medical staff is following isolation and quarantine protocols.

Davis reiterated that residents should wash hands frequently, not touch the mouth or face, and limit time spent around other people.

“We all need to follow the advice and directives that have been put in place to help slow the spread of this virus,” Davis said. “Continue to go about your lives as best as you can, but use a common-sense approach.”

Bayonne will continue to share information with residents on the city website at www.bayonnenj.org and on Davis’s social media pages, as well as City of Bayonne and Bayonne Office of Emergency Management social media pages.

BMC podiatrist infected

The resident podiatrist at BMC tested positive on March 15.

CarePoint Health stated that the man is considered high-risk and was self-quarantined at home immediately upon symptom onset.

In accordance with the CDC protocol, healthcare employees who were in contact with him will self-quarantine until symptom-free and until they meet the recommended time frame to return to work.

According to an anonymous source, the podiatrist is a middle-aged man who is apparently doing fine. CarePoint confirmed that his symptoms are mild, and he is expected to make a full recovery at home.

The source said that other staff may be infected as a result of shared pagers and other equipment with the podiatrist. This underlines the need for preventative measures at BMC to stop the spread of the virus.

Precautions and drive-through testing

CarePoint Health outlined the measures being take at BMC.

“We will continue to follow strict protocol including visitor restrictions to reduce exposure and to protect our patients, our staff, and the public,” a spokesperson for CarePoint Health stated on March 18.

BMC recently updated its restrictions on visitations as did the other CarePoint Health facilities, Christ Hospital in Jersey City and Hoboken University Medical Center.

BMC doesn’t allow visitors into the hospital, including the Transitional Care Units and Rehabilitation Departments. Exceptions will be made so that one visitor may be permitted in Pediatric Care, Maternity, Labor & Delivery, Ambulatory Care, Same Day Surgery, and End of Life and Hospice.

“We are sensitive to the separation this restriction causes our patients and their loved ones, but we believe this measure of protection is essential at this time to keep people safe,” said a spokesperson for CarePoint Health.  “Phone and video calls to patients are encouraged as a means of communication with your loved ones.”

BMC may also soon begin drive-through testing for patients referred from the CarePoint Health medical Group only. This would allow certain people to be tested without having to leave their cars or enter the hospital.

Despite these measures, it’s not clear how many people the podiatrist may have come in contact with. According to the source, the man was working with patients in the lead-up to testing positive for the virus.

In Bayonne and throughout many cities in Hudson County, restrictions have been placed on businesses.

For information regarding business closures, visit https://hudsonreporter.com/2020/03/19/bayonne-moves-to-help-local-businesses-still-open-to-the-public/

A number of city services have been limited. For more information, visit https://hudsonreporter.com/2020/03/13/bayonne-city-services-limited-in-wake-of-covid-19-pandemic/

Davis has ordered the Mayor’s Office to remain open 24 hours and has installed two hotlines. The General Hotline is 201-858-6705 and the Senior Hotline is 201-858-6105.

Residents can also sign up for the Swift911 Notification System to receive important messages online at www.bayonnenj.org by clicking the Swift911 Banner, or by downloading the Swift911 Public App to a mobile device.

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.