As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies across Hudson County, the Township of North Bergen and the Town of West New York have both been declared virus hot spots.
Gov. Phil Murphy released data on April 6. According to Murphy, self-reported data about symptoms show where the state is likely to see more cases in the immediate future.
Murphy listed seven zip codes that are predicted to yield the most positive cases in the coming days. Among the seven at the highest risk were two Hudson County zip codes, 07093 and 07047. 07093 is West New York and 07047 is North Bergen.
As of April 8, there were 774 residents who tested positive for COVID-19 in North Bergen, and 39 residents have died due to the virus. In West New York, 492 residents have tested positive and seven residents have died.
It is not clear how high the number of cases will rise in these hot-spot areas.
Nursing home devastated
Of the 39 deaths in North Bergen, 30 have been confirmed by Health Department officials as residents of the township’s three long-term care facilities, Hudson View, Hudson Hills and the Harborage.
Mayor Nicholas Sacco reiterated that measures would be put into place to protect nursing homes from being affected.
“This disease preys on the most vulnerable among us worst of all, and the results are nothing short of tragic,” he said. “Our Health Department is working with these facilities to put as many safeguards in place as possible, such as isolating residents and not allowing visitors to enter.”
Sacco continues to coordinate with the state and county and is working closely with township department heads to develop and implement plans to address COVID-19.
Sacco urged residents to adhere to the stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines.
“Please stay safe, practice social distancing, good hygiene and hand washing,” Sacco said. “North Bergen is a family, and we are all in this together.”
He asked residents to join in mourning the nursing home patients who have lost their lives, as well as all victims of the disease.
“I ask all of North Bergen to join me in mourning these men and women and praying for them and their families during this difficult time, as well as all other victims of this pandemic in our community and throughout the country and the world,” Sacco said.
According to West New York Mayor Gabriel Rodriguez, the sudden rise in cases was anticipated.
“Per the professional opinion of our public health officials, due to the increased number of COVID tests that are being administered and the density of our region, it is projected that we may see a spike in positive cases,” Rodriguez said on April 7. “While we expected this to happen because of increased testing done throughout our county, and specifically the North Hudson Area, we need your help to diminish the impact.”
Other municipalities across the county have made similar predictions as COVID-19 testing kits become more available. North Hudson’s municipalities opened their own testing facility in Union City on April 6.
The municipalities include North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken, West New York, and Guttenberg. The testing center is at 36th Street between Bergenline Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard in Union City.
The new testing site will further contribute to the expected rise in cases.
Residents with questions can call the State’s Coronavirus hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or visit its dedicated website at covid19.nj.gov.
North Bergen residents are advised to follow North Bergen’s official social media pages, which are updated daily in both English and Spanish with new information, or sign up for NB Connect. Under NB Connect, residents will receive time-sensitive messages at home, cell, business phone, hearing impaired receiving devices, text messages, email, whichever they specify.
West New York residents are advised to follow the town social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@TownofWNY) or visit the town website.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.