Six months ago, the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across Hudson County. Throughout that time, there have been 19,607 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 with 1,335 confirmed COVID-19-related deaths.
Currently, municipal averages remain relatively flat with only 31 new COVID-19 cases reported countywide on Aug. 7.
Hoboken holds steady
Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 680 known cases, 619 full recoveries, and 29 deaths.
“Health experts say the number one way cities and states can address the public health crisis is through testing,” said city spokesperson Vijay Chaudhuri, who noted that Hoboken offers a 15-minute rapid test which means that contact tracers can almost immediately get to work.
At the start of July, the city had more than a dozen new cases due to residents who’d traveled out of the state.
“Our health department ID’d the trend quickly so the mayor was able to alert the public and be very transparent about the new trend,” Chaudhuri said.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla routinely urges residents and businesses to keep socially distant and wear masks while helping businesses through expanded outdoor dining and outdoor fitness classes.
“The city will continue to prioritize outdoor space after the pandemic,” Chaudhuri said.
Businesses can receive financial assistance through the Hoboken Relief Fund and city administered CARES Act funds.
City employees who can work remotely do, and and those on-site work in shifts and smaller groups.
Plexiglas partitions, antimicrobial door handles, and motion sensor activated lighting are being installed in municipal buildings.
The city is implementing online appointment software, allowing the public to meet with city employees in person at designated meeting spots.
Jersey City looks ahead
Jersey City has had 6,747 COVID-19 cases and 510 COVID-19-related deaths.
At the peak of the pandemic in April, Jersey City reported an average of 207 new cases a day. In the first week of August, average new daily COVID-19 cases hover at eight.
People entering municipal buildings are now temperature- and face mask-scanned.
Anyone with a fever is refused entry and instructed to quarantine and get tested.
The city has expanded testing through mobile sites to target seniors and other hard-to-reach populations.
Municipal offices now have Plexiglas partitions and small pods so that if one employee gets sick, an entire department is not quarantined.
City employees are also considering shifting to a four-day, 40-hour work week.
According to Mayor Steven Fulop, with the move from the “antiquated” five-day work schedule, “We can deliver BETTER services for our residents by staggering shifts + improve quality of life for employees.”
According to city spokesperson Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, the city has expanded food delivery services, restructured parking rules, and installed Pedestrian Plazas and Slow Streets to prevent future spread.
According to Fulop, more than 150 entities received funding from roughly $2 million from the Mayor’s COVID-19 Community Relief Distribution Fund and $7 million from the CARES Act.
Signage urges residents to socially distance and wear masks.
The city recently opened the skate park at Berry Lane to encourage outdoor activities.
Bayonne back to business
Currently, Bayonne has 9 active COVID-19 cases with 1,190 recoveries, and 74 deaths.
“Looking ahead, we are concerned about the arrival of flu season during the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Mayor James Davis.
Dr. Vijay Singh of Bayonne Medical Center told the Hudson Reporter in July that the hospital is prepared for a surge, but if the second wave of the virus popped up during flu season it would be a “nightmare.”
“With few exceptions, everyone over six months of age should get the flu vaccine as soon as possible this autumn,” Davis said.
The Bayonne Small Business Working Capital Grant Program and the Hudson County Small Business Grant Program provide short-term assistance to small businesses.
Though active COVID-19 cases continue to decline, residents are advised to continue to follow guidelines.
North Bergen cautiously reopens
Once a virus hotspot, North Bergen is now managing the virus. As of August 4, it had 2,661 cases and 211 deaths.
Providing residents with testing has been a priority. Mobile units move among convenient locations, and everyone gets free masks, according North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco.
The North Bergen Housing Authority tested senior housing residents in May, with only four testing positive out of more than 600.
Parks and the pool complex have reopened.
Sacco noted the township’s efforts to help small businesses. In addition to grant programs and a video urging residents shop locally, North Bergen has launched an initiative to allow outdoor dining and shopping on the street.
Meanwhile, the rate of transmission has increased across the state, and Gov. Phil Murphy has hinted at rolling back Phase 2 of reopening.
North Hudson recovering
Secaucus has 645 total cases and 47 deaths.
The numbers in Union City are slowing. It has 3,566 confirmed cases, and 190 residents died as of August 3.
As of August 3, WNY reported 2,141 cases, with 823 recoveries.
Weehawken recorded one active case as of August 5, 346 residents have recovered, 23 have died.
For updates on this and other Hudson County news go to Hudsonreporter.com.