Bayonne records first COVID-19 death since June

The death follows a spike in cases in recent weeks

Mayor Davis gave a COVID-19 update on Aug 20.
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Mayor Davis gave a COVID-19 update on Aug 20.

After reaching a single-digit number of active COVID-19 cases by late summer, Bayonne is currently experiencing an increase.

In the weekly COVID-19 update on Aug. 20, the Office of Emergency Management announced there were now 31 positive residents, marking a second consecutive week of increasing cases.

Another resident has died from COVID-19, a 64-year-old female. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 75 Bayonne residents have died from the virus.

A total of 1,327 residents tested positive, regardless of where that test was given, as of Aug. 20.

Davis gave a video update along with Dr. Vijay Singh, Chief Medical Officer at BMC.

BMC in stable condition

COVID-19 hospitalizations at Bayonne Medical Center (BMC) remain low, as most residents recover at home. There are only 2 inpatients at the hospital, with none in the ICU.

Singh said social distancing, masks, and widespread testing have kept the virus under control.

Singh explained that the hospital is working to protect patients and staff through thermal imaging temperature screenings, COVID-19-free floors, virus testing of inpatients, and the use of UV-light cleaning methods.

“We are committed to the health and safety of Bayonne as we face this crisis and the life after,” Singh said.

Davis said that the city and BMC are “stable” and “doing very well.”

However, he said that the virus is still active and that the city is seeing groups of people not “using necessary precautions.”

Residents should wear masks or face coverings and social distance to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Contact tracers hit a roadblock

According to OEM on Aug. 13, some of those who have recently tested positive include 20-year-olds, who are causing problems for contact tracers.

According to the Bayonne Health Department, contact tracing has been a key mechanism in breaking the chain of transmission and slowing community spread.

“Currently, the Bayonne Health Department is investigating multiple cases of young people in their late teens and early 20s who are not responding to our calls and/or not providing us with contacts,” according to a statement from the BHD.

“So, families of these young people, if you know your young adult is getting tested for COVID, please inform them that they MUST answer the call.  We need cooperation, not just from this group, but everyone in an effort to reduce the spread of transmission.”

COVID-19 by the numbers

On Aug. 13, OEM announced there were now 26 positive residents, jumping from just nine on Aug. 6.

Throughout June and July, active COVID-19 cases dropped dramatically. According to OEM’s Junior Ferrante, only 49 residents tested positive in June.

By June 10, the city had more residents who had recovered then who are still sick with the virus. As of June 25, active COVID-19 cases dropped below 400.

On July 3, the number of active cases fell below 300, and the number of recoveries topped 800.

By July 10, active virus cases had dropped to 75, continuing to fall to 62 cases on July 16, 23 cases on July 23 and 17 cases on July 30.

According to Ferrante, testing was an early challenge due to the limited number of test kits nationwide. As testing has become widespread, the number of positive residents declined.

Getting tested

BMC’s drive-thru testing at Veterans Stadium has ceased. Residents with a prescription and an appointment will be tested at BMC.

The RiteAid at 54th Street and Broadway offers free testing for all residents over 18 via drive-thru.

Visit riteaid.com to register. Residents do not need to be symptomatic, nor do they need a prescription.

CityMD on Route 440 offers COVID-19 testing, walk-ins only.

CityMD and BMC are conducting antibody testing. Residents should call 2-1-1 for a list of testing sites throughout the state.

Ferrante said the BHD is immediately notified of positive results and contacts the individual to begin contact tracing.

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.