After reaching a single-digit number of active COVID-19 cases by late summer, Bayonne experienced an increase for the second consecutive week as of Aug. 20.
The number of cases is now trending down.
In the weekly COVID-19 update on Aug. 27, the Office of Emergency Management announced there were 16 positive residents.
An 82-year-old male recently died from the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 76 Bayonne residents have died.
A total of 1,338 residents tested positive, regardless of where that test was given, as of Aug. 27.
COVID-19 hospitalizations at Bayonne Medical Center (BMC) remain low, as most residents recover at home. There are no COVID-19 patients at BMC as of Aug. 27.
The Bayonne Department of Health advised residents who have recently taken a COVID-19 test to be sure to answer their phones for contact tracers and BHD staff. Recently, the BHD noted that 20-year-olds who have tested positive in August have not been answering their phones for contact tracers.
Geisler noted that there have been spikes and clusters throughout the nation as well as in Bayonne.
Residents in the city must do what’s necessary to curtail the virus, including wearing masks, social distancing, practicing good hygiene, and not touching your face.
On another matter, open parking for residents in all Bayonne public schoolyards has ended. All vehicles must be removed from schoolyards before Sept. 1
Policing amid the pandemic
Police Chief Robert Geisler delivered the COVID-19 video update on behalf of Mayor James Davis.
Since March, some police officers and their family members have tested positive for COVID-19 and had to quarantine. All officers and their family members have recovered as of Aug. 27.
“During these unprecedented times, the Bayonne Police Department remains committed to providing our community with the highest level of service,” Geisler said.
Geisler detailed the steps the BPD is taking to mitigate the spread of the virus while still serving the community.
For non-emergency service calls, residents should file a phone report. If police do respond in person, residents should meet officers outside.
Officers are required to wear face coverings.
Geisler said that the BPD helped orchestrate more than 100 drive-by birthday parties, retirement parties, and other celebrations.
They were carried out in conjunction with OEM, the Bayonne Fire Department, and McCabe Ambulance.
“This was our way of trying to make the best of a bad situation and attempt to help those individuals celebrate their special days,” Geisler said. “It was great to see all those smiles, and I know the officers who were involved enjoyed it just as much as the people celebrating.”
Over the past few months, the BPD has finished rolling out its body camera initiative that began last summer. All officers now wear body cams.
COVID-19 by the numbers
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 were 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.
Cases began to climb again in August.
On Aug. 13, OEM announced there were 26 positive residents, jumping from just nine on Aug. 6.
By Aug. 20, there were 31 active cases in Bayonne. Now that number is declining again.
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 cases declined.
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 are immediately notified of positive results and contact 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 email@example.com.