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Wear masks, North Bergen!

Mayor Sacco interacts with residents at the Halloween costume giveaway, all wearing masks. Photo by Art Schwartz.
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Mayor Sacco interacts with residents at the Halloween costume giveaway, all wearing masks. Photo by Art Schwartz.

Despite an increase in reported positive tests for the coronavirus, some North Bergen residents are not wearing face masks or practicing social distancing. One resident says he’s had enough. 

The Board of Commissioners met via Zoom on Oct. 21. During the public portion, resident Bill McLellan assailed the township for the lack of mask-wearing and social distancing he’d witnessed. 

COVID-19 uptick 

North Bergen, once declared a hot spot for COVID-19, has recently been witnessing an uptick. As of Oct. 20, there were 2,910 cases and 234 deaths. Township officials don’t distinguish between active COVID-19 cases and recoveries. 

Throughout June and July, the rate of infection in North Bergen began to slow down after the virus reached a peak throughout April and May. There were 2,540 cases on June 7, slowly rising to 2,634 on July 19. By Aug. 4, there were just 2,661 cases.

On Sept. 3 there were 2,711 cases, and by Oct. 7 there were 2,779. 

Cases jumped to 2,836 on Oct. 14. Cases jumped by 52, reaching 2,881 on Oct. 18. The increase was almost as large as the number of new cases reported from Sept. 3 to Oct. 7. Cases continue to climb in North Bergen and across the state into late October. 

‘Afraid to walk around’ 

McLellan said he and his family are “afraid to walk around because virtually no one is wearing a mask and people are not social distancing.” He said there is “very little effort made to encourage people to use masks.”

“One of the things that I see a lot is sanitation workers, DPW workers, they’re never wearing masks, they’re not social distancing and they’re mingling among themselves. And there’s a spike coming.” 

He asked township officials to instruct the Department of Public Works (DPW) to urge employees to wear masks and social distance. McLellan encouraged the township to direct people to wear masks and social distance.  

“If we don’t, we’re going to have more cases in North Bergen,” he said. “It’s going to be worse and worse.” 

McLellan suggested a robo-call to all residents. 

Mayor responds

North Bergen Mayor Nicholas Sacco said the township sent masks to residents who asked for them. He said said that a flier was mailed to residents informing them that they could request masks from the township. 

Sacco said that the township mailed close to 1,000 masks. The program is still operating for residents who need masks. 

According to Sacco, the information is on the township’s website and will be moved up for better visibility.

The township has been promoting mask wearing and social distancing at northbergen.org as well as official social media platforms in both English and Spanish. 

McLellan’s point regarding DPW employees was not addressed. 

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.

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