Thanksgiving typically means traveling to loved ones to break bread and give thanks, but as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Hoboken, Mayor Ravi Bhalla has urged residents to reconsider.
“As cases surge in New Jersey and throughout the country, I ask all residents to please consider the health implications of gathering together in person with extended family members on Thanksgiving this year,” Bhalla said.
“I know it is difficult to stay away from family and friends outside your nuclear household, but the health risks are substantial with infection rates rising, and gatherings indoors making up the largest increase of our COVID-19 cases. I strongly urge residents to avoid Thanksgiving gatherings beyond immediate household members, any travel out-of-state, and consider alternatives such as virtual gatherings.”
According to the most recent data from the Health Department, Hoboken has had a total of 1,147 known, confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,001 residents who have made a full recovery. Deaths have remained unchanged at 31.
Hoboken University Medical Center is currently treating 15 patients with COVID-19, which includes two local residents.
In New Jersey, a total of 14,694 residents have died since the beginning of the pandemic and more than 1,800 residents with COVID-19 are currently hospitalized, the highest number since June.
The positivity rate from tests has risen to 12 percent, and the rate of transmission is 1.3.
The city Health Department has tied many of the city’s new positive cases to indoor gatherings, both large and small, between family and friends as well as social gatherings from Halloween weekend, children’s recreation activities, and even outdoor social gatherings where people did not properly socially distance from one another.
As a result, Bhalla is asking residents to stay home this holiday and instead celebrate with loved ones virtually.
He said if traveling is unavoidable, he urged residents to quarantine for a full 10 days before seeing others and to get tested prior to gathering and instruct others to do the same.
He said gatherers should remain outdoors and socially distanced at all practical times and wear face masks indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
He also said that all gatherings should be limited to only a small number of people.
Residents and local business employees can get tested by Riverside Medical Group and Prompt MD.
Prompt MD is offering PCR tests at 605 Jackson St. two days a week. Additional testing will be added on Fridays beginning Nov. 20.
To sign up for an appointment go to http://www.hobokennj.gov/promptmd.
Those who have not received their test results within 72 hours, can call Star Labs at 732-529-5100 or if unable to reach Star Labs by phone after 72 hours email email@example.com and the Health Department will follow up with the lab.
Hoboken residents can get tested by Riverside Medical Group under the 14th Street Viaduct. It offers rapid 15-minute tests Monday through Saturday. To schedule an appointment go to http://www.hobokennj.gov/riverside.
Preexisting Riverside Medical Group patients should call their Riverside primary care office to make an appointment.
For those without insurance, testing is free at the Riverside and Prompt MD sites.
COVID-19 PCR tests are currently available through Medicine Man Pharmacy at 511 Washington St. Monday through Friday.
Appointments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, and can be booked at https://www.medbarhealth.com/mmpc.
The city has had a higher rate of testing cancellations and residents failing to show up for appointments in recent weeks.
“If you need to cancel, please be sure to do so at minimum 24 hours ahead of time, so someone else can take your slot, especially given the high demand for testing,” Bhalla said. “Please also do not book more than one test per two weeks, unless you are exhibiting symptoms.”
To cancel or reschedule a test with Prompt MD, click the Solv text message or email that was sent at the time of signing up for testing.
To cancel a test with Riverside Medical, send an email to the Hoboken Health Department at LMedeiros@HobokenNJ.gov.