To cope with the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases, drive-thru testing is again available to residents.
Bayonne Medical Center (BMC) has reinstated its “Drive-Thru Testing” program, although not at Veterans Stadium. The Veterans Stadium site ceased operations in July as cases declined.
Now patients with a prescription and an appointment can be tested inside their vehicles at the Emergency Room Driveway entrance at BMC.
This testing takes place every day from, 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. by appointment only.
Cases on the rise
Active cases have been steadily rising for the past eight weeks, spiking throughout November.
As of Nov. 19, there were 178 active cases, according to the Bayonne Office of Emergency Management (OEM). A 69-year-old woman has died.
OEM said that 2,012 residents tested positive, regardless of where that test was given, as of Nov. 19.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, 82 Bayonne residents have died, and 1,752 have recovered.
COVID-19 hospitalizations at BMC remain low because most residents recover at home. There were 12 COVID-19 patients at BMC as of Nov. 19. OEM does not have data on Bayonne residents in hospitals other than BMC.
Chief Mike McCabe of McCabe Ambulance gave the weekly COVID-19 video update on behalf of Mayor James Davis on Nov. 19.
McCabe said that the COVID-19 positivity rate continues to rise as the city endures a second wave of the virus.
“We are still in this fight, and we would be foolish to think otherwise,” McCabe said.
However, McCabe said not all is “doom and gloom.” There may be an uptick in cases in Bayonne, but that the rate of hospitalization remains low.
McCabe said that some sacrifices need to be made this holiday season to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Residents are encouraged to wear masks, social distance, and practice good hygiene.
First responders ready
McCabe reassured residents that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) have taken a number of precautions to operate safely.
Dispatchers screen callers for COVID-19 symptoms to prepare responding EMS technicians.
Callers will meet first responders at the door if possible, to avoid unnecessary exposure. Residents who cannot walk will be accommodated inside.
When responding to a COVID-19 call, McCabe said that first responders will be equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) before entry. This may cause a slight time delay but is important to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Family members are not allowed in the ambulance unless the patient is a juvenile or developmentally delayed. Currently, many area hospitals are not accepting visitors, including family.
After transporting a COVID-19 patient, ambulances are electro-statically decontaminated with a solution spray that is nontoxic and “extremely effective.”
Other ways to get tested
Residents with a prescription and an appointment can 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 tests for 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.
The Bayonne Health Department is immediately notified of positive results and contacts individuals to begin contact tracing.
It advises residents who have recently taken a COVID-19 test to be sure to answer their phones for contact tracers and BHD staff.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.