Hoboken loses two more residents to COVID-19

City continues first vaccination phase

Mayor Ravi Bhalla said he hopes more providers will get access to the vaccine in the coming months.
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Mayor Ravi Bhalla said he hopes more providers will get access to the vaccine in the coming months.

The Hoboken Health Department reported two more deaths due to COVID-19. They were two women in their 80s.

“I extend my best wishes and deepest sympathies to their family members and loved ones during this extraordinarily difficult time,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a Nixle alert to residents.

This brings Hoboken’s total COVID-19-related deaths to 37 since the pandemic began.

Hoboken has had 2,082 residents test positive for the virus, and 32 new cases were reported on Jan. 5.

Hoboken University Medical Center is currently treating 29 COVID-19 patients, which includes 10 Hoboken residents.

Bhalla has asked residents to get the vaccine once it is available to them.

Currently, the state is in the first phase of vaccinating the public beginning with Category 1A which includes healthcare workers.

“As we enter the new year, my hope is that the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered as efficiently as possible to our residents,” Bhalla said. “The good news is that vaccines are currently underway in Hoboken for healthcare workers, with Riverside Medical Group vaccinating over 200 over the past two weeks. The Hoboken University Medical Center and the County vaccination site also continue to vaccinate healthcare workers.”

According to Bhalla, federal government vaccination benchmarks have not been hit as new COVID-19 infections have at times outpaced total vaccinations across the country.

“My hope is that as we continue along the vaccination process, vaccines will flow at a much faster rate from the federal government to states, and then to counties and cities like Hoboken,” he said.

Unlike the testing phase, where municipalities have almost full control over providers and facilities, the state directs the majority of vaccination efforts through the State Department of Health.

Permission from the state

Based on factors such as the availability of the vaccine and progress in the vaccination process, the state will decide when vaccines will become available to those in other categories.

Hoboken and other municipalities across the state are not allowed to transition to the next phase until permission is granted by the state, according to Bhalla.

The next two categories include Category 1B consisting of frontline essential workers and individuals over 75, and Category 1C consisting of other essential workers, adults 65-74, and people aged 16-64 with medical conditions that increase the risk for severe COVID-19.

Today, Gov. Phil Murphy announced a new COVID-19 vaccination portal website for all New Jersey residents to pre-register for the vaccine: https://covidvaccine.nj.gov/.

This centralized website and portal allows all members of the general public to preregister for eligibility in various phases, and input your contact information, health insurance, and demographic information.

The website will not automatically register an individual for an appointment but will notify a person of their eligibility and direct them to where they can schedule a vaccine appointment.

Currently, there are two options for 1A healthcare workers living in Hoboken to get a vaccine; the first is Riverside Medical Group at 1111 Hudson St. The other is the Hudson County Vaccine Distribution Center at 110 Hackensack Ave. in Kearny.

To schedule an appointment at Riverside, go to http://www.hobokennj.gov/vaccine1A. Once registered, staff from Riverside Medical Group will call to schedule an appointment.

To schedule an appointment at the county facility email HCvax@hudsonregionalhealth.org.

Bhalla said he hopes additional medical providers will be able to receive shipments of and distribute the vaccine once it is more available.

To help facilitate vaccine distribution. Bhalla said his administration has been in touch with both the State Department of Health and with local partners with facilities that could host vaccination distribution.

“Medical providers often times are limited on daily distribution based on limited office size, and we plan to offer providers space in larger facilities to allow for more nurses and doctors to administer the vaccine,” he said.

He said the city has partnered with Riverside Medical Group to help streamline the sign-up process for Hoboken healthcare workers, and will continue to work with them on logistics to maximize vaccine distribution during the 1B phase.

For more information on the vaccination process, visit the state’s vaccine website at https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.