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BHD talks COVID-19, variants, and vaccines

Suzanne Cavanaugh is an R.N. at the Bayonne Health Department

Suzanne Cavanaugh gave the weekly COVID-19 update on Jan. 28.

According to federal, state, and local health agencies, as of Jan. 29, Hudson County was at an extremely high risk level for COVID-19.

Before this dire warning, Hudson County Registered Nurse at the Bayonne Health Department (BHD) Suzanne Cavanaugh gave the weekly COVID-19 video update.

COVID-19 in Bayonne

Cavanaugh said that for almost a year, the BHD, led by Michele O’ Reilly, has been working nonstop to educate, monitor, trace, and vaccinate the community. Over the last few months, active cases of COVID-19 have been on the rise, she said.

As of Jan 28, there were under 500 active cases, according to Office of Emergency Management. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 98 residents have died, and 4,086 have recovered as of Jan. 21.

“We need to understand this virus is still here,” Cavanaugh said.

She urged residents to practice COVID-sense: “We have to wear masks. We must have good hygiene. We must avoid unprotected close contact. And we must, most of all, protect our vulnerable community.”

Cavanaugh discussed the spread of variants of COVID-19 first identified in the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa.

“These different strands of the coronavirus appear to be more virulent and aggressive,” she said. “So your adherence to the safety principles has become even more pressing.”

Vaccine rollout continues

Cavanaugh said that the BHD and Bayonne Vaccination Committee is working to ensure that everyone who is in the eligible phases in the state Department of Health and wants to receive the vaccine will get it.

While acquiring doses is a challenge, thousands of residents have been vaccinated, according to Cavanaugh.

At Bayonne Medical Center (BMC), more than 1,800 vaccinations have been given. More than 1,100 Bayonne residents have been vaccinated at the Hudson County Vaccine Distribution Center in Kearny. Approximately 350 residents in Bayonne Housing Authority senior buildings have received the vaccine to date.

Mayor Davis is working with RWJBarnabas Health to administer a small amount of vaccines at Jersey City Medical Center’s satellite office at 519 Broadway.

Currently, healthcare personnel, first responders, and residents at high risk can receive the vaccine. Eligible residents can register for an appointment at 201-858-6088 or email bayvax@baynj.org.

Hudson County residents can register at the facility in Kearny by going to hudsoncovidvax.org. If residents get their first shot there, they must get their second shot there.

Cavanaugh asked residents to be courteous and patient. She said it will take several weeks to vaccinate everyone who registers.

The city will reach out to residents who have called or emailed to schedule an appointment. Cavanaugh urged residents not to call BMC or the BHD asking about their spot on the list.

“Do not call us asking to move you or a family member to the front of the line,” she said. “We are all in this together, and you will be called.”

COVID-19 Testing

Bayonne Medical Center has reinstated its drive-thru program. Patients with a prescription and an appointment can be tested inside their vehicles at the Emergency Room Driveway entrance every day from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The walk-in COVID-19 testing site at the Bayonne Community Museum at 229 Broadway has announced additional dates. It will now be open on Feb. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, and 24.

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 at 904 Bayonne Crossing Way offers tests for walk-ins only; call 551-497-5675 for more information.

Residents can get tested at Broadway Care Pharmacy at 516 Broadway, and Total Care Pharmacy at 596 Broadway. Call 201-437-5100 for Broadway Care Pharmacy and 201-535-5080 for Total Care Pharmacy.

Testing is available from Dr. Ahab Gabriel at 449 Ave. C, and Hudson DNA and Testing at 150 Pulaski St. Call 201-374-1103 for Dr. Gabriel and 201-994-6594 for Hudson DNA and Testing.

Call 551-214-3500 for an appointment at RWJBarnabas Health at 519 Broadway.

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. The BHD advises residents who have recently taken a COVID-19 test to be sure to answer their phones for contact tracers and 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 disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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