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City of Hoboken, NJ
Friday April 24th, 2020 :: 01:37 p.m. EDT


Update from Mayor Bhalla on COVID-19 (4/24)

Below is an update from Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla on COVID-19:

Christina Liu Dorando, a Hoboken resident and owner of local business Chesthill Academy, is one of many who are facing substantial challenges due to COVID-19. She has been creatively finding ways to innovate for her business and employees, and recently updated her business model to create a commercial kitchen with a meal delivery service - including regular donations to our front-line workers. This week, Chesthill Academy donated nearly 100 meals to front line workers sheltering at the Residence Inn by Marriott in Port Imperial. Christina, recently profiled by CNBC, is one of the many Hoboken residents living the mantra to "be the change you wish to see in the world" and I am grateful for her value-driven leadership. 
Impact of COVID-19 in Hoboken
The Hoboken Health Department reported another five COVID-19 cases yesterday in Hoboken, with a total of 409 known, confirmed cases. Sadly, there was one additional death of a man in his 80s for a total of 23 fatalities, and our hearts go out to his family.
We learned today of a backlog in some confirmed positive cases, due to an increase in testing and phasing in the rapid, 15-minute tests. Some of the tests conducted by Riverside were provided to the NJ Department of Health, however an issue in the processing meant the City was not provided with those confirmed numbers.
The updated results will be manually inputted by Riverside Medical and the Hoboken Health Department and reported tomorrow for the daily and weekly report. Although this backlog will skew the daily trends in our data when reported tomorrow, it should not be viewed as an actual, one day spike in numbers. Rather, the cases reported tomorrow represent positive tests that occurred over several days but were simply not reported to the City until now. Tomorrow, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the up-to-date data that includes this information and the full, known impact of COVID-19 in Hoboken. Importantly, as we continue to procure more kits and further increase the number of residents tested, the number of positive cases reported may also rise proportionately.
As always, we will continue to provide as much COVID-19 information and data as possible to the Hoboken public as we receive it.
Gradual reopening
I know that residents are looking forward to a time when Hoboken will reopen and we can all get back to life as we used to know it. I know that time will eventually come. We will continue to be guided by the advice of medical professionals and ensure the steps we take are not jeopardizing the health and safety of our residents. Unlike mid-March when we began a rapid process of shutting down bars, restaurants, essential businesses and more, an eventual re-opening, when that time comes, will likely be a gradual process and done in phases as opposed to all at once. We will continue to be guided by Governor Murphy and the State on this process, as it is critically important to have a cohesive, regional approach where some cities aren’t reopening at a quicker pace than others, which could jeopardize public health.  
New Jersey and municipalities will face extreme measures without federal aid
As I mentioned earlier this week, the State of New Jersey its local governments are in critical need of federal aid, which unfortunately was not included in the new stimulus bill. New Jersey and municipalities, without this aid, will face substantial cuts to public services. It’s unconscionable that the United States Senate leadership is encouraging a “solution” for states and local governments to go “bankrupt” at a time where those government employees who could be directly impacted include police, firefighters, medical personnel, and more. Unlike the federal government, which can continue to carry a large deficit, states and cities like Hoboken have to present a balanced budget. I’ve spoken to Senator Menendez and Senator Booker, who both understand the vital importance of this funding for cities and they have assured me that they will push for this aid for local governments in the next stimulus bill.
Stimulus bill to be signed by President Trump today
President Trump is anticipated to sign the stimulus bill passed through the U.S. Senate and U.S. House today, that includes over $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses. I encourage businesses to continue to monitor the federal Small Businesses Association website, for updates. We will provide additional updates for businesses as they become available.
Continuing to assist seniors in self-isolation and senior check-in program
In order to encourage seniors to remain home in self-isolation and protected from COVID-19, Director Leo Pellegrini and I, with the support of the City Council, are extending the home meal delivery program for another two weeks. Seniors in senior buildings will continue to receive lunch and dinner, free of charge, to help reduce their need to purchase food outside the home. Over 27,000 meals were delivered to seniors through this program, and we anticipate distributing another 25,000 meals in the next two weeks. Thank you again to all of the volunteers who have helped pack and distribute these meals, including Caroline Caulfield for organizing this process, as I know our seniors are very grateful.
As a reminder, if you are a senior who does not reside in a senior building but would like meals delivered to your home, please call our City Hall Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) hotline at 201-420-5625. Another resource also available to seniors is a recently launched senior check-in program, to help answer any questions or provide any information needed. Councilwoman Vanessa Falco has offered to serve as a point of contact and can be reached over the phone or via text at 201-523-4033. Translation services are also offered for Spanish speakers, provided by HoLa Hoboken Dual Language Charter School.
Thank you to Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro, Freeholder Anthony Romano, Councilmembers Ruben Ramos, Vanessa Falco and Tiffanie Fisher, Andrew Impastato, David Melo, Nicole Cammarota, Toni Tomarazzo, Joe Barry, Marc Recko and Erica Seitzman for helping coordinate this senior-check in. The task force also helped acquire over 3,000 pieces of supplies including hand sanitizer for seniors at Walmart, thanks to the assistance of Jackie Princiotto, who works at the store.
I also extend my thanks to Toni Tomarazzo and all of the volunteers at the Hoboken Food Pantry, who have been doing an incredible job also providing meals to residents in need. Since March 25, the Hoboken Food Pantry has delivered groceries and/or meals to over 2,900 residents, which includes over 2,100 seniors.
Blood drive reminder
Councilwoman Emily Jabbour, resident John Ferramosca, and the Hoboken Health Department have now coordinated three blood drives during the month of April and collected nearly 100 pints of blood. If you are signed up for today's Red Cross Blood Drive at the Multi Service Center (124 Grand Street), please remember to honor your appointment and wear a face mask or face cover. If you are symptomatic or have been credibly exposed to a confirmed case of COVID, you will not be able to donate. To check for last minute openings, go to:
Thank you, Hoboken. Please continue to stay indoors, so we can all remain #HobokenStrong.

Ravi S. Bhalla

City of Hoboken, NJ
94 Washington St
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 201-420-2000

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