Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop said Thursday morning that the city will be issuing a 10 p.m. curfew for nightclubs and other venues with liquor licenses, and will require all establishments with allowable public capacity greater than 25 people to track attendance as preps for a potential coronavirus outbreak continue.
By Corey McDonald and John Heinis
During a press conference Thursday morning, Fulop said that the city via executive order will be instituting the curfew before this weekend, and will be requiring that “private groups that are non-city involved… be tracking attendance as best that they can.”
“We’re going to be providing information that we would like them to gather,” in order to aid the Department of Health and Human Services to “track people who have tested positive, and where they’ve been involved.”
“We want to make sure we have documentation to make that as easy as possible,” he added, expressing multiple times that there are still not presumptive positive cases in Jersey City.
Health and Human Services Director Stacey Flanagan noted at the presser that she is confident that all protocols provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are being followed.
Four recent coronavirus tests have been administered to Jersey City residents, with three coming back negative and one result pending, she said.
“Under the CDC protocol, there are four people that have been tested, we’re waiting for one more result, but three of the four are absolutely negative, and the one – we’re waiting for the CDC.”
Additionally, Jersey City Health Officer Dr. Shatrughan Bastola said that approximately 50 people have entered self-quarantine as a precautionary measure after believing they may have come into contact with someone who is infected, some of whom have already been cleared.
Furthermore, Public Safety Director James Shea addressed a situation that occurred yesterday, where a man who believed he had been infected with coronavirus tried to enter City Hall wearing a medical mask and latex gloves.
“People get scared, and panic, so this person yesterday was afraid that they may have been exposed so they put a mask and gloves on and came looking for help. And again, we anticipated that, our officer at the door knew what to do, he never got into City Hall, we obtained him help.”
He continued that such an instance can still happen tomorrow in the event that someone succumbs to panic, but he urged anyone that feels they are need of assistance to call the city’s newly established hotline at 201-547-5208.
When asked if any of the coronavirus patients from Bergen County or New York City may have traveled through Jersey City, Shea said it was assumed that they had even if it could not be proven at this time.
“We just assume so: there’s over 100 cases in New York City. People go back and forth from New York City to Jersey City all the time. So to answer your question, we assume that somebody with this contagion must’ve passed through at one point or another – it would be illogical to assume anything else.”
Superintendent of School Franklin Walker noted that no one in the school district was believed to have been infected and that visitors will now only be allowed inside schools via an appointment or an emergency.
While there have been 23 presumptive cases and one fatality in the state, there has only be one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Hudson County.
The patient, a 32-year-old from West New York, is making a speedy recovery.
“There’s over a hundred cases in New York City and people go back and forth from New York City to Jersey City all the time,” Public Safety Director James Shea said.
“We assume that someone with this contagion must have passed through at one point or another and it would be illogical to assume anything else: that’s why we’re taking whatever reasonable steps that we can to slow potential contagions.”
Additional measures enacted by the city to minimize potential impacts of the virus include making all city offices available by appointment only.
During Wednesday night’s council meeting, residents had to sign in and provide contact information.
Meanwhile, the city is preparing for an outbreak by having 12,000 meals ready-to-eat (MREs) for the seniors in case of an outbreak, as well as setting up a number for people to call if they’re concerned they may have come in contact with the coronavirus.
Individuals are being asked to call (201-547-5208) if they suspect that they have been exposed to COVID-19.
These policies will remain in place until presumptive positive tests for COVID-19 begin to decrease in the state, the city said.
“We want to err on the side of caution, we are in uncharted territory,” Fulop said.
The full presser streamed live on our Facebook page and can be viewed below:
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