Jersey City cancels ‘larger group’ senior events as part of proactive coronavirus plan

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The City of Jersey City has cancelled upcoming “larger group events for our senior community” as part of a proactive plan to deal with the coronavirus, which also includes having 1,000s of ready to eat meals on hand and establishing a phone number for people who believe they may have been infected.

Photo via jerseycitynj.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“We have proactively today cancelled the larger group events for our senior community; there were several events scheduled for St. Patty’s Day,” Mayor Steven Fulop said at a press briefing this morning.

“We want to make sure, again, that our most vulnerable populations are not placed in harm’s way … we’re asking people to use their best judgement.”

The mayor also reiterated, as he did at an unrelated presser yesterday, that the city has no presumptive positive cases of COVID-19, but they have been proactive nonetheless.

Some of examples he provided as to how the city is taking the situation seriously included the city now 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.

“We set up a dial up number (201-547-5208) for people to call in if they suspect that they have been exposed to COVID-19,” Fulop explained.

“We don’t want to overwhelm our medical facilities and we want to make sure that people who are concerned do not use public transportation to travel to our medical facilities; we recognize that we have a large underinsured population here – we will direct you on where to go and how to proceed via our dispatchers that will be manned 24 hours a day.”

Gov. Phil Murphy (D) declared a state of emergency yesterday, effectively waiving necessary medical testing and testing-related services necessary to diagnose the virus – as well as to halt price gouging.

Fulop noted today that this could have a significant impact on municipal budgets throughout the state, something the city is in contact with the governor’s office about.

“We’re also in conversation with the governor’s office to better understand what the impact is of the state of emergency. It has a massive impact on budgets of municipalities around the state of NJ and a declaration in the state for a prolonged period of time, without and confirmed cases in the municipality, can be tragic and really detrimental to our budget and our taxpayers, so we want to better understand what our responsibilities are on that front as well.”

Residents, employees, and commuters can find the latest Jersey City updates here on their website.

Yesterday, the Jersey City Board of Education announced that Wednesday would be a half-day for students so that staff could prepare a “full contingency plan” for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, neighboring Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said this morning that senior activities and trips would be cancelled as of tomorrow until further notice.

About an hour ago, Murphy announced that a 69-year-old unidentified Bergen County man, was the first New Jersey native to die from the coronavirus.

News Correspondent Corey McDonald contributed to this report.