STATUS QUO-RANTINED: Confusion from the White House; State & Local Authorities Clarify COVID-19 Advisory for NY/NJ/CT
(ABOVE: Liberty State Park, which remains open)
On Saturday, the President of the United States took to Twitter to proclaim that he was considering a “QUARANTINE” of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut:
I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing “hot spots”, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2020
At 10:32 p.m. last night, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield tweeted the following:
Domestic Travel Advisory: Due to extensive community transmission of #COVID19 in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, CDC urges residents to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. Read more: https://t.co/fDvmSvOHG8 pic.twitter.com/DXRzgMvXx1
— Dr. Robert R. Redfield (@CDCDirector) March 29, 2020
Due to extensive community transmission of COVID -19 in the area, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately. This Domestic Travel Advisory does not apply to employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply. These employees of critical infrastructure, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security (https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforceexternal icon), have a special responsibility to maintain normal work schedules. The Governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.
When folks in our region woke up this morning, there was considerable confusion about what that directive meant. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy stepped in to clarify the statements coming out of Washington, as they pertain to what we’re doing here in the Garden State.
“To be clear, this non-binding advisory guidance does not change the rules that have been established and in place for over a week now under Executive Order 107,” said Murphy.
Throughout the day, I’ve been in constant communication with the @WhiteHouse, including discussions with @realDonaldTrump and @VP, who briefed me on tonight’s @CDCgov travel advisory affecting the tri-state region.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 29, 2020
Executive Order 107 has been in place in New Jersey since March 21, directing all New Jersey residents to stay at home until further notice.
The order provides for certain exceptions, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work, or engaging in outdoor activities. Proper social distancing protocols MUST be maintained in these instances.
Governor Murphy’s Executive Order further directs the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public, with the exceptions of:
• Grocery stores, farmer’s markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store;
• Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries;
• Medical supply stores;
• Gas stations;
• Convenience stores;
• Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities;
• Hardware and home improvement stores;
• Banks and other financial institutions;
• Laundromats and dry-cleaning services;
• Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years;
• Pet stores;
• Liquor stores;
• Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;
• Printing and office supply shops;
• Mail and delivery stores
The Order continues existing bans on recreational and entertainment businesses, requirements that all restaurants operate by delivery and takeout only, and the directive that all pre-K, elementary, and secondary schools close and all institutions of higher education cease in-person instruction.
As of Saturday, there were 11,124 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in New Jersey, with 104 fatalities. Hudson County last reported 771 cases.
Jersey City opened two new testing centers on Friday as a way to help residents get the treatment they need.
“We know testing is key to fight the virus, so we decided to use city funds to give better resources to Jersey City residents,” said Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. “Our residents deserve the best access to healthcare and testing, and we know these testing sites are an important part of the equation.”
The drive-thru site is in the southwest section of the city outside of the former DPW complex, located at 575 NJ-440. This set up allows residents to drive up and show proof of address, before being swabbed and driving away.
Hoboken is currently seeking volunteers to staff the COVID-19 response in the Mile Square City.
Hoboken Spokesman Vijay Chaudhuri told hMAG, “We’re looking for certified nurses and epidemiologists, as well as personnel for database management and health investigations.”
Chaudhuri adds, “Vulnerable individuals (senior citizens, pregnant women, anyone with pre-existing respiratory issues) should not volunteer.”
Our Health Department is doing a great job but needs help. We need volunteer public health nurses & epidemiologists to assist with managing COVID-19 data. If you can help out, email firstname.lastname@example.org w/ subject “public health nurse & epidemiologist”
— Ravinder S. Bhalla (@RaviBhalla) March 27, 2020
“We continue to see a spike in cases in Hoboken,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “We now have 85 confirmed cases in Hoboken. Unfortunately, with the apex not projected to hit for at least another week or two, we are likely to see an even greater amount of confirmed cases in the coming days.”
Regional hospitals are under considerable strain as the impact of COVID-19 becomes more of a factor.
“I want to extend a big thank you to all of our healthcare workers, essential workers, and our own health department for all they do for our residents,” said Bhalla. “They’re on the front lines every day dealing with this crisis in person, and we owe them our gratitude. It was incredible to hear the outpouring of support from residents at 7:00 pm tonight as people clapped and gave thanks from their homes and balconies. It’s a small token of our appreciation for their service to our community.
Much appreciated Hoboken pic.twitter.com/6LjTxd7D4I
— robert chaneski (@RChaneski) March 28, 2020
More supplies are being sent from the Federal Government to help with the fight:
Following conversations with @realDonaldTrump and @VP, we received a critical shipment of PPE from the federal stockpile last night:
120,000 N95 masks
287,000 surgical masks
62,000+ face shields
51,000+ surgical gloves
368,000+ pairs of gloves
1,000 medical beds
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 28, 2020
Meanwhile, relief for local businesses impacted by the long-term shutdown continues to evolve:
We’ve approved a suite of new programs to support businesses & workers facing economic hardship due to the COVID-19 outbreak:
💰Grants for small biz
💳0% interest loans for mid-size companies
👩🔬Funding for entrepreneurs
🏦Support for CDFIshttps://t.co/PNHnCc8DYI pic.twitter.com/RLTI3peuxM
— New Jersey EDA (@NewJerseyEDA) March 28, 2020