North Jersey is urging public to be cautious amid COVID-19 spike
A growing number of North Jersey communities are re-evaluating COVID-19 protocols, as the number of active cases has seen a recent surge.
On Wednesday, across New Jersey there were just over 1,000 current hospitalizations due to COVID-19, with more than half of those cases in the seven counties that the Department of Health considers North Jersey — Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Warren, Bergen, Essex and Hudson.
There also were 1,682 new cases based on test results since Tuesday and the rate of transmission was 1.25, according to state data.
The last time more than 1,000 coronavirus patients statewide were reported as hospitalized at the same time was early July. At that point, the rate of transmission was 0.87.
East Orange was among communities issuing new warnings to its residents this week.
“If I have to shut down businesses early and shut down the parks and all large outside activities, I will,” Mayor Ted Green said in a written statement.
As of Tuesday, East Orange had reached a cumulative 2,255 positive cases reported and 233 confirmed deaths, putting East Orange right behind Newark with the second highest number of positive cases in Essex County.
Newark started the week's announcement of new curfews, as Mayor Ras Baraka said that most businesses would be expected to close at 8 p.m. for the next two weeks, with many moving to appointment-only operations. Restaurants were ordered to end indoor service at 8 p.m. and outdoor service by 11 p.m.
On Tuesday, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced a new curfew, as all bars and restaurants would be ordered to close by midnight each night, starting Thursday.
Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh a day later also announced a midnight curfew for city businesses, with the exception of gas stations being allowed to sell gas and restaurants providing take-out and delivery orders.
According to Sayegh's executive order, set to take effect Thursday, Paterson residents are encouraged to stay inside after 9 p.m.
"With infections rising, the last thing we want is for Hoboken to be the location where large amounts of people are encouraged to come and party late at night, when social distancing and other health precautions are much less likely to be observed," Bhalla said.
“As the weather gets cooler, more people are moving indoors and hosting private gatherings. Those indoor gatherings are where most of the clusters of positive cases are being found across the state,” East Orange Department of Health and Human Services Director Monique Griffith said in a written statement.
“You must still wear your face covers, practice social distancing and adhere to all safety guidelines. We will do everything we can within the community to keep you safe, but we need your help to do it.”
Meanwhile, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said they would not be ramping up restrictions, despite the efforts by neighboring cities.
In a thread on Twitter, Fulop said the city's extensive contact tracing efforts "show our current uptick isn’t related to businesses," but similarly more from family and friends hosting in-home gatherings.
"We are using our data to assist our already struggling businesses by adding testing and providing necessary supplies and support so that we can minimize further devastation with restrictions now," Fulop said, adding Jersey City would stay aligned with guidance from the governor's office.