Jersey City, the city with the most diverse population in New Jersey, has more positive coronavirus cases than any other town or city in the state.
The city now has 820 confirmed COVID-19 cases and six fatalities, including a DPW worker who was a part-time hospital security guard according to Mayor Steven Fulop.
In a series of tweets, Fulop confirmed that indeed, the city has more positive coronavirus cases than 24 states, including Washington, D.C.
“That’s right. Unfortunately Washington fails us as the relief package does very little to help places that need it,” Fulop said. “Example: If the overwhelming majority of the cases are in NY/NJ for the USA wouldn’t logically the overwhelming majority of the relief package go to NY/NJ as well?”
There are more than 16,000 Filipinos in Jersey City, which has a population of 265,000. New Jersey’s total number of cases is now 22,255 and 355 deaths as of April 1, the second-highest figure in the United States, after New York.
Among the more than 800 residents who have tested positive are two of the city’s nine City Council members. The city’s first responders have also been affected, with over 200 police officers out sick. The city says it’s now facing at least a $70 million budget deficit because of virus-related spending and revenue losses.
Former Council President Rolando Lavarro is one of the two City Council members who tested positive for COVID-19. According to NJ.com, Lavarro checked into Jersey City Medical Center on March 21 and was discharged the next Monday. He remains quarantined in his home, with his wife and daughter isolated in other parts of the house.
“I am on the mend today because of the heroic work of frontline health care workers — doctors, patient care technicians, everyone at the hospital and most especially the nurses,” he said. “They are beyond heroic, and yet they are still very much vulnerable humans with families, children and loved ones who they literally can’t touch. God bless them.”
The city opened its own mass-testing sites on Friday, and this was a major factor in the uptick of positive cases, according to Fulop.
“The more testing sites that are popping up are really, really helpful,” he said. “The state should have more of them. It’s a crucial part of combating this virus because you have to have real data around what’s happening.”
He noted that there has been a decrease in the percentage of positive cases. The first day that the sites were opened, 46% of those tested were positive. The number was reduced to 36% on the second day and 31% on the third day.
The first Jersey City testing site is a drive-thru in the southwest section of the city outside of the former DPW complex, located at 575 NJ-440. The drive-thru allows residents to drive up and show proof of address, before being swabbed and driving away. The second location in the East is a walk-up testing site with an expedited process out of the Public Safety Headquarters building located at 465 Marin Boulevard
Both sites will follow an appointment-only system with proof of address (a recent phone, electric, or gas bill) upon arrival. Any resident who has been exposed to the virus and is exhibiting symptoms – dry cough, fever, or shortness of breath – is asked to call the COVID Call Center 201-547-5535 to make an appointment.