Reopening New Jersey: Hoboken sees 2-day spike in COVID-19 cases; patients traveled to hot spots

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Hoboken officials announced Saturday a two-day spike in cases, the highest since mid-May.

Six cases were confirmed on Thursday and seven on Friday.

Mayor Ravinder Bhalla said all 13 cases were those who traveled to states with alarming COVID-19 rates. 12 of the 13 went to states on New Jersey's travel advisory quarantine list, including Florida, Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina.

"What the Hoboken Health Department has observed with the recent two-day spike of 13 cases on Thursday and Friday, thanks to their quick and diligent contact tracing, is that all 13 of the new cases traveled for work or pleasure outside of Hoboken to states with rising COVID-19 rates," Bhalla said.

He said those states included Florida, Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Mayor Bhalla reminded residents if they traveled to any 16 states on the list that they would need to quarantine for 14 days after leaving that state.

"This is a trend that we began to see on June 20, when we had 7 new cases reported in one day," he said. "From June 20 until July 1, Hoboken saw 30 new cases, and thanks to the proactive work of the Health Department and Dr. Brahmbhatt, we learned the large majority of these cases followed the same pattern - the majority tested positive after traveling to out-of-state COVID hot spots. This trend isn't unique to Hoboken or the region."

Officials say all 13 cases are under the age of 45, with the majority between 20 and 35 who have attended both outdoor and indoor gatherings.

"What's especially troubling is that of these 13 recent positive cases, some of those that tested positive exhibited no symptoms," Bhalla said. "But, thankfully they heeded our call we previously put alerting residents to this early trend, and to get tested if you traveled to a hot spot state, even if they did not exhibit symptoms of COVID-19."
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Hoboken officials announced the rise in cases Saturday during a press conference.


Bhalla said if residents travel to a hot spot state, then "self-quarantine yourself and get tested for COVID-19 at least 5-7 days after returning."

"Residents should not get a test within the first 24 hours or less than 5 days after returning as getting a test too early could lead to a false negative," the mayor said. "In Hoboken, we're fortunate that we have a public testing site right here in our mile square, and receiving a test is easy - all you have to do is call 201-420-5621 on our City Hall hotline, and you're eligible for a 15-minute rapid result test. And, if you don't have insurance, the City will pay for the cost of your test. Already, 5,000 residents and business employees have gotten tested at this site. Even after you get a test, and it's negative, you still must quarantine for the remainder of the 14 days."

Hoboken's positive tests results had been below two percent until the end of June.

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