Mayor Ras J. Baraka, City of Newark
Victor Cirilo, Director, Newark Housing Authority (NHA)
Dr. Shereef Elnahal, President and CEO, University Hospital
Raul Malave, Deputy Director of Public Safety, City of Newark
Dr. Mark Wade, Director of Health and Community Wellness, City of Newark
Before the Q&A, everyone responded to a comment made about a call to 911 and gave insight.
University Hospital has more than 100 people with COVID, all ICU beds are filled with people who need ventilators, over 10 people on ventilators are waiting for an ICU bed, and there’s a tent outside triaging less sick, and that’s what hospitals look like in the rest of Newark and across the region. Screening questions are to find out if you are among the sickest in the city before limited resources are deployed. If someone can rest, hydrate, do self-care, can walk and talk, then it’s best for them to do so at home. Only people who need a ventilator or are in risk of needing one are admitted right now because of limited capacity. These are unprecedented times.
Following the executive order and staying home is extremely important, to protect people. Everyone is cared about in the community but the people who need the most severe care have to be treated first.
EMS call volume is exceptionally high; all agencies have been impacted by COVID-19. Only dial 911 if it’s a life or death emergency. Only leave your home if it’s an emergency. Over 800 summonses issued and 40 businesses were closed who were in violation of the executive order. Only 5 people are allowed in an establishment at a time (if it’s one that’s allowed to be open); restaurants can have take out or deliveries only. Everyone should do their part. Practice social distancing.
Sharing information and sanitizing residential buildings, businesses, and properties is important.
959 positive cases in Newark (28 deaths), 3067 in Essex County (118 deaths), 29,895 in New Jersey (664 deaths); increasing exponentially.
Should I call the police if I see a group of people congregating outside? What do we do about people who are outside all day but are not working – call police?
Do not call 911 for that, instead call 973-733-4311 or 973-733-6000.
With this moratorium does this mean we will be able to live rent free for 90 day?
Be cautious of this because you will have to pay your rent eventually. The City is trying to put together a fund for those who are rent challenged but we will have more information on that days to come.
Newark Housing Authority- If you’ve recently lost your job due to COVID-19 and you have subsidized rent contact your property manager and rectify so that your rent amount is adjusted according to your income. In the case of no longer having an income your rent would be reduced to zero.
Newark Housing Authority- If you pay market rent speak to your landlord and make them aware of your current situation so they can seek remedy.
What protocol does the Senior Citizen homes follow? My relative was unresponsive but I wasn’t able to go check up on them. How do we know if they’re ok?
NHA asks that family members of seniors living in our properties contact them via phone. You can only check on your loved one via phone by calling the management office of that particular building. Out of precaution of protecting our senior population from contracting COVID-19, Seniors are allowed to leave the building but only tenants of senior buildings are allowed in. Senior buildings are not allowed to let in guests.
Wellness checks are also done at all NHA senior citizen buildings.
If you are concerned about your loved one’s health who is a tenant at a senior NHA building, please contact person’s healthcare provider. If they don’t have one in Newark, the FQHC phone number is 1-800-734-7083.
Is it true that if your business hasn’t been open for a year then you’re not eligible for a grant?
Yes, this is true we are only responding to businesses that were shut down and closed based on the Executive Order as it relates to COVID-19.
Can online businesses apply for this grant or only brick and mortar stores?
These grants are for brick and mortar stores only. If you go to www.uwnewark.org you can find out more information.
Why aren’t essential workers being tested for COVID-19 as a precaution?
Because of the shortage of testing kits we are reserving our supply for patients who qualify. We are working towards being able to test all essential employees. Currently, if they do develop symptoms we then test them immediately.
Can anyone be given a fine for just being outside?
Yes, it is possible that you will get a summons and a fine.
Can I go to University hospital for my asthma or any other illness that is not Corona related?
University Hospital is still a level 1 trauma center. You can call 911 and EMS will pick you up and bring you to the hospital for treatment. You must have a severe condition to be admitted or in intensive care because of the increased patient intake due to COVID-19. You are still encouraged to call your doctor, healthcare provider, or Newark’s FQHC.
How are University Hospital employees being protected?
All hospital employees are offered to wear a mask once they arrive at work daily. Every healthcare worker is equipped with protective equipment. We will soon be moving towards a mandatory masking policy for all employees at the hospital.
Is the City still looking for Newark based cleaning companies?
We’re always looking for Newark based cleaning companies, please reach out to us if you have one.
Are we now required to wear masks?
The City is moving towards asking everyone to wear a mask when coming outside.
How is wearing a mask beneficial?
This is beneficial because it blocks respiratory drops and sneezes. This prevents the spread of the virus. This mask minimizes the spread.
Universal masking is similar to the concept of vaccination because everyone is protected from one another.
Extra Supermarket on Avon Ave is price gouging. What can we do to stop this? People can no longer afford to food shop there. They’re also not protecting their customers by promoting social distancing.
We will now be investigating their price gouging. Moving forward please continue to report price gouging at 973-733-4311.
Is this virus airborne? Why are there so many positive cases?
The virus is airborne which is why it is so easily transmittable which is why there are so many positive cases.
I have a relative who has passed from COVID-19, I was told that cremation was mandatory. Is this true?
You can either cremate or find a way to store the body until a large gathering for a funeral is allowed again.
If businesses such as EZ-Pass and Amazon is still operating business as usual while not keeping their employees safe how do we report them?
We have been addressing this regularly – and will continue to check in on these businesses violating the mandate. Please continue to report any businesses that are not following the social distancing mandate by calling 973-733-4311.
Can a person be reinfected after they’ve recovered?
Yes, there is no data that supports that once you are infected then you are immune to the point that you will never be infected again. Even if you recover from COVID-19 you should still practice social distancing.
Is it ok for me to go out during the day to the park for exercise? Would you suggest this?
We are encouraging you to not go outside unless there is an emergency. We would prefer for you to go out on the porch or in the front or back of your house, get some air then go back inside.
Mayor Baraka ended the Q&A by thanking everyone for participating, and thanked the people online who are motivating others while we are social distancing and sheltering in place.