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2 Jersey City police officers in serious condition with coronavirus

An additional 16 officers are quarantined and 42 officers are off work due to experiencing various symptoms


Jersey City officials held a press conference detailing measures enacted to curb COVID-19 spread among first responders at JCPD East District on Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Photo/Michael Dempsey/The Jersey Journal

By Adrienne Romero
NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

JERSEY CITY — Two Jersey City police officers who have tested positive for the coronavirus are in serious condition and an additional 16 officers are quarantined, Mayor Steve Fulop said at a news conference Sunday morning.

Fulop also said that another 42 police officers are out of work due to experiencing various symptoms that could be attributed to the novel coronavirus.

“There’s no question that we are seeing an impact on first-responders,” Fulop said. “I just want to highlight how appreciative we are that they’re out there every single day.”

Fulop said the city is initiating new protocols within the police and fire departments to halt the spread of the respiratory illness.

Police Chief Michael Kelly, who oversees 950 police officers, said the department can’t practice social distance due to the nature of their job. Instead all Jersey City precincts and patrol cars will get daily “deep cleaning,” as well as an on-demand aerosol cleaning — which the East District precinct experienced moments before the press conference.

Kelly and Public Safety Director James Shea highlighted the other changes within the departments including:

  • The elimination of face-to-face relief, where officers speak to each other before switching shifts;
  • Officers will clock in at 10-minute intervals;
  • The elimination of roll call;
  • Police partners will ride in separare cruisers.

At 8 a.m. on Monday, JCPD will start a telephone-reporting unit for minor incidents, Kelly added.

“If a citizen wants us, we’ll be there, just like we would any other day,” Kelly said.

Shea said that despite the quarantine and the officers out, the police department shifts are fully staffed and all service calls are being answered.

Fulop noted that because of the coronavirus, and the curfew and business closures, the number of daily service calls have dropped by 25 percent.

Of the 16 quarantined police officers, eight had contact with the two ill officers, Fulop said. The remaining eight are unrelated to the two known police cases, and they have been medically advised to self-quarantine.

State officials announced Sunday afternoon that there are 126 COVID-19 cases in Hudson County and more than 1,900 statewide. So far, 20 deaths have been attributed to the novel coronavirus.

Fire Chief Steve McGill said three firefighters are in self-quarantine, but will most likely be back to work soon.

Aaliyah, a resident near the East District precinct, who did not provide her last name, said she appreciates the first-responders continuing their duties even during the outbreak.

“It’s unfortunate, but if it’s not them on the front-line, who else?” she said. “(All precautions) aren’t great to some people, but it’s necessary.”

A Hudson County accounting of coronavirus cases, according to reporting by each community:

Jersey City: 50, as of March 21.

Hoboken: 19, as of March 21.

North Bergen: 16, as of March 22.

West New York: 10, as of March 22.

Bayonne: 6 as of March 20.

Union City: 6, as of March 22.

Kearny: 4, as of March 20.

Weehawken: 2, as of March 20.

Secaucus: 1, as of March 19.

Guttenberg: Has not announced any cases

Harrison: Has not announced any cases.

East Newark: Has not announced any cases.

Hudson County: 126, as of March 22, according to the state Department of Health.

As of 2 p.m. Sunday, there’s 1,914 coronavirus cases and 20 deaths in New Jersey. The virus has infected over 15,000 people nationally.

On Saturday, Gov. Phil Murphy ordered the state’s 9 million residents to stay home and to close all non-essential businesses until further notice.