Coronavirus Positive Tests in Oakland:
- Today the Borough of Oakland was notified by the Bergen County Health Department that there is a total of 23 individuals in Oakland who tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Bergen County Health Department is no longer providing towns with patient details such as gender and age so we are not able to provide that information to the community.
- The Bergen County Health Department is the lead agency for investigation of cases involving a positive COVID-19 person, including all close contacts. If it is determined that a resident is in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19, the Bergen County Health Department will reach out. Close contact is considered being within a 6-foot radius of the person for a minimum duration of 10 minutes. People who are outside of this are not considered a close contact. It is important for everyone to monitor their health and consult a primary care physician if exhibiting symptoms.
- If anyone has questions about COVID-19, you can call the 24-hour New Jersey Hotline at (800) 222-1222. You can also visit the State of NJ Coronavirus Website Here.
- Updates will be provided as they become available.
County to Open COVID-19 Drive-Thru Test Site to Bergen County Residents Only on Monday:
- Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco has announced that Bergen County has expanded their drive-thru COVID-19 test site to include symptomatic residents who live in Bergen County on an appointment only basis. This site will continue to serve first responders and healthcare professionals who live or work in Bergen County as well. The drive-thru test site is located at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center at 230 East Ridgewood Avenue in Paramus, N.J.
- Symptomatic Bergen County residents, first responders or healthcare professionals must provide identification proving their residency, hospital ID or first responder badges.
- COVID-19 testing at the drive-thru site is available only to symptomatic residents who are first screened by completing a brief survey located at https://www.newbridgehealth.org and evaluated by a Telehealth doctor. Patients will then be given a confirmation code number to present at the drive-thru testing site.
- More information is available at: https://www.newbridgehealth.org and at https://co.bergen.nj.us.
Update from the Tax Collector:
- In light of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the State has placed funding for Homestead Credits in reserve to meet emergency and statutorily required obligations. There will not be any adjusted tax bills sent out for 2nd quarter 2020 tax billing. More information will be posted as it becomes available.
Snap Assistance during Coronavirus:
- If you receive SNAP benefits, you will receive additional benefits in April to help buy food during this public health crisis. Extra benefits started Sunday March 29, 2020. You will receive the difference between your regular SNAP and the maximum benefit for your family size. The extra benefit will be added directly to your family’s EBT card. You will receive your April SNAP benefits during your regular time at the new maximum level. You can check your balance at www.NJFamiliesFirst.com or go some ATMs. View the flier here.
Mortgage Relief and Financial Protections:
- 90-Day Grace Period for Mortgage Payments: Financial institutions will offer, consistent with applicable guidelines, mortgage payment forbearances of up to 90 days to borrowers economically impacted by COVID-19. In addition, those institutions will:
- Provide borrowers a streamlined process to request a forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
- Confirm approval of and terms of forbearance program; and
- Provide borrowers the opportunity to request additional relief, as practicable, upon continued showing of hardship due to COVID-19.
- No Negative Credit Impacts Resulting from Relief: Financial institutions will not report derogatory trade lines (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies, consistent with applicable guidelines, for borrowers taking advantage of COVID-19-related relief.
- Moratorium on Initiating Foreclosure Sales or Evictions: For at least 60 days, financial institutions will not initiate foreclosure sales or evictions, consistent with applicable guidelines.
- Relief from Fees and Charges: For at least 90 days, financial institutions will waive or refund at least the following for customers who have requested assistance:
- Mortgage-related late fees; and
- Other fees, including early CD withdrawals (subject to applicable federal regulations).
Last week, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 106, which imposed a moratorium on removing individuals from their homes pursuant to an eviction or foreclosure proceeding while the Order is in effect. Tenants cannot be asked to leave their homes for nonpayment of rent during this time.
For more information on COVID-19 related mortgage relief, please click here. Click here for a list of participating financial institutions (list is subject to change).
Questions and answers on financial relief:
- How do I get mortgage relief and/or forbearance? You should contact and work directly with your mortgage servicer to learn about and apply for available relief. Please note that financial institutions and their servicers are experiencing high volumes of inquiries.
- How long will the forbearance last? The terms of a forbearance will be agreed to between you and your mortgage service. Financial institutions will confirm approval of and terms of the forbearance program.
- What effect will this have on my credit report? Financial institutions will not report derogatory information (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies but may report a forbearance, which typically does not alone negatively affect a credit score.
- How long will these programs last? It is still unclear how severe or how long the COVID-19 impacts will be. Financial institutions have committed to necessary relief and will be assessing the ongoing conditions and necessity of continuing relief.
- What if my financial institution isn’t offering this relief? At this time, Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, in addition to over 40 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers are supporting these commitments. The state will welcome any other institution that would like to meet the moment and provide much-needed financial relief to New Jerseyans.
- What if I already made a payment or was hit with a fee because of COVID-19? These measures go into effect as of March 28, 2020.
- Is the mortgage relief available to businesses? The relief is currently only available for residential mortgages.
- What if my mortgage servicer is not communicative or cooperative? You can file a complaint with the Department of Banking and Insurance through the complaint form on the department website (https://www.state.nj.us/dobi/consumer.htm) or by contacting the department at (609) 292-7272 or 1-800-446-7467 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST Monday through Friday).
Social Distancing Guidelines for Essential Retail Businesses:
- Social distancing involves taking measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting the op-opportunities for exposure. The general recommendation is to avoid crowds and close contact by keeping six feet between yourself and others. When social distancing is properly implemented, it can be an important strategy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Grocery Stores and Specialty Food Stores:
- Executive Order No. 107 designated grocery stores and other stores that sell food goods as essential. The supply chain for these stores has not been disrupted and these stores are permitted to operate during their normal operating hours.
- These stores should continue to follow social distancing and hygiene best practices. To that end, retailers should:
- Consider reserving certain hours for senior citizens and other high-risk populations.
- Not permit staff who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (such as fever or a cough) to come to work.
- Train employees on ideal hygiene practices, including proper handwashing.
- Increase frequency of cleaning and sanitizing per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection guidance of all hard surfaces, including tables and counter tops that are being utilized by employees and patrons, as well as restrooms.
- Consider installing sanitizing stations for customers and staff throughout the store.
- Assist customers in keeping at least 6 feet of space between individuals or family groups while shopping and waiting in line.
- Eliminate foods put on display and sample foods and reduce self-service food stations.
- Consider posting signage to encourage customers to remain 6 feet apart and to promote proper hygiene.
Patrons entering essential retail businesses should abide by the following guidelines:
- If an individual must leave home to access essential goods, they are encouraged to go at non-peak times, to keep distance from other customers in the store, keep visits as brief as possible, and to go alone if possible.
- When shopping and standing in line, customers should keep six feet between themselves and other patrons/staff.
- Individuals should not enter a retail facility if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (such as fever or a cough), have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are undergoing a quarantine for potential exposure to COVID-19.
- The majority of these guidelines apply to other essential retail businesses. These entities are reminded to encourage social distancing practices for staff and customers, frequently sanitize high-touch areas and encourage staff and customers to follow hygiene best practices. Click here for infographic.