North Jersey News Roundup for March 23, 2020

Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese was the first politician in New Jersey to disclose he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Calabrese tested positive after taking a drive-through swab test at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center upon the recommendation of his doctor March 17. Additionally, Gov. Phil Murphy promised police enforcement will begin to what he perceives as people not adhering to his March 21 order for residents to stay home.

The state will centralize efforts to acquire personal protection equipment needed to protect healthcare workers from the coronavirus due to a severe shortage. Teaneck’s Holy Name Medical Center is down to only a four-day supply of respirator masks, and has no disposable gowns left, while The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood issued an unprecedented public appeal for donations to be dropped off at its front door. The Record

State health officials are asking New Jersey residents to donate blood to help combat the coronavirus outbreak. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli stated “the need right now is becoming increasingly urgent.”

Two new drive-through coronavirus testing sites will open in New Jersey March 23. The state’s second-run location will open at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, hoping to alleviate waiting times seen at the Bergen Community College site. Additionally, Union County will open the state’s first county-run drive-through testing center at Kean University. News12 New Jersey

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is seeking a $1.9 billion federal bailout, as traffic at its facilities plummets with the spread of the coronavirus. Passenger volumes at the Port Authority’s airports fall off by more than half compared to March 2019, cargo volumes at the region’s ports are expected to drop 30%, 22% fewer vehicles are using the authority’s bridges and tunnels and ridership on the PATH commuter rail system has sank more than 75%. PoliticoNJ

Cash tolls will no longer be collected at the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel and Holland Tunnel until further notice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tolls are now being collected electronically via EZ Pass or mailed home. The Daily Record

The U.S. Senate was unable to pass a nearly $2 trillion government rescue package March 22.  Democrats voted against the Republican-backed package, viewing it favoring big business over workers and failed to ensure bailed-out companies would not enrich themselves after receiving government aid. The New York Times

U.S. stock futures, global stocks and oil prices lowered due to the rapid spread of coronavirus cases and Washington’s delay over an economic rescue package. S&P 500 futures fell 3%, after briefly hitting the maximum 5% loss allowed in a single session March 23. The Wall Street Journal

The former location of St. Mary’s Hospital in Passaic may be converted to residential housing. The City Council adopted an agreement with Pennington Passaic for reduced property taxes for 35 years. The developer’s plan calls for 98 two-bedroom apartments, 20 two-bedroom apartments with an additional den, 23 three-bedroom apartments and six single-bedroom apartments. The Record

The Bayonne City Council adopted an ordinance bonding $10 million for the construction of pedestrian bridges over Route 440 and East 25th Street. The bond ordinance provides for various pedestrian bridges, roadways, and traffic-calming improvements. The Hudson Reporter

And finally…yes, that may be snow that you see outside your window with up to 3 inches forecast to fall today. New Jersey Herald

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