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Health Experts: As Coronavirus Cases Spike, It's Time For A March/April Mindset In New Jersey

CLARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Steps are being taken in New Jersey, where coronavirus cases are spiking.

As COVID-19 rates skyrocket, health experts say we all must go back to the March/April mindset, as all counties see cases rise at a rapid rate.

There were long lines to get tested in the Union County town of Clark on Wednesday. CBS2's Meg Baker looked at other counties with high rates of infection, starting with Bergen.

MORENewark Mayor Says Spike In COVID-19 Cases Due To Parties, Sports And Public Transportation

Masks are required, hand sanitizer is at the ready, and strict precautions are in place in downtown Ridgewood.

"Our whole goal is to get the customer to sanitize before they go in and touch any merchandise," said Scott Lief, president of the Ridgewood Chamber of Commerce.


Lief said he sends constant reminders to businesses to limit the number of people in stores and more, especially as the holiday shopping season approaches.

Carlos Medina, president of New Jersey's Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said Gov. Phil Murphy's statewide restrictions had to happen because people are being too lax.

"Folks are staying later. They're letting the bar get crowded," Medina said.

Newark has an alarming 19% positivity rate, prompting Mayor Ras Baraka to enact an 8 p.m. curfew for non-essential businesses, and a mandatory curfew for residents in three zip codes -- 07104, 07105 and 07107 -- in effect after 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends, enforced by the police.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Perry Halkitis, the dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, said contact tracing has never been more important. He's urging people to answer the phone call.

"The reproduction rate, the rate at which disease can be spread is over 1, which means it can rapidly spread through the population in way that was not happening over the summer," Halkitis said.

Halkitis said his biggest worry has always been human behavior.

"We are asking human beings who are not always rational to maintain safe behaviors every single day. And that is very challenging for people who want to enjoy their lives," Halkitis said.

Baraka was set to have a Facebook LIVE event on Wednesday to come up with a plan for his city to get this virus under control. He plans to make an announcement Thursday morning about further restrictions.


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