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COVID-19 In New Jersey: Irvington Mayor Considering Stay-At-Home Order, Working With Neighboring Cities On Shutdown Plan

IRVINGTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the state's coronavirus numbers are trending for the worse.

The governor says models show the possibility of reaching 8,000-10,000 cases a day if people continue doing what they are doing.

He says every New Jersey resident needs to take personal responsibility to stop the spread, and officials in Irvington may take things a step further.


"If it comes down to needing law enforcement to be in your dining room in order to bend the curve, then my guess is we've lost. That it's not bendable. It's there. They will be there. That is a real threat ... We've gotta do this ourselves folks," Murphy said.

The governor issued a warning to limit indoor gatherings, where the risk for infection is the greatest, to 10 people.

The spread is so rampant in the city of Irvington, the mayor is considering a complete shutdown and stay-at-home order.

"We were discussing having something that starts around Thanksgiving Day and continues for about week. That's still on the table. We want to see how the numbers go," Irvington Mayor Tony Vauss told CBS2's Meg Baker.

He's working with neighboring cities Newark, Orange and East Orange to come up with a plan.

"We don't want, for example, the city of Newark to have a shutdown at 8 o'clock, which has people coming to Irvington, East Orange and Orange after 8 o'clock. Whatever we do, we wanna do it collectively," Vauss said.

Watch Meg Baker's report -- 

More and more school districts, such as Hackensack, are going all remote through the holidays, not taking any chances.

State health commissioner Judith Persichilli issued a warning about college kids returning home.

"Even if a returning student tests negative, they should plan to quarantine for 14 days, for a 14-day period, as symptoms can occur anytime during that time period," she said.

Dr. Perry Halkitis, dean of Rutgers School of Public Health, says it is going to be difficult to change human behavior and family traditions for the holidays, but it is a must.

"Unless we can pull back and stop the infection from happening, our health care system in New Jersey is also going to be under enormous stress, and people who are going to need care are not going to be able to get care. This is a serious matter," he said.

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

Irvington's mayor says he is regrouping with neighboring mayors later this week to formalize a collective shutdown plan.

In the meantime, he's asking people to stay home, mask up and behave.

Karen Karlson, of Livingston, was feeling a little anxious before getting tested for COVID on Wednesday night.

"This is my first time," she said.

But with Thanksgiving next week and the infection rate soaring across Essex County, she gladly joined in line at a drive-thru testing site in Newark.

"It's awful for all of us. It's bad for the economy. It's bad for our health. We have to straighten this out," Karlson said.

RELATED STORY -- COVID-19 Angst: Tempers Flare As Nervous Residents Wait Long Hours For Tests In Newark

There were 4,063 new cases reported in the state on Wednesday and 27 more deaths. More than 2,400 people are hospitalized.

It's a sad reality  Rob Robinson is seeing firsthand. The nurse at Hackensack University Medical Center's emergency department survived COVID-19 in the spring.

This week, he fulfilled his months-long goal of donating potentially life-saving convalescent plasma.

"I kept on asking, when can I give, when can I give? When I got the phone call, there were tears," Robinson told CBS2's Jessica Layton.

Nationwide, the call for convalescent plasma, which contains virus-fighting antibodies, has become urgent.

"It's not uncomfortable at all. Feels good, feels good," Robinson said while donating.

"We're seeing hospitals coast-to-coast with this kind of need, everything from New Jersey to Chicago to California," said Holly Sees, with Vitalant Blood Donation Center.

"It means to me that I'm gonna help get someone better quicker and more efficiently, instead of them having to put up with being in the hospital as long as I was," Robinson said.

Robinson urges anyone who has recovered from COVID-19 to consider donating.



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