Over the past few weeks, local authorities have made sustained, heartfelt appeals for the public to stay home, in the effort to curb the impact of COVID-19 on our community and our region’s First Responders. That point has been painfully underscored yet again.
“I’m saddened to share that one of our recently deceased was Josefina Viruet,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla, in a statement over the weekend. “Josie was well known in the community for her routine of walking her dog and stopping to chat with police officers by the headquarters every day. The mother of Hoboken Firefighter Danny Soto, Retired Hoboken Police Officer Frank Soto, and grandmother of Hoboken Police Officer Tyler Soto, Josie will be missed by all who used to talk to her and observe first-hand her positive spirit. My deepest condolences are with the Soto family and the entire Police and Fire departments.”
Josefina Viruet lived in Hoboken’s Marian Towers Senior Housing facility on 1st Street. She was 79.
On Monday, March 30, Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante delivered a direct personal statement on behalf of his Department, first responders and medical personnel regarding measures enacted for their safety and for that of the general public. A few days later, the City sadly announced the passing of Carmen Rivera, the mother of Hoboken Police Detectives John and Fabien Quinones.
While First Responders region-wide work tirelessly to fight the spread of the virus, they continue to face significant risks. Appeals continue for adequate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), as arrangements are made to keep their families safe. Stevens Institute of Technology is currently housing members of the Hoboken Fire Department and workers from Hoboken University Medical Center, in an effort to maintain safe distancing and stem the spread.
per·son·al pro·tec·tive e·quip·ment (noun): Clothing, gloves, face masks, or other tools designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness.
— AG Gurbir Grewal (@NewJerseyOAG) April 13, 2020
In a continued effort to keep Hoboken’s seniors safe, the City is utilizing additional Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for a complete sanitizing of three senior buildings in the Hoboken Housing Authority (221 Jackson Street, 220 Adams street, and 311 13th Street).
“This deep clean, in addition to the existing disinfecting done by Housing Authority staff, will help provide additional precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for our most vulnerable populations,” said Bhalla.
For individual citizens looking to become more proactively involved in the fight, the Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG) of Hoboken and Jersey City has been established by those looking to help supply food and other items to Jersey City and Hoboken First Responders in need during this overwhelming medical crisis. Working in conjunction with HobokenGirl to promote awareness, the organization has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help feed and assist our front line workers.