RED BANK: ATRIUM CITED FOR COVID-19 LAPSE

The Atrium at Navesink Harbor on Riverside Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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By JOHN T. WARD

State health officials cited a Red Bank longterm care facility that has been the scene of 10 recent COVID-19 deaths for “deficiencies” in its defense against the virus in November, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: VIRUS CLAIMS SIX MORE AT ATRIUM

The Atrium at Navesink Harbor, the buildings at center and right, as seen from the Navesink River in 2017. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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By JOHN T. WARD

Six more residents of an assisted-living facility in Red Bank have died of COVID-19 in recent days, data released by the New Jersey Health Department Monday indicate.

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RED BANK: COVID-19 CLAIMS THREE AT ATRIUM

red bank atriumThe Atrium at Navesink Harbor as seen from the Molly Pitcher Inn in 2014. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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By JOHN T. WARD

Three residents of a senior assisted-living facility in Red Bank have died of COVID-19 since mid-December, according to data released by the New Jersey Health Department Monday.

The deaths at the Atrium at Navesink Harbor occurred as pandemic-driven hospitalizations, and the need for critical care, rose across Monmouth County.

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RED BANK: MANSION RAZED; MORE LAND EYED

The planning board approved the demolition of 95 East Front Street in July, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njTurning aside pleas by historic preservationists, Riverview Medical Center demolished a 19th-century Red Bank mansion Monday.

Meantime, the hospital is planning to gobble up more real estate, redbankgreen has learned: a vacant lot directly across East Front Street from the mansion.

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VIRUS UPDATES: DATA, OUTBREAKS & TESTING

An Immediate Care COVID-19 testing tent in Red Bank’s White Street lot Monday night. The company has been offering free tests at the site for weeks. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

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By JOHN T. WARD

COVID-19 pressure on Monmouth County hospitals continued to increase in the past week, according to the latest data from the county government.

At the same time, demand for intensive care and ventilators to treat patients with the virus showed slight signs of easing.

Separately, Red Bank Regional High announced a plan for free COVID-19 testing for staff and students.

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RED BANK: RIVERVIEW WATER DEAL DETAILED

red bank riverview 032020 2The agreement ends a lawsuit alleging the hospital illegally connected its Blaisdell Pavilion to the borough water system. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njUnder a “confidential” settlement approved by the borough council last week, Riverview Medical Center will pay Red Bank just $850,000 for water and sewer usage the town contended in a lawsuit was worth at least $5.3 million.

The hospital also will get 10 more years to pay off the obligation, some of which dates to 1984.

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RED BANK: LOOSE LIPS AT COUNCIL SESSION

Mayor Pasquale Menna, upper left, and Councilman Ed Zipprich, center left, seen on Zoom during Wednesday’s council session Attorney Greg Cannon is in second row, third from left. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe final Red Bank council meeting of 2020 included a couple of apparent cases of loose lips.

In one, Mayor Pasquale Menna revealed more than the borough attorney thought he should about the settlement of a lawsuit over Riverview Medical Center’s water bill.

In another, Councilman Ed Zipprich  questioned the qualifications of a newly hired official.

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VIRUS: ICU CASES RISING AS VACCINE DEBUTS

Intensive care bed usage in Monmouth County hospitals rose to 60 Monday, the highest level since May, while hospitalizations for COVID-19 declined to 418, from 446 a week earlier, the freeholders reported. (Monmouth County data. Click to enlarge.)

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By JOHN T. WARD

With an historic rollout of the first COVID-19 vaccine about to begin in New Jersey, “the light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter,” Governor Phil Murphy said Monday.

At the same time, hospitals statewide and in Monmouth County are treating rising numbers of patients who need intensive care and ventilators because of the coronavirus, data show.

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VIRUS: HEALTH WORKERS TO GET FIRST SHOTS

Frontline healthcare workers at Riverview Medical Center received cheers from the police, first aid and fire personnel in April. (Photo by  John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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By JOHN T. WARD

A nationwide rollout of America’s first COVID-19 vaccine is expected to begin Tuesday with inoculations of frontline healthcare workers.

Among them will be employees of Hackensack Meridian Health, the parent company of Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center, according to chief executive Robert Garrett.

“I truly believe this is going to be the beginning of the end of this terrible pandemic,” Garrett said on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation‘ Sunday.

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RED BANK: RIVERVIEW ‘NOT IMPACTED’

A temporary tent outside Riverview Medical Center’s emergency room entrance in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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By JOHN T. WARD

The current resurgence in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New Jersey is not having an adverse impact on the hospital network that includes Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center, the organization said in a statement Thursday.

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COVID-19 WATCH: HOSPITALIZATIONS CLIMB

Monmouth County hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19 have been rising steeply in recent weeks. (Monmouth County government data. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith COVID-19 hospitalizations rising rapidly, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy implored residents to curtail their traditional Thanksgiving gatherings this week.

“We know that there are those who are so yearning for normalcy that they’re willing to risk their family’s health for a big Thanksgiving,” he said at his regular briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic Monday. But “we urge you to think beyond this holiday,” he said.

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RED BANK: HOSPITAL PLAN DRAWS HPC IRE

red bank 95 east front 111920 2The planning board approved the demolition of 95 East Front Street in July, 2019, but the building remains vacant and intact. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njPent-up frustration over the apparent fate of a former Red Bank mansion erupted at the first pandemic-era meeting of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday night.

Commission member Kal Pipo ripped the planning board for allowing the the demolition of a Victorian mansion two doors away from Riverview Medical Center – and said Mayor Pasquale Menna “sounded like he was the lawyer for” the hospital at that hearing where that decision was made.

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RED BANK: RIVERVIEW TOP EXEC RESIGNS

Riverview chief hospital executive Kelli O’Brien at a planning board hearing in February, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe top executive at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank has resigned and been replaced on an interim basis by a familiar face, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: SUIT SEEKS $5.3M FROM RIVERVIEW

red bank riverview 032020A lawsuit filed by the borough alleges an illegal water connection to the Blaisdell Pavilion, at right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRiverview Medical Center owes Red Bank $5.3 million for at least half a billion gallons of water consumed over a 33-year period, the borough alleges in a lawsuit.

In its January, 2019 complaint, the town contends the hospital hid an illegal connection and meter when it built the Blaisdell Pavilion wing in 1984.

The East Front Street hospital denies the allegations, and the dispute appears headed to mediation.

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LITTLE SILVER: RESPONDERS GET SPOTLIGHT

little silver ambulance 041020A Little Silver ambulance outside Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

little silver light the night logoLittle Silver plans to salute first-responders on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle next month with a townwide “Light the Night” celebration.

The event will also serve as a fundraiser for the borough’s all-volunteer fire department and first aid squad.

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VIRUS UPDATE: CARE-HOME DEATHS CONTINUE

red bank marine park closed 041820The Wharf Avenue entrance to Marine Park in Red Bank, which remains closed along with all borough parks. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

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Governor Phil Murphy reported  “undeniable” progress in New Jersey’s battle to quell the spread of COVID-19 Saturday.

He also blasted an Atlantic County official as “irresponsible” for calling for a reopening of the state’s economy “without restrictions.”

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VIRUS UPDATE: PEAK STILL “COMING” TO AREA

red bank foodtown toilet paper 041420A common sight in the pandemic: sparsely stocked paper products at the Red Bank SuperFoodtown earlier this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

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The COVID-19 strain on hospitals showed signs of easing even as the death toll surpassed five times the number of New Jerseyans killed in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, Governor Phil Murphy said Friday.

At the same time, data suggests that while the peak of the crisis has now occurred in the northern end of the state, it’s still “coming” to the central and southern regions, said state health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

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VIRUS UPDATE: DEATH TOLL UNYIELDING

red bank train station 041420The parking lot at the Red Bank train station was nearly empty Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

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COVID-19 continued to claim New Jersey lives by the hundreds even as other crisis metrics signaled improvement, data released by Governor Phil Murphy’s administration Thursday showed.

With 362 fatalities added at Murphy’s latest daily briefing on the crisis, more than 1,200 have been reported since Sunday, and the number of residents testing positive for the coronavirus is still on the rise, though at a slowing rate.

VIRUS UPDATE: DEATH TOLL SOARS AGAIN

fair haven healthcare heroes 041420A temporary sign on River Road in Fair Haven as seen Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

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New Jersey’s loss of life from the COVID-19 soared past the 3,000 mark in recent days as another 351 residents were added to the ledger, Governor Phil Murphy reported Wednesday.

The fatalities, including more than 700 in recent days, was accompanied by evidence that “people are getting better and they are overcoming this illness,” said state health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

VIRUS UPDATE: ‘WORST CASE’ REVISED DOWN

  red bank social distancing 041420Observing social-distancing recommendations, well-spaced customers wait their turns to be admitted to the Bank of America branch on Broad Street in Red Bank Tuesday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

Three-hundred-sixty-five more New Jerseyans have died as a result of COVID-19, the largest increase reported in the month-old crisis, Governor Phil Murphy reported Tuesday.

The spike was reported as administration officials unveiled a dramatically improved worst-case scenario in coming weeks, based on data projections.

VIRUS UPDATE: POSITIVE SIGNS AMID BRACING

phil murphy 041320 Governor Phil Murphy speaks at his Monday briefing, with a sign language interpreter seen in inset at left. (YouTube screengrab. Click to enlarge.)

[See correction below]

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topic

More positive signs emerged in the COVID-19 crisis Monday even as New Jersey’s government braced for critically ill patients to soon swamp the state’s hospitals, officials said Monday.

The preparation included issuing triage guidance to hospitals for use in “last resort” scenarios, they said.

VIRUS UPDATE: LOCAL CASE GROWTH EASING

Firefighters, first aiders and police from 10 towns converged on Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank to cheer frontline healthcare workers Friday night. Check out the photo gallery here. (Video by Allan Bass. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

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Both Monmouth County and New Jersey saw further softening in new COVID-19 positive cases and other encouraging signs in the pandemic, government agencies reported Sunday.

At the same time, another 167 New Jersey residents died from the illness, including 8 in Monmouth County, according to the state health department’s COVID-19 web page.

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RED BANK: CHEERS FOR HOSPITAL STAFFERS

red bank thanks riverviewEmergency workers packed the front parking area for the surprise as hospital personnel responded from upper-floor windows. (Photos by Allan Bass. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank thanks riverviewRed Bank-area police and volunteer firefighters delivered a massive surprise cheer to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle at Riverview Medical Center Friday evening.

The borough’s firetrucks, joined by gear from at least nine surrounding towns, twice sounded their horns in unison as staffers left and arrived for a shift change. Several hundred participants, most wearing protective masks, cheered and blew kisses from the parking lot as hospital employees in surgical masks and gowns acknowledged the love from upper floor windows.

Red Bank Fire Chief Scott Calabrese organized the unannounced event, which drew fire, police and first aiders from Fair Haven, Little Silver, Sea Bright, Shrewsbury, Rumson, Middletown, Tinton Falls, Eatontown and Oceanport.

The aim, he said, was “to say ‘thank you for your courage on the front lines of the battle.'”

(See more photos by Allan Bass and John T. Ward, below.)

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LITTLE SILVER: RBR STAFFER VIRUS-POSITIVE

red bank regional 031220 1Red Bank Regional became the first school in New Jersey to close when it shut down for a “deep cleaning” March 10. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Red Bank Regional High School staff member has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus that’s infecting Americans in growing numbers.

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