HACKENSACK, N.J. — As the sun rose over Hackensack early Saturday morning, health care workers at Hackensack University Medical Center trickled into the Alfred N. Sanzari Building on Essex Street where they were greeted by members of the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office who were ready to disinfect their vehicles.

Wearing smiles, gloves and masks, volunteers equipped with sanitation spray guns disinfected more than 50 cruisers that rolled into the parking lot that morning, beginning at 6 a.m.

In conjunction with Einstein Mobile Detailing Services in Lodi, volunteers used recently-purchased fogging devices, its droplets of which can help reduce pathogens in tight spaces, during the three-hour, free wash.

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The gesture served as a thank-you to the healthcare heroes who have worked tirelessly on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic treating and discharging patients. Area hospitals are filled to capacity. Bergen County is the hardest-hit by the potentially deadly, highly contagious virus in the entire state of New Jersey, which has killed north of 55,500 people in the United States and more than 207,000 worldwide.

"I want to thank the men and women of the Sheriff's Office and all our community partners for making this event a success,” said Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton in a press release. “It is essential that we show healthcare workers our gratitude for being on the front lines combating this pandemic, and that we are all in this together.”

The Sheriff’s Office thanks the Sanzari family for temporarily closing the parking lot to hold the event, GTBM, Inc. of East Rutherford for providing sanitizing solution, and Starbucks for their donation of coffee to the HUMC employees.

The service will be continued to health care workers throughout the county in the coming weeks, Cureton said.