New Jersey COVID-19 cases rise to 164,497; 12,214 deaths reported

(Edwin J. Torres/Governor’s Office)

New Jersey's coronavirus case total rose to 164,497 with 12,214 related deaths on Sunday.

There were 356 new positive cases overnight and 40 deaths over the same period.

The phased reopenings on the will begin on Jun. 15 when all Child Care Centers will be allowed to resume operations. A week later, on Jun. 22, non-contact organized sports can begin play. On July 6, youth day camps, including municipal summer recreation programs, can start.

Murphy extended the limit on gatherings from 10 people to 25 people last week.  Murphy said he plans on raising the limit on indoor gatherings on Jun. 12 in part to all greater sheltered religious services.

Restaurants can open for outdoor dining come June 15, and salons and barbershops can open on June 22, the Democrat said during a daily news conference. Social distancing will still be required, he said.

The first-term governor recently eased restrictions on the state's small businesses and public venues. Retailers once shuddered by the virus are now allowed to provide curbside pickup, but restrictions remain in place on in-store shopping and dining.

Murphy allowed all beaches, boardwalks and lakes in New Jersey to reopen ahead of Memorial Day weekend. Some shoreside communities in Cape May and beyond got a head start on the summer crowds by reopening a weekend ahead of time. State health officials are not requiring beachgoers to wear masks, but they strongly recommended in addition to maintaining social distance.

While the governor trumpeted the success that New Jersey has made - which included a 14 percent infection rate - Murphy continued to stress the importance of maintaining mitigation guidelines given by state and federal health officials. 

THE ROAD BACK PLAN

1. Following trends of sustained reductions in new COVID-19 cases over at least a 14-day time period.
2. Expanding diagnostic testing capacity for COVID-19 and speeding up the return of test results.
3. Implement robust contact tracing measures in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
4. Ensuring safe spaces for those diagnosed with COVID-19 can isolate safely without risking sickening others. 
5. Restore our economy but with preventative measures in place as COVID-19 cases are likely no matter how structured a reopening.
6. Ensuring our resiliency, which involves creating a task force that will protect all community members in the state. 

"COVID-19 showed no favorites in ravaging our state and neither will we in preparing for the next wave," Gov. Murphy stated.  

Despite some positive signs, like the leveling off of cases and the increasing time it takes for the number of people with COVID-19 to double, Murphy said there are still weeks to go of social distancing.

Gov. Murphy said that ventilator use appears to continue to trend downwards with less patients needing the life-sustaining health measure. 

CASES

Below is a breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by county:

– Hudson County: 18,584, including 1,226 deaths

– Bergen County: 18,538, including 1,621 deaths

– Essex County: 18,117, including 1,710 deaths

– Passaic County: 16,461, including 975 deaths

– Union County: 16,241 including 1,100 deaths

– Middlesex County: 16,227, including 1,043 deaths

– Ocean County: 9,041 including 781 deaths

– Monmouth County: 8,498, including 640 deaths

– Mercer County: 7,184, including 504 deaths

Camden County: 6,827, including 374 deaths

– Morris County: 6,602, including 625 deaths

Burlington County: 4,798, including, 327 deaths

– Somerset County: 4,670, including 427 deaths

Cumberland County: 2,575, including 90 deaths

– Atlantic County: 2,383, including 167 deaths

Gloucester County: 2,332, including 152 deaths

– Warren County: 1,192, including 135 deaths

– Sussex County: 1,141, including 149 deaths

– Hunterdon County: 1,025, including 64 deaths

– Salem County: 682, including 53 deaths

– Cape May County: 647, including 51 deaths

(Edwin J. Torres/Governor’s Office)

WHAT TO DO

State health officials have recommended calling your health care provider if you have symptoms, including fever and shortness of breath. Officials also point people to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which recommends people stay home except to get medical care.

New Jersey residents with coronavirus-related questions can call 211 or text NJCOVID to 898-21.

NURSING HOMES

The state has begun posting data online on the state’s nursing homes, which have been hard hit.

Presently there are more than 19,847 coronavirus cases in 530 long term care facilities. There have been more than 5,400 deaths reported at these facilities.

Gov. Murphy deployed over 120 service members from the National Guard to help aid the nursing home staff.

SCHOOLS

Murphy signed executive orders to keep the state’s schools closed indefinitely during the coronavirus outbreak and to waive standardized testing requirements for students this year.

The order waiving assessment requirements applies to eighth and 12th-graders who ordinarily would need the exams to qualify for graduation.

The governor made no announcement about when or whether schools would resume in-person instruction, but suggested graduation parties and other end-of-year festivities would be canceled.

“I wouldn’t put any nonrefundable checks down on your celebrations,” he said.


RELATED COVERAGE:

New Jersey closes state, county parks because of COVID-19

Wildwood beaches, boardwalk closed until May 1 due to pandemic

CDC’s ‘flatten the curve’ graphic shows why social distancing is necessary

New Jersey coronavirus deaths top state’s 9/11 toll


(Pexels)

MASKS AND LIMITS AT STORES

Essential stores like groceries and supermarkets must indefinitely limit the number of customers allowed in their stores to no more than half of their capacity under an order Murphy signed Wednesday.

Customers and employees must cover their faces, and stores must also offer special shopping hours for high-risk people, along with putting up physical barriers between cashiers and customers “where practicable” under the order.

Murphy said the order about limiting capacity to 50% at stores stemmed from social distancing guidelines and not a supply issue at supermarkets.

(National Guard photo by Army Spc. Samuel D. Keenan)

PHONE AND INTERNET SERVICE

People who lost their internet or phone service for failing to pay since March 16 could have it restored under an order the governor signed Monday.

The order also bars internet and phone providers from cutting off service until up to 30 days after the end of the current public health emergency ends. An end date has not been specified.

(Unsplash)

NEW LAWS

Legislation extending the income tax deadline to July 15 and pushing the budget deadline to September has been signed into law, Murphy said.

Another bill would permit people caring for family members with COVID-19 to get 12 weeks of paid family leave during a two-year period without losing their job.

INSPECTION SITES REMAIN CLOSED

Motorists in New Jersey will soon be able to access in-person services at motor vehicle buildings across the state, including behind the wheel drivers tests and licenses distribution and renewal.

Governor Phil Murphy says department offices will reopen on Monday, June 15 and provide pick-up and drop off services. Behind the road tests and license distribution will begin again on June 29. 

Meanwhile, doctuments set to expire from Mar. 13 to May 31 will be honored through August. Likewise, documents expiring Jun. 30 are extended two months to August 31, and those expiring July 31 are extended to September 30.

Documents include standard and non-standard drivers licenses, private and commercial registrations, vehicle inspections, purple heart/disabled veteran place cards, and temporary tags.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.