New Jersey reports 54,588 coronavirus cases, 1,932 deaths

Health officials say New Jersey now has at least 54,588 coronavirus cases, with 1,932 reported fatalities.

FULL COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS

The Garden State is among the hardest-hit states in the country and has the second-highest number of cases, behind only New York. 

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (Edwin J. Torres/Governor's Office)

A closer look at the latest developments:

CASES

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

– Bergen County: 8,928, including 390 deaths

– Essex County: 6,580, including 352 deaths

– Hudson County: 6,411, including 163 deaths

– Union County: 5,575, including 161 deaths

– Passaic County: 5,017, including 101 deaths

– Middlesex County: 5,060, including 168 deaths

– Monmouth County: 3,496, including 107 deaths

– Ocean County: 3,269, including 121 deaths

– Morris County: 2,771, including 135 deaths

– Somerset County: 1,523, including 69 deaths

– Mercer County: 1,282, including 39 deaths

Camden County: 1,072, including 29 deaths

Burlington County: 954, including, 22 deaths

Gloucester County: 447, including 8 deaths

– Sussex County: 413, including 26 deaths

– Warren County: 337, including 15 deaths

– Hunterdon County: 293, including 7 deaths

Atlantic County: 211, including 6 deaths

Cumberland County: 138, including 3 deaths

– Cape May County: 116, including 5 deaths

– Salem County: 46, including 3 deaths

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.

SCHOOLS

Murphy on Tuesday said he 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.


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SUPPLIES

Murphy says ventilators are New Jersey’s biggest pressing need, and he vowed he would not “stop fighting to get us the equipment we need to save every life.”

New Jersey state police can now commandeer health supplies to address the COVID-19 outbreak under an executive order issued by Murphy.

The governor said he hopes the state will not have to use the power it authorized. Companies have been voluntarily donating medical equipment.

Murphy has also said the state needs personal protective equipment (PPE). Anyone with PPE to donate is urged to visit the state's dedicated COVID-19 hub.

PARKS NOW CLOSED

After earlier encouraging people to enjoy state and county parks while keeping their distance, Murphy said on Tuesday that too many people were not maintaining a minimum distance and that he would sign an executive order closing them.

NURSING HOMES

Half of the state’s nursing homes — 188 — have reported at least one positive COVID-19 cases, Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.

She attributed the high rate to the communal living arrangements at the homes and said the state is working on a statewide plan to address staffing and resource deficiencies at facilities.

She said the plan would likely require healthy residents at facilities being moved around.

The virus has spread throughout the state’s nursing homes, health officials have said. At least half of the 375 facilities in the state have one case or more of COVID-19.

PRIMARY DATE CHANGE

Murphy announced Wednesday that the state’s June 2 primary would be moved to July 7. 

“Preserving basic functions of our democracy is critical in this unprecedented time,” Murphy said in a statement. “Citizens exercising their right to vote should not have to risk their safety and the safety of others in order to make their voices heard."

Murphy called the decision to postpone the primary a "difficult, yet necessary, choice" to ensure that residents can partake in their civic duty.

MORE BEACHES CLOSE

Four more New Jersey shore towns announced this week that they will close their beaches.

Officials in the Cape May County towns of Avalon, Wildwood, North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest said they’re closing their beaches in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.

They’re just the latest towns to shutter their beaches. Others include Bay Head and Mantoloking.

The virus has led to more than 1,000 deaths in New Jersey, health officials said. While the outbreak has been concentrated most heavily in northern New Jersey, every county has at least one case.

ATLANTIC CITY RENTALS

Atlantic City’s mayor issued an order Monday night prohibiting all hotels and motels in the city from accepting new guests.

Mayor Marty Small said those currently in rooms at those facilities can remain until the end of their most recently booked stay, and will not be allowed to renew.

It was not immediately clear how, or whether, the order would apply to guests placed in hotels or motels by social service agencies. The city’s nine casinos have been shut for three weeks.

NJ TRANSIT DEATH

New Jersey Transit has reported its first death from COVID-19.

Conductor Joe Hansen was 62 and had worked for the agency for more than 20 years, most recently on the Raritan Valley Line.

Eighty-seven NJ Transit employees had tested positive for the coronavirus, including 57 who work operating trains or buses or cleaning stations, the agency said Tuesday.

More than 500 employees were quarantining as they awaited test results, President and CEO Kevin Corbett said. NJ Transit has approximately 12,000 employees.

OCEAN CITY OUTSIDERS

The mayor of a New Jersey Shore town says residents have been begging him to close the bridges into town to keep outsiders away during the virus outbreak.

Jay Gillian wrote in a message to residents Tuesday night that he does not have that authority.

But even if he did, the mayor wrote, that would set a bad precedent. “Now is not the time to point fingers and to blame others,” he wrote. “It’s a time to work together. If we spend our energy scorning our neighbors, we will leave scars that will last much longer than coronavirus.”

Ocean City is one of many resort towns around the nation where a contentious online debate has raged — pitting year-round residents against visitors or summer residents — over whether it is appropriate for part-timers to go there during the virus outbreak, potentially spreading contagion and overwhelming local resources.

SOME CONSTRUCTION HALTED

Nonessential construction in the state must shut down, the governor said. Murphy said he would sign an order halting some construction projects. Some raised concerns that construction workers were risking exposure to the virus for nonessential projects, like bathroom makeovers.

TRUCK WEIGHT LIMITS

Semi trucks carrying health care equipment may transport up to 46 tons under an order the governor said he would sign on Wednesday. That’s up from a 40 ton limit on highways previously.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.