New Jersey reports 8,825 coronavirus cases; 108 deaths

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday announced nearly 2,000 more cases of coronavirus in the state and 27 COVID-19 related deaths. The statewide total now sits at 8,825 with 108 reported deaths.

A closer look at the latest developments:

CASES

Below is a breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by county as of Thursday afternoon. The state still has to outstanding cases to attribute. 

– Bergen County: 1,505

– Essex County: 826

– Middlesex County: 640

– Monmouth County: 634

– Hudson County: 594

– Union County: 519

– Passaic County: 484

– Ocean County: 389

– Morris County: 391

– Somerset County: 222

– Mercer County: 131

Camden County: 95

Burlington County: 88

– Sussex County: 65

Gloucester County: 40

– Hunterdon County: 52

– Warren County: 38

Atlantic County: 14

– Cape May County: 7

Cumberland County: 9

– Salem County: 3

A graphic illustrates the importance of social distancing in order to reduce the number of infected patients during a pandemic. (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.

On Wednesday, the state announced a new number residents can call with coronavirus-related questions, to augment the existing hotline operated by the New Jersey Poison Control Center.

FULL COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS

The new 211 number is operated by the United Ways of New Jersey and provides information and referral services. Residents also can text NJCOVID to 898-21

NEW FUND

First lady Tammy Murphy on Tuesday unveiled the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund with a video featuring some of the state’s biggest celebrities, including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart and Bon Jovi.

She said in an emailed statement that all the fund’s money would go toward fighting medical, social, and economic impact of COVID-19 on the state’s most vulnerable. She said administrative costs would be covered by grants.

DRIVE-THRU TESTING CENTERS

Murphy said Passaic County is opening its first testing center for county residents at William Paterson University. The center said county residents must have a doctor’s referral for testing.

The center will join two facilities for state residents: one in Holmdel in Monmouth County opened and another at Bergen Community College in Paramus.

There are also centers for county residents at Kean University in Union County and Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus for Hudson County residents only.

FIELD HOSPITALS

New Jersey State Police superintendent Col. Pat Callahan said that four field hospitals would be located at Atlantic City’s convention center, Edison’s convention center, the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus and another undetermined location.

Murphy had said earlier that federal authorities had signed off on the field hospitals.

MORE BUSINESSES DEEMED ESSENTIAL

Murphy expanded the kinds of businesses that are permitted to operate while the state’s COVID-19 emergency orders are in place. The list of businesses considered essential now includes:

— Mobile phone retail and repair shops

— Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair

— Livestock feed stores

— Nurseries and garden centers

— Farming equipment stores

The list also includes groceries and supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations.

NEW COMPLAINT FORM

The Murphy administration also unveiled a new online form for workers to fill out if their employers are requiring them to show up to work in violation of the state’s executive order requiring people to remain home, except for certain essential businesses.

BUDGET CRUNCH

New Jersey is preparing for a huge drop in tax revenue from the hit to the economy from coronavirus, and Murphy is putting nearly $1 billion in reserve to get ready, the state treasurer announced.

Treasurer Elizabeth Muoio said in a statement issued late Monday night that $900 billion in appropriations are being placed into reserve.

It’s unclear exactly what the frozen funds will mean for residents. The list of frozen spending includes money for homestead property tax rebates, as well funds for the Motor Vehicle Commission and aid programs to towns and cities.

ENFORCEMENT

Murphy said he’s been receiving “too many reports” of retail businesses avoiding his executive order not to go out by deeming all employees essential and making them report to work.

“My executive order is not a polite suggestion,” he said. “It is an order. No one who can do their job from home should be going in to an office. This is about public health, it’s about your employees’ lives, their families’ lives, your life.”


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SCHOOLS

Murphy announced the closure of all schools and colleges in response to the growing coronavirus outbreak The state’s more than 600 school districts were affected. Most of them had already closed.

Murphy announced Tuesday that New Jersey was granted a federal waiver to cancel statewide assessments for this spring. This will not prevent students from meeting their graduation requirements.

NEW JERSEY TURNPIKE

Cash collections will be suspended at all Turnpike tolling locations starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. All tolls will be collected electronically.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.