Although New Jersey’s COVID-19 public health metrics have been vastly improving, Gov. Phil Murphy said at today’s state press conference that there has been a small, one-day increase in COVID-19 cases – from 359 two days ago to 382 yesterday (for a total of 741 new cases) – while hospitalizations increased from 1,029 two days ago to 1,092 yesterday.
“Each of these metrics is a slight increase from the day before,” Murphy said, as he also cited upticks in intensive care unit patients and ventilator use. “Now, I am fully aware that these are all slight one-day increases, and we have seen these one-day increases before – and most [of the] time we have seen a decrease the following day.”
He added, “And to be clear, nothing we see today is going to stop our progress. But what we cannot have is a one-day increase turn into a trend because people gave up on social distancing, wearing face coverings, and stopped washing their hands with soap and water.”
Murphy also said, “The rate of [coronavirus] transmission across the state is 0.81. This is a very good statewide number, but as [New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner] Judy [Persichilli], [Superintendent of the State Police Patrick Callahan] and I just discussed privately, we are seeing the rate of transmission beginning to creep back up in too many counties. There can be many reasons for this, but there is absolutely no reason for it to be, because anyone becoming complacent in social distancing – or from crowding around bars or restaurants unmasked – can lead to this.”
Murphy added, “And if we see businesses refuse to comply with the commonsense and lifesaving guidance we have put in place, we will have no choice but to begin making examples out of them.”
Murphy also raised the specter of slowing the economic restart: “… the last thing any of us want to do is to put our restart on hold, as they … have just done in Louisiana. So, this is not abstract; this can happen.”
Meanwhile, Murphy said that amusement parks and water parks (including those on boardwalks) will be permitted to reopen on July 2 at 50% capacity, with customers socially distanced from each other and with strict hygiene protocols. The New Jersey Department of Health is slated to release associated guidance. Playgrounds will also be permitted to reopen July 2.
With federal support for New Jersey’s community-based testing sites slated to conclude June 30, Murphy announced that support will instead continue through at least August 31 via the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
Pharmacy chains will continue to offer testing, Murphy said, as the drive-through testing sites at Bergen Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center prepare for their scheduled closures at the end of this month.
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