TRENTON, NJ – Governor Phil Murphy has hit the pause button on reopening New Jersey and signaled that the return of indoor dining, movie theaters, concert venues, bars and gyms might be closed until at least August.
Murphy says the reason for those closures remains due to the nature of the COVID-19 virus being more transmittable in indoor spaces with poor ventilation and large numbers of people. This week he said a rise in COVID-19 positives in New Jersey are from people going to several of the 16 quarantine states and picking up the virus there, bringing it back to New Jersey.
“Over the weekend, we learned of several outbreaks across our state directly tied to travel to other COVID-19 hotspots nationwide. In Hoboken, of 13 new cases reported over the weekend, 12 are directly tied to travel to known hotspots,” Murphy said. “I give a huge shout out to Mayor Ravi Bhalla and his team and the public health officials and contact tracers in Hoboken for their swift work to help stamp out this flare-up, and you can see Ravi’s posts there. And that’s a heavy dose of a couple of things that we’ve been talking about every day, which is contact tracing that allows us to track this down and test, test, test.”
Murphy also blamed a wedding in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
“Elsewhere in North Jersey, several other new cases of coronavirus are tied to folks who traveled to a wedding in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We need to be smarter and we need to work harder. Our 14-day self-quarantine advisory for those who have come through a known coronavirus hotspot is there for a reason: to prevent flare ups like the ones we are now seeing,” Murphy said. “So, please go to covid19.nj.gov/travel to learn whether you should be self-quarantining. Our requirement that face coverings be worn while indoors, and our need to wear them outside as well are there to help slow the spread of the virus. Millions of you, literally, are taking the need for self-responsibility to heart. But even so, just one selfish person can undo the hard work the rest of you all have done.”
Despite the flare-ups in positive cases, the state continues to see a downward trend in serious cases of COVID-19 as hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline daily across the state.
Hospitals reported 861 hospitalizations of COVID-19 positive patients and persons under investigation statewide.
At this point, there are just 187 individuals in critical care, with 81% of those individuals on ventilators. A sizable percentage of those have been in that state since the height of the pandemic.
“I want us to be able to deliberately and responsibly continue down our road back. I do not want to have to hit another pause on our restart because a small number of New Jerseyans are being irresponsible in spreading COVID-19, while the rest of us continue to work hard to stop it, but we all need to be traveling down this road together,” Murphy said. “We all need to be wearing face coverings, even when it’s a hot day like today. COVID-19 doesn’t care about the weather, it only cares about finding another person to infect. Don’t be a willing host. Wear a face covering, self-quarantine if you’ve been to a coronavirus hotspot, and get tested. This is how we reverse this upward trend of RT, or rate of transmission, and get it back down below one. We absolutely must.”
Rate of transmission is the new defining standard by Murphy who started the pandemic with “softening the curve” ais the key goal in efforts to battle through the pandemic. New Jersey has more than softened the curve over the past two months and the virus as rates of infections, hospitalizations and deaths are down significantly statewide.
Currently, 4 people for 100,000 per day are testing positive, with many have no symptoms or minor symptoms. 10 out of 100,000 people as of today are hospitalized due to COVID-19 and there are 0.4 deaths per 100,000 per day, making New Jersey the state with the third-lowest death rate from the virus as of today.
This comes after thousands of senior citizens were sent to their deathbeds by Health Commission Judith Persichilli who gave the initial order to send COVID-19 patients to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. That order caused outbreaks in those homes, killing thousands, including nursing home employees, attributing the largest share of deaths statewide during the pandemic.
One of the reason for more positive cases in the state is due to the abundance of testing. The daily positivity of new tests has been significantly lower since June 1st statewide than during the pandemic. Daily positivity is hovering at 2.14% after reaching almost 50% through March and April of this year.