CORONAVIRUS IN NJ: 1,982 new cases, state total now 8,825; 27 new fatalities, death toll 108

1010 WINS Newsroom
March 27, 2020 - 2:11 pm
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NEWARK (1010 WINS) -- Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday that New Jersey had reported 1,982 new coronavirus cases and 27 new deaths.

LISTEN LIVE: 1010 WINS' extensive, ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in the tri-state

That brings the death toll to 108 statewide, with 8,825 total cases.

That's up from 81 deaths and 6,876 total cases Thursday, when Murphy said the death toll had doubled in two days.

“Sadly, the number of lost lives is going up,” Murphy said. “The loss of every single one of these is why we need to do what we’re doing. Coronavirus does not spread on its own; it spreads person to person.”

Murphy said he authorized the advanced payment of more than $140 million to health care providers to prepare them for coronavirus-related expenses.

The governor also warned that officials are hearing too many reports of businesses failing to implement social distancing, which requires people to keep a distance of 6 feet between one another. As a result, Murphy said the state is providing all essential retail businesses with further guidance to ensure social distancing within their stores.

Murphy urged anyone who sees non-essential businesses operating in violation of his orders to report them at: covid19.nj.gov/violation.

Murphy also put out a call to volunteers with qualified medical training and experience—not only in New Jersey, but across the nation—to join the state's fight against the coronavirus. He urged those with the right experience to go to covid19.nj.gov/volunteer.

Murphy also reminded all businesses and non-hospital health care facilities in possession of personal protective equipment that they're not using for critical health care services to report their inventory by 5 p.m. Friday. Businesses and facilities should go here to find out more.

"This reporting was ordered. I expect full compliance," Murphy said.

Murphy also announced the times for testing sites in the state this weekend. 

On Thursday, President Donald Trump signed a declaration naming New Jersey a disaster area eligible for additional funding.

Murphy said schools wouldn't be open until at least April 17.

“We will not be able to revisit the closure until at least April 17,” Murphy said Thursday. “The decision will be based on careful discussion with our health experts and will be decided with the facts on the ground. We will not revisit this question until at least April 17.”

Murphy expects the peak of the virus to come in 21 to 60 days. "Our job is to fight fiercely with unlimited resources to save lives," he said.

He urged residents to continue practicing social distancing in order to flatten the curve, saying the state won't begin seeing results for another few weeks.

"This isn’t a one-day or a two-day thing. #COVID19 can take up to two weeks to incubate. It’s going to take several weeks, at least, for us to begin seeing a real impact from the social distancing measures we have put into place," Murphy tweeted.

Two more coronavirus testing sites were set to open in Jersey City on Friday. The first is a drive-through site located at 575 NJ-440 in the western part of the city, while the second site, a walk-up, is located at 465 Marin Blvd. in the eastern part of the city.

The sites can hold 250 patients each day and are by appointment only. The number to call is 201-547-5535.

A drive-through testing site has also opened at Weequahic Park in Newark by appointment only. Approximately 100­–150 tests will be done at the location per day.

More coronavirus news from NJ:

JOBLESS CLAIMS SOAR

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development said Thursday that it received 155,815 new claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending March 21. That’s an increase of over 1,500% from the prior week.

State officials said it is the largest spike they can recall. Initial claims exceeded 46,000 in a single week after Superstorm Sandy in November 2012, and shot up to over 25,000 for a week in July 2010, the low point of the last recession.

New Jersey has temporarily suspended a requirement that applicants look for other jobs. It also created a jobs portal — jobs.covid19.nj.gov — to match those who are looking for work with immediate openings in industries fighting the pandemic.

An extension of benefits beyond the currently allowable 26 weeks “is all but certain,” according to the labor department.

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NURSING HOME CASES

State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said at least 43 of New Jersey’s 375 long term care facilities have a case of the virus.

St. Joseph’s in Woodbridge, where residents were moved this week to a facility in Whippany, has at least 24 cases, including five of its 78 staff members. Three residents there have died, and more residents and staff are symptomatic.

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TESTING CENTER TWEAKS

Murphy said that Saturday, testing centers in Bergen County and at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel will only test health care workers and first responders who are showing symptoms of the disease. Starting April 4, only health care workers and first responders will be tested at the Holmdel site on Saturdays.

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MEDICAL GLOVES FREED

More than 40 million medical-grade gloves that have been held at customs warehouses since last fall are going to be delivered to health care facilities.

Ansell, a company with a corporate hub in Iselin, New Jersey, said it had resolved a dispute over whether the gloves had been manufactured using forced labor in Malaysia.

“The release of this supply to health care facilities across the United States will be an immediate benefit to workers in dire need of proper PPE supplies,” spokesman Tom Paolella said Thursday in an email.

The company credited U.S. Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey with helping resolve the dispute. Smith, a Republican who has been active in combating human trafficking and exploitation, became involved recently.

“Ansell makes a very credible case that they moved quickly to ensure that their supply chain was not complicit with forced labor and that problems raised by the U.S. government have been remedied,” Smith spokesman Jeff Sagnip said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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