CORONAVIRUS IN NJ: 307 new deaths bring state toll to 5,368 as cases near 100,000; reopening of economy still 'weeks away'

1010 WINS Newsroom
April 23, 2020 - 1:12 pm

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday that New Jersey expected to see 100,000 coronavirus cases by Friday as the number of deaths rose again by more than 300.

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    Murphy said there were 4,247 positive test results since Wednesday, pushing the state to a total of 99,989. Some 7,240 patients were hospitalized with the virus.

    "We should carry the expectation that tomorrow we should exceed 100,000 positive cases," Murphy said. 

    The governor also said there were 307 new deaths, bringing the statewide total to 5,368.

    Murphy said the data shows a slowing of the rate of spread; some counties have taken 30 days to double their rate of cases.

    Despite the slowing of cases, Murphy said he thinks jumpstarting the state's economy is still "weeks away."

    “We can’t ease up one bit on our social distancing. I am not and we are not in a position to reopen our state or economy,” Murphy said.

    Murphy has said the state would need to ramp up testing beyond just symptomatic people before reopening its economy.

    The governor said "having a robust and greatly expanded testing program in place is vital to us being able to begin reopening our state."

    He said the state needs to be able to roughly double its testing capacity as a benchmark.

    "Testing will be the start-point for any contact tracing program we will be able to implement," Murphy said, referring to plans across the Tri-State to test and track people who have had the virus or had contact with someone with the virus. 

    "Without testing, we will not be able to take the necessary steps to contain future cases and prevent them from becoming boomerang outbreaks," Murphy said.

    Murphy said having an FDA-approved test that provides rapid results will be critical and that Rutgers University is in a position to help the state get there with its saliva-based test system.

    Murphy said the saliva-based test will soon be administered to all residents and staff at each of the state's five developmental centers, in addition to testing at the state's largest health care systems and at first-responder test sites.

    "We are working to expand testing to other state workers and the individuals we serve," Murphy said.

    There are now 86 sites across the state providing Covid-19 testing.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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