CORONAVIRUS IN NJ: Murphy says schools will remain closed until at least May 15 as statewide cases top 75K

1010 WINS Newsroom
April 16, 2020 - 12:53 pm

    NEWARK (1010 WINS) -- Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday that New Jersey's schools will remain closed until at least May 15 as the state's cases surpassed 75,000.

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    "We need to be guided by where the facts on the ground, science, and public health take us," Murphy said. "That means it will not be safe to reopen our schools for at least another four weeks."

    The state’s more than 600 school districts have been closed since March 16, with educators teaching remotely, because of the coronavirus outbreak. Neighboring Pennsylvania has closed schools through the rest of the year.

    Murphy's announcement came shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York's "Pause" initiative, all but shutting down the state, would be extended until May 15—something Cuomo described as a "coordinated" effort between the states.

    Murphy said another 362 COVID-19 deaths were reported since Wednesday, bringing the statewide death toll to 3,518—more than the number of New Jerseyans lost in World War I, the governor said.

    An additional 4,391 positive tests overnight brought the total number of cases in the state to 75,317.

    Residents should not to “let their guard down” despite the frustrations of life under COVID-19 shutdowns, lest the numbers of infections and deaths soar, Murphy said.

    “We dodged one bullet,” Murphy said, referring to a lower-than-feared need for hospital beds. “My worst nightmare, other than the loss of life ... is that people get sloppy.”

    The virus has taken an especially hard toll on the state's nursing homes, with the vast majority reporting at least one case. Police said they found the bodies of 17 people at a nursing home in Sussex County; they described staff as being "overwhelmed" by the outbreak.

    Murphy addressed the situation at the Andover Subacute nursing home, saying he was "outraged" that bodies were allowed to pile up. He said state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal would be investigating the high number of deaths at nursing homes in the state.

    Murphy also announced that the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Financing Authority is suspending all rent increases at 36,000 eligible properties within its portfolio, a move that will help low and moderate-income families impacted by the outbreak.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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