Thursday marked 100 days since its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in New Jersey that caused the state's economy to pause as the coronavirus pandemic quickly hit the Garden State hard.
"It’s hard to fathom the impact this virus has had on our state, communities and economy," Gov. Phil Murphy said at his Thursday news briefing. "For 100 days, we’ve asked you to take extraordinary steps. I’m so proud of how New Jerseyans responded."
Murphy noted his state's progress since hitting its peak about two month ago. New hospitalizations are down about 90%, total hospitalizations and ventilator usage are both down about 80% and ICU patients are down about 75%.
The first-term Democrat thanked his state's residents for taking social-distancing measures to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
Each day, new COVID-19 cases and deaths are still reported, however. As of Thursday, nearly 166,000 people in New Jersey had tested positive for COVID-19. At least 12,443 people had died from coronavirus-related complications, another 70 deaths were announced Thursday.
In the coming weeks, pools, camps, retailers and salons will reopen with restrictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have slowed. Outdoor dining can also resume.
Stage 2 of the "Road Back" from coronavirus closures begins Monday, Murphy noted while announcing the "One Jersey Pledge." He is asking businesses to voluntarily post the pledge.
Murphy said the so called "pact" between businesses, employees and customers came to fruition after thousands of business owners replied to a survey. That survey found consumer confidence is the No. 1 concern moving forward.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli urged people who want a coronavirus test to continue to go get one as it helps guide data for restarting the state. She noted that there are hundreds of public and private testing sites.