What to Know
- At least 1,241 people have died from COVID-19 complications in New Jersey since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
- As of Tuesday, at least 44,416 people in the Garden State had tested positive for the viral infection.
- Gov. Phil Murphy closed all state and county parks Tuesday in an attempt to increase social distancing.
New Jersey's death toll from the novel coronavirus surpassed 1,200 people Tuesday. At least 1,241 people had died from COVID-19 complications, an increase of more than 200 over the previous 24 hours.
After making the grim announcement, Gov. Phil Murphy added that he is signing an executive order closing all county and state parks because too many people have failed to observe social-distancing guidelines.
Murphy reinforced Tuesday the need to stay at home and continue social distancing as the best way to combat the spread of COVID-19. He said the efforts will take weeks longer.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
The total number of people who had tested positive for COVID-19 was at least 44,416 as of Tuesday, an increase of about 3,300 cases over the previous day.
Of the new COVID-19 deaths announced Tuesday, 33 of the people had lived in long-term care facilities like nursing homes, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.
New Jersey is among the hardest-hit states in the country. New Jersey is likely weeks away from hitting the peak of the outbreak, according to health officials.
Bergen, Essex and Hudson counties in suburban New York have seen the most cases. But, at least one death has been reported in every county, including South Jersey, throughout the state.
Closing State, County Parks; More Beaches Close
On Tuesday, Murphy said he planned to sign an order to close all state and county parks and forests.
“We need 100% compliance," Murphy said. “We understand that staying at home is hard — you need to get fresh air, but you need to stay at home."
People using parks haven't done enough to practice social distancing. "We’ve seen far too many instances in our parks where people are gathering and socializing in groups," Murphy said.
Murphy said it is up to individual municipalities if they keep city and town parks open.
The beach also is quickly disappearing as a place to escape anymore. Four more New Jersey shore towns announced this week that they will close their beaches.
Officials in the Cape May County towns of Avalon, Wildwood, North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest said they're closing their beaches in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.
They're just the latest towns to shutter their beaches. Others include Bay Head and Mantoloking.
Executive Orders on Public Health Emergency, Schools
On Tuesday, Murphy signed an executive order extending the state's public health emergency by another 30 days. It had been set to expire on Thursday.
"We will only come out of this if we stay together by, ironically, staying apart," Murphy said.
Murphy also said he signed executive orders to keep the state's schools closed indefinitely during the coronavirus outbreak and to waive standardized testing requirements for students this year.
Teaming Up With Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut
Murphy said he is coordinating with governors in neighboring states, including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont for a response to COVID-19.
"While we are not there yet, we discussed a regional approach to testing, tracking, and the reopening of businesses and schools, and potentially a regional approach to mobilizing resources for when COVID-19 comes back," Murphy said.