New Jersey

NJ Gov. Murphy Says Spread of Deadly Coronavirus Appears to Be Slowing

The state of New Jersey has reported the second highest total of coronavirus-related deaths and COVID-19 cases in the United States, but there could be signs that social distancing is helping slow the spread of the deadly virus

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What to Know

  • Gov. Phil Murphy says New Jersey’s COVID-19 outbreak is stabilizing, with the number of patients leaving hospitals outpacing those being admitted. 
  • There’s growing evidence that social distancing is helping contain the virus, according to the governor: It now takes nearly three weeks for the number of people with the virus to double in northeastern New Jersey, up from just three days weeks ago. 
  • As of Monday, 4,377 people have died from coronavirus-related complications in New Jersey. At least 88,806 people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Gov. Phil Murphy says that trends of new cases of the novel coronavirus in New Jersey and cases requiring hospitalization appear to be slowing.

New Jersey's COVID-19 outbreak is stabilizing, with the number of patients leaving hospitals outpacing those being admitted, the Democratic governor said Monday.

As of Monday, 6,986 people were hospitalized in New Jersey. But, for the first time, the number of people discharged from the hospital — 583 — outpaced newly admitted COVID-19 patients, which stood at about 460.

"This is one of our most-important positive indicators," Murphy said. "It means that our health care system is in a better position to get ahead and stay ahead. It means that our social distancing efforts are working."

The slowing of hospital cases comes as fewer intensive care patients are being treated.

"We are seeing relative stability in the number of patients in critical or intensive care," Murphy said.

There's growing evidence that social distancing is helping contain the virus, according to the governor. It now takes three weeks for the number of cases to double in northern New Jersey, up from just three days over the last few weeks.

Murphy warned that once social distancing measures are started to be lifted that more people could be hospitalized.

"We are not claiming victory, but we are making progress," Murphy said.

New Coronavirus Cases, Deaths

On Monday, New Jersey announced another 177 deaths from COVID-19-related complications, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the outbreak to 4,377.

Among the deaths announced by Murphy Monday were Foday Mansaray, originally of Sierra Leone, who served a representative of the International Human Rights Commission Relief Fund Trust and deputy foreign minister and high representative to the United Nations. Also on Monday, Murphy spoke of New Jersey Transit senior vice president and rail operations general manager Ray Kenny who died over the weekend.

The northern part of the state has been hardest hit but there have been several deaths in every southern county as well -- Gloucester County announced its 26th and 27th deaths on Monday.

At least 1,779 of the state's deaths have occurred in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. And, all of the state's 400-plus facilities have at least one positive coronavirus cases.

At least 88,806 people had tested positive for COVID-19. About 45% of people tested in New Jersey have tested positive for the virus. Murphy said that over the past three weeks, new cases appear to have stabilized.

Despite the encouraging news about hospitalizations, Murphy used the story of 26-year-old former Bates College All-American lacrosse star Jack Allard as a call for continued vigiliance.

Allard was placed on a ventilator before finally recovering from COVID-19 weeks after he first felt symptoms. He even at one point was in a medically-induced coma and required treatment at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

He said cases like Allard's show that coronavirus can take down even the healthiest New Jerseyans.

"Don't think for just one minute that just because you exercise you're immune," Murphy said.

Murphy said that this is why children shouldn't be having play dates and why the economic pain doesn't outweigh the human toll of the disease.

"My driving purpose has been to save lives. Period," Murphy said of his ongoing calls for social distancing.

No Timetable, Yet, for Reopening New Jersey

All nonessential businesses remain closed in New Jersey as state health officials and Murphy continues to call for social distancing. He is putting together a plan, however, to at least lay out the framework for some businesses reopening.

"In the coming days, I will announce the benchmarks we will need to see to reopen our state," Murphy said. "Do not think for one minute that we’re going to be able to flip a switch and return to life as we knew it. We will be careful and we will be strategic."

Murphy is allying with neighboring states to coordinate restarting the economy.

Murphy said that confidence doesn't currently exist to get the economy running again.

"Reopening our economy today would backfire on us two-fold – a large spike in COVID-19 cases, and no customers at our stores because people are still fearful for their health and that of their kids and families," Murphy said.

Working With the Federal Government

Murphy said he spoke privately with President Donald Trump and on a conference call with Vice President Mike Pence and other White House task force members on Monday.

Murphy said they discussed the need for more testing to ensure public safety amid reopening. He said contact tracing is a critical step.

COVID-19 Symptoms

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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