What to Know
- New Jersey hit a deadly milestone Saturday as the death total from the coronavirus outbreak reached at least 140
- As of Friday, 108 people of the 8,825 who had tested positive for COVID-19 had died.
- Gov. Phil Murphy and health officials are urging for people to continue social distancing as they look to flatten the curve and not overwhelm medical services
Hard-hit New Jersey has lost another 32 people who have contracted the novel coronavirus Saturday. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, New Jersey has had 140 people die from the virus.
The new deaths include the first reported in Gloucester County in South Jersey where an 82-year-old woman with underlying conditions died. Three more people have also died in Ocean County.
On Saturday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced another nearly 2,300 people tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state total to 11,127.
About one-third of the people tested for COVID-19 have had the virus, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. Most results take days to come in and most of the tests were done on people experiencing symptoms like a fever and shortness of breath.
Bergen County and other North Jersey counties continue to be the hardest hit.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
Persichilli said that current projections put the peak of the coronavirus outbreak is expected to come in mid-April. The state has worked to increase hospital beds ahead of that time.
Persichilli said the state health department is working with hospitals in doubling their critical care capacity. She also said they hope to have enough ventilators to deal with patients.
Social distancing measures could still help flatten the curve and relieve the stress on hospitals, she said.
Help for Health Care Providers
Murphy announced Friday afternoon that he was sending $140 million state money to health care providers to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Murphy called on anyone with medical training -- retired doctors, retired nurses, nursing and medical students, EMTs, former members of our Armed Services’ medical corps -- to volunteer their services "in the fight." This is the link to volunteer.
Murphy also reiterated his order that all non hospital health care facilities and businesses that are sitting on personal protective equipment (PPE) -- including N95 masks and gloves -- to be registered with the state by 5 p.m. Friday. You can file the list online.
Food Stamp Help
Most New Jersey residents getting assistance formerly called food stamps will be getting more aid because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Murphy's administration said Friday that roughly 60% of the 340,000 households who get help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will see an extra benefit payment on Sunday. Families that already get the federal maximum amount won't be eligible for the higher benefit, but Murphy's administration says about 205,000 households will qualify for it.
The money comes as part of federal legislation that set aside $70 million for New Jersey families.
Lakewood police on Thursday cited a resident for violating Murphy's executive order barring gatherings.
Police told NJ.com that while officers responded to a car accident, they spotted two vans full of people and a tent set up in a backyard apparently in anticipation of a wedding celebration.
The Ocean County prosecutor's office said in a statement that the gathering was dispersed and a future court day is pending.
Murphy said that the vast majority of people in Lakewood are complying with social distancing and stay-at-home orders but that those who don't will continue to face enforcement.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.