What to Know
- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is asking for billions in direct cash assistance to battle the new coronavirus and deal with its effects.
- As of Friday, at least 890 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New Jersey. Eleven have died.
- Health officials are opening shuttered hospitals, including one in South Jersey, to deal with the continuing increase in cases.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy vowed "aggressive" action as the number of coronavirus cases in the state approached at least 900.
Murphy also called for $100 billion in assistance from the federal government.
At a news conference in hard-hit Bergen County, Gov. Phil Murphy announced another 155 people had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases to at least 890. There have now been 11 deaths from the virus, including a man in his 30s from North Jersey whose death was announced Friday.
Of the new cases of sicknesses revealed Friday, two are in Burlington County, three in Mercer County and 15 more in Ocean County. Murphy also said that Cumberland County reported its first case.
Atlantic County also notified the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City that one of its table games employees tested posted, according to the Borgata's COO in a letter to his employees Friday.
"We are coordinating with health officials to notify individuals who may have been in close prolonged contact with the employee and to implement our company health and safety protocol," Borgata President and COO Marcus Glover wrote.
Since Sunday, New Jersey has gone from dozens of cases of COVID-19 to almost 1,000. Part of the reason: ramped-up testing.
Around 600 people, on Friday alone, were tested at a Bergen County testing site.
Murphy announced he is requiring hospitals and health centers to offer COVID-19 testing with costs waived.
Murphy urged only those who are feeling sick or have had direct exposure to someone with COVID-19 to seek testing, to prevent overwhelming the health care system.
Most of the cases have been in North Jersey, but the novel coronavirus has spread throughout most of the state. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said preexisting conditions, like obesity and diabetes, have been present in most of the deaths.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
On Friday, Persichilli announced the closure of all adult day care centers throughout the state. She also announced the push to get hospital beds ready for "when the surge occurs," not if it occurs.
Part of that push is already in motion. Health leaders toured the former Underwood Memorial Hospital in Woodbury, Gloucester County. State leaders have worked with owner Inspira Health to reopen the facility, which would add 300 beds to the statewide total.
Persichilli said the South Jersey facility should “be up and running” after thorough cleaning. She put a timeline of three to four weeks to open the former hospital.
The state is also working to secure more personal protective gear for public health workers. Murphy expressed gratitude to Home Depot for donating N95 masks and said the state is working with the federal government to secure more gear from the national stockpile.
He also noted they have placed “significant” private orders.
Also on Friday, Murphy said that New Jersey, along with nearby states Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, needs $100 billion in direct cash assistance from the federal government to deal with the fallout from the new coronavirus and the recovery effort.
It is not business as usual in the Garden State. Murphy's shutdown of certain businesses, including barber shops, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, gyms, casinos, theaters and racetracks was aimed at "flattening the curve" of infections.
"We will get through this together," Murphy said while begging all of New Jersey's 9 million or so people to practice social distancing.
"Keep doing the smart things to protect yourself and your families," Murphy said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.