What to Know
- New Jersey continues to see thousands more cases of the new coronavirus as the state continues to emphasize testing for COVID-19.
- At least 355 people have died after contracting the novel coronavirus. At least 22,255 have tested positive for COVID-19.
- New Jersey has pushed back its tax filing deadline and fiscal year to focus on fighting coronavirus.
New Jersey now has more than 22,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and more than 350 deaths.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday announced 91 new deaths, bringing the death count of people who had died after contracting COVID-19 to 355. Most of the deaths have been in North Jersey and nearly half the deaths have been people over the age of 80, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. Twenty-three people in Ocean County have died.
Among the deaths is Janice Preschel, who launched a food pantry that feeds families in North Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said at a Wednesday news conference.
"Every single one of these lost lives is irreplaceable," Murphy said.
The state total of cases was at least 22,255, a jump of 3,649 in one day as the state puts an emphasis on testing.
The worst of the coronavirus pandemic could still be to come. Persichilli said several medical centers in the hard-hit northern part of New Jersey are reaching capacity, meaning the surge of cases could already be getting underway.
About a quarter of the long-term care facilities around the state, including some in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer and Ocean counties, have reported a COVID-19 case, Persichilli said.
More Medical Equipment
Murphy said he continues to search for more ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients despite the feds sending hundreds of more units.
The state is also pushing for more personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers and first responders.
The state continues to ask anyone with medical training to help treat people during the pandemic. Murphy called on retired people, not only in New Jersey but in any state, to help.
Officials continue to order people to stay at home and practice social distancing as a way of "flattening the curve" of the deadly virus.
Full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts you
New Jersey Moves Back Tax Filing Date
The somber news of more deaths, came as state lawmakers moved the date for tax filing as the Garden State continues to fight the deadly virus.
New Jersey's income tax deadline will move from April 15 to July 15 and the state budget deadline will move from June 30 to Sept. 30 in response to the coronavirus outbreak, Murphy and state lawmakers said Wednesday.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused hardships, financial strain, and disruptions for many New Jerseyans and New Jersey businesses," the leaders said.
Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin will move any necessary legislation and supplemental appropriations to get the state through the rest of the fiscal year, the leaders said. All three men are Democrats.
The change in the income tax filing deadline mirrors what the federal government announced last month.
The details of the budget are unclear. Murphy had proposed a $40.9 billion spending plan that called for increased spending for schools, public pensions and New Jersey Transit, but the economic impact the virus will have on state finances looks dire given a sharp rise in unemployment claims.
Help for Small Businesses
New Jersey is opening up the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program application process for businesses hit hard by closures amid the coronavirus pandemic on Friday morning. More details can be found here.
For most people, the 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.