By: Christian Oberly
TRENTON, N.J. — Today Governor Phil Murphy held a press briefing to go over some updates in New Jersey’s battle against the spread of COVID-19.
Just after 2 p.m., Murphy announced that there were 2,492 new confirmed cases in New Jersey — bringing the state total to 6,976. There were also 19 new deaths reported, which puts the current number at 81 total deaths.
The governor called for all New Jersey residents to continue following social distancing guidelines in order to help “flatten the curve” and prevent hospitals from being overrun as more and more cases appear.
As for school closures — Murphy said that individual schools will not be the ones making the decision to reopen. Instead, that responsibility rests with him. And a decision about reopening schools will not be made until April 17 at the earliest.
For those who are out of work due to the numerous layoffs sweeping the state, a jobs portal has been created by the state to connect workers with job postings created by companies in critical industries such as grocery stores and pharmacies. So far, there have been over 35,000 jobs from more than 300 businesses posted on the portal since it opened on Monday. Murphy also remarked that over 230,000 workers have accessed the site since its launch.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli also provided several updates regarding the number of cases, including the number of new cases per county. She also discussed the situation with New Jersey’s long-term care facilities where, at this time, approximately 10% of the facilities have reported at least one case of COVID-19.
The White House officially announced a “Major Disaster Declaration” for the state of New Jersey on Thursday morning. Governor Phil Murphy released a statement shortly afterward, saying:
“With our major disaster declaration approved, New Jersey will now have access to greater essential federal support to help our residents through this emergency,” said Governor Murphy. “This declaration will allow us to lift remaining bureaucratic barriers to assistance and enhance our statewide response to COVID-19. I am grateful to the Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their collaboration and coordination in supporting our response and recovery efforts to COVID-19 in New Jersey.”
Going forward, the governor’s office is preparing for further cases by requesting more personal protective equipment, masks, and ventilators from the federal government. Persichilli said our state will need over 2,000 more ventilators in the weeks to come.
To access the state’s jobs portal, visit: https://jobs.covid19.nj.gov/index.html