By: Follow South Jersey Staff
SOUTH JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy today reinstated a Public Health Emergency, effective immediately, in order to ensure that the State is able to respond to the continued threat of COVID-19 and the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
“COVID-19 remains a significant threat to our state and we must commit every resource available to beating back the wave caused by the Omicron variant,” Murphy stated. “While we hope to return to a state of normalcy as soon as possible, the step I am taking today is a commonsense measure that will protect the safety and well-being of all New Jersey residents while allowing the state government to respond to the continuing threat that COVID-19 poses to our daily lives.”
Executive Order No. 280 declares a Public Health Emergency and restates the existing State of Emergency across all 21 counties in New Jersey, allowing state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to assist the State’s healthcare system and affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases. Executive Order No. 281 continues Executive Orders Nos. 111, 112, and 207, allows Executive Orders Nos. 251, 252, 253, 264, and 271 to remain in effect, and extends various regulatory actions taken by the departments in response to COVID-19.
In a video statement, Murphy said that the declared public health emergency “does not mean any new universal mandates or passports.It does not mean lockdowns. It does not mean any business restrictions or gathering limits.It does not mean going backward from any of the progress we’ve made together over the past 22 months. It will mean we continue to stand on a firm base of science and facts, and not politics and conspiracies, to keep your family and your community safe by getting ahead of Omicron and staying there.”
The Public Health Emergency will allow the state to continue vaccine distribution, vaccination or testing requirements in certain settings, the collection of COVID-19 data, implementation of any applicable recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent or limit the transmission of COVID-19, staffing and resource allocation, and other critical components of the State’s COVID-19 response. The new Public Health Emergency will allow for existing orders requiring masking in school and daycare settings to remain in effect.
“As I stand here today, we are registering nearly 35,000 new cases a day,” Murphy said in his video message. “In the past two weeks alone, more than 10,000 of our fellow New Jerseyans have required hospitalization due to COVID. And though these numbers are a stark reminder of the seriousness of this moment in our history, I have a strong sense of optimism that we are moving forward in defeating this virus.”
Murphy’s public health emergency declaration also empowers all state agencies to take all appropriate steps to continue to address the public health hazard resulting from new variants of COVID-19.
Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, the Public Health Emergency will expire after 30 days, unless renewed. State COVID-19 metrics will be re-evaluated at the time of expiration to determine if an extension will be needed.
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