Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced 162 new positive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in New Jersey during Wednesday’s press conference, bringing the statewide total to 427 cases. He also announced two additional deaths from COVID-19, increasing New Jersey’s total number of fatalities to five.
Two of the cases announced on Tuesday, Murphy said, were found to be out-of-state residents and were removed from the total count of positive cases.
“This is increasing with a pretty steep curve, as we had expected,” he said. “You have a combination of a couple things that we have already previewed: You’ve got some amount of community interaction and spread as part of this, and more importantly, more people are getting tested.”
Eighteen of the 21 New Jersey counties have at least one case of COVID-19, Murphy said. Cape May, Sussex and Salem Counties currently have no confirmed cases.
On Tuesday, he announced the closures of indoor shopping malls, amusement parks and amusement centers throughout the state until further notice. He also spoke on canceling all gatherings with 50 or more individuals, which he announced earlier this week, according to The Daily Targum.
“I’ve ordered this for not just some, but all events,” Murphy said. “We don’t want events to go underground into people’s homes. If people are gathering in large numbers, we don’t care where they are gathering, it’s a public health concern.”
Murphy said he will meet with Major General Jeffrey L. Milhorn of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Thursday to discuss how they can collaborate on expanding hospital capacities throughout New Jersey. He also said they spoke to New Jersey’s congressional delegates about the steps that have been taken throughout the state and the help that is still needed.
In regard to the response from New Jersey’s Department of Human Services, Murphy said they recognize that many of the residents who rely on these human and social services are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
“To be clear, we consider home health aids and other direct support professionals to be an essential part in our emergency response team,” he said. “They are first responders within our healthcare system for many in these communities and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”