Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced 3,730 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and 75 additional deaths today, bringing New Jersey’s total to 109,038 cases and 5,938 deaths, according to a tweet.
As of 10 p.m. last night, 6,573 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, of which 1,418 were on ventilators and 1,804 were in critical or intensive care, according to the state’s COVID-19 Information Hub. Between Friday and Saturday night, 684 patients were discharged.
Yesterday, Murphy held a press conference with updates on the state’s ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic. He said the daily number of reported cases continues to remain steady, but reiterated that this alone is not enough to reopen New Jersey’s economy. He said more information on what criteria will need to be met before the state can do so will likely be released Monday.
“We need to see more progress and more slowing before we can begin implementing any effort to get ourselves on the road to the new normal that awaits our state on the other side of this pandemic,” he said.
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the steady number of cases and hospitalizations each day suggests the state slowed the virus from rapidly spreading, which would result in a high peak number of cases that could have overwhelmed the healthcare system.
“We have flattened the curve, but it has (spread) out, and that’s exactly what we wanted to do to be able to handle the capacity through, particularly, our hospitals,” she said. “So we do expect to be seeing cases through May.”
Murphy said the state has increased its testing capacity with approximately 95 testing sites, 30 of which are publicly run. Despite higher levels of COVID-19 testing in New Jersey compared to other American states, he said officials are still looking to expand further.
“Having a robust and accessible testing program in place is not only a great need for the here and now, but it will (also) be a great need — and a requirement, in fact — for the weeks to come,” he said. “This is a key element that we must have in place. As I’ve said, ensuring the public’s health must come before we can begin restarting our economy.”
Persichilli said she spoke with German Minister of Health Jens Spahn on how Germany slowed the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing and other measures. She said Germany has begun slowly opening up select businesses but is proceeding with caution.
“He emphasized the importance of robust testing to help to quickly identify new cases as well as their contacts so they can be isolated immediately,” Persichilli said.
She said German officials are using contact tracing, which is being carried out by five officers for every 20,000 members of the community. Persichilli said officials will consider strategies such as this one when determining how to safely reopen New Jersey.
Murphy said New Jerseyans should continue taking precautions, such as social distancing, to help the state continue the progress it has made so far in minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
“We are New Jersey: tough through and through. Together, we are flattening that curve that leads to lower hospitalizations and, please God, lower numbers of lives lost,” he said. “Together we will beat this.”