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Murphy, Callahan provide updates on coronavirus throughout NJ

New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan said there have been discussions about using residence halls at Rutgers—New Brunswick and Rutgers—Newark to house healthcare workers in order to keep them in close proximity to medical facilities. – Photo by The Daily Targum

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) reported 3,482 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in New Jersey with an additional 71 deaths in a series of tweets today. This brings the statewide total to 37,505 cases with 917 deaths.

During yesterday’s press conference, Murphy said all flags throughout New Jersey will hang at half-staff in memory of those who have died due to COVID-19 and will continue to do so through the duration of the pandemic.

Murphy also presented a color-coded image of all 21 counties in New Jersey, showing how fast cases of COVID-19 are spreading in each area. He said the cases in Cape May and Salem Counties are currently doubling faster than any other county.

“The folks there need to get out ahead of this as fast as they can,” he said.

Murphy also announced yesterday New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan signed an administrative order that will give municipalities or counties the power to temporarily deny all rentals to seasonal guests for the entire length of the COVID-19 pandemic, including hotels and motels.

“We have heard too many stories, especially from our shore communities, of people trying to relocate for the time being into their towns from impacted areas,” he said. “This is not how social distancing works. No one should be leaving their primary residences and especially for the shore communities that do not have the infrastructure — especially the health and first-responder infrastructure in place, particularly off-season, to accommodate an influx of residents.”

In regards to the three temporary field hospitals, Callahan said the Edison location is approximately 75 percent complete and is set to open on Wednesday. He said the location in Atlantic City should be ready by April 14th.

Murphy also announced in another tweet that New Jersey will receive an additional 500 ventilators from the federal government.

“Ventilators are our no. 1 need right now,” he said, according to the tweet. “I won’t stop fighting to get us the equipment we need to save every life we can.”

When asked about potentially using additional locations to house healthcare workers, Callahan said there have been discussions about using empty hotel or University residence hall space to keep them in close proximity to the field hospital locations and other medical facilities.

“I think we’re talking about Rutgers in New Brunswick, as well as Rutgers in Newark that’s right in close proximity to St. Michael’s (Medical Center)," he said. "So to try and get those hotels (and residence halls), at first glance, to house the medical staff so we have them in close proximity to where we need them.”

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