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NJ to receive additional testing kits, swabs, personal protective equipment from federal government

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At a press conference today, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced 2,633 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in New Jersey with 460 additional deaths. This brings the state's total to 118,652 cases with 7,228 deaths.

As of 10 p.m. last night, there were 6,137 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, with 1,765 patients requiring critical or intensive care and 1,271 ventilators in use. From Tuesday to Wednesday night, 514 patients were discharged.

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said hospitals in the northern region have reported vacancies in both critical care beds and surgical beds. Hospitals in the central region are still experiencing stresses on bed capacity, while hospitalizations in the southern region are increasing.

Murphy said he, alongside Persichilli and Chief of Staff George Helmy, met with President Donald J. Trump at the White House today. They discussed New Jersey's mitigation strategies, as well as the plan to restart and recover the state's economy.

While Murphy said he is appreciative of what the federal government has provided thus far, he reiterated the need for direct financial support to aid in not only the recovery of New Jersey, but also all states affected by COVID-19.

"This money is not a bailout, it is about funding our response and keeping our police, firefighters, EMTs, educators and other frontline workers on the job," he said. "We need the federal government as a partner in our restart and recovery just as they have been in our mitigation. We have pointed New Jersey in a new, more responsible and sustainable direction and we need to be able to stay pointed in that direction."

As a result of these discussions with Trump, Murphy said New Jersey will receive 550,000 new COVID-19 test kits and 750,000 swabs. A direct shipment of personal protective equipment from the federal government will also be sent to 358 nursing homes in the state, totaling approximately 220,000 face masks, 19,000 goggles, 200,000 gowns and 1 million gloves.

"This proves that it is possible to put people over politics," he said. "It is no secret that the President and I disagree on some things, but that's not going to stop me from doing everything I can to make sure New Jersey has all the resources we need to move forward."

Additionally, Murphy announced today universal testing for New Jersey Department of Corrections inmates and staff will begin at the end of next week, which was made possible through a partnership with Rutgers University on a comprehensive plan to expand COVID-19 testing for inmates and staff. The Department of Corrections will begin providing non-congregate shelter for staff members that have been exposed to COVID-19 as well.

Murphy also announced that New Jersey Transit employees will soon be able to receive testing at the American Dream mall testing site in East Rutherford. This location has already been serving first responders and frontline healthcare workers.

"Make no mistake, the men and women of NJ Transit have been an essential part of our COVID-19 response. They're the way in many of our other frontline responders and essential workers, in fact, get to their jobs," he said. "Ensuring the health and safety of the men and women of NJ Transit also means enhancing public confidence in our mass transit system, and we know that our overall restart and recovery relies on ensuring that residents have greater confidence in their ability to get to work or the store as our economy begins to reopen in the weeks ahead."

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