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Murphy provides updates on NJ's coronavirus efforts

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said he estimates all New Jerseyans will have access to a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine by April or May. – Photo by commons.wikimedia.org

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) held a press conference yesterday to provide updates on the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New Jersey.

An additional 4,350 cases and 56 deaths were reported in New Jersey yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 346,206 cases and 15,309 deaths. Another 1,836 deaths were potentially linked to COVID-19.

As of Tuesday, there were 3,287 hospitalizations, with 599 patients in critical or intensive care and 354 patients on ventilators.

Murphy said yesterday that while New Jersey reached its lowest transmission rate since Sept. 16, a rate of 1.08, this still indicates that COVID-19 is spreading.

“We’re still weeks away from the first doses of a vaccine being ready for distribution to our health care workers and months away, realistically, from a vaccine being readily available for public distribution,” he said. “The news is really good, but it’s not a light switch that we can flip tomorrow. Everyone wants to know when this is going to be over … and these numbers tell us the answer (that), at least for now, (it will not be over) anytime soon.”

Murphy said he estimates everyone in New Jersey will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine by April or May.

Over the past week, the New Jersey Department of Health has confirmed four new COVID-19 outbreaks in New Jersey schools, pushing the statewide total to 70 outbreaks since Aug. 1. There were 16 new cases that resulted from these outbreaks, leading to a total of 285 cases associated with in-school transmission.

Additionally, Murphy said New Jerseyans should not be making any non-essential out-of-state travel and that anyone visiting or returning to New Jersey should self-quarantine for 14 days. This comes one week after Murphy got rid of the state-by-state travel advisory, according to an article from NJ Advance Media.

Murphy also criticized the restaurant, Portobello, in Oakland, New Jersey, for permitting crowds last Wednesday and Saturday. He said the police department charged the restaurant owners with non-compliance and maintaining a nuisance, and municipal officials revoked Portobello's outdoor dining permits after 4 p.m. for 30 days.

“The overwhelming number of restaurant owners are playing by the rules and doing the right things … Outlier owners who think the rules apply to others but not to them and who don’t support the values of their communities give the good and hardworking restaurateurs … a black eye,” Murphy said.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated the police department revoked Portobello's outdoor dining permits.


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