Gov. Phil Murphy revealed during his Thursday media briefing that there are 318 new cases, bringing the state-wide total to 742, including nine deaths.
Murphy said the combination of aggressive testing and some community spread is the reason for the spike.
“I will tell you right now as we sit here on March 19, I guess, these numbers I am certain, sooner than later, will go into the many thousands. I want to make sure to folks out there listening today, as we’ve said all along, we expect that to happen,” Murphy said.
The governor said the Bergen County Community College drive-thru testing site will be up and running on Friday, and that he will hold his daily press conference there. He added other testing sites around the state are being set up.
Murphy said effective 8 p.m. all personal care businesses that cannot comply with social distancing guidelines will be closed, including barbershops, hair salons, spas, nail and eyelash salons, tattoo parlors, and social clubs.
“We are aggressive as any American state in the steps that we have taken,” Murphy said, “but we reserve the right to revisit the steps that we have taken, and to at least assess whether we should take further steps.”
CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text 692692 | Westchester Testing Call 1(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Case Tracker | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211
The governor reiterated his concern over young people not heeding the state guidelines about social distancing and praised essential workers for the job they have done to this point.
“To everybody, we deeply appreciate the cooperation we are seeing with our efforts to promote social distancing, and we know it’s not easy to be cooped up in a house. But this is what we all need to do to get through this together, and we will get through this together,” Murphy said. “I repeat especially to our younger residents: we’re seeing that more and more of you are not immune. Everything we say and urge applies to you as well, both for your own health as well as for the potential of your passing on unknowingly, unwittingly, the virus to someone in an older generation.
“I also again tip my hat in particular to everybody who is working on the front lines of our responses. Regardless of the job you do, you’re doing an incredible job. We cannot make it through this without your selfless efforts,” Murphy added.
Murphy said an executive order has been signed that will allow electronic candidate petitions. The secretary of state will also be creating an online petition form, through which voters can submit signatures for candidate petitions by the March 30 deadline. Please visit Elections.NJ.gov for more information.
“No one should be out gathering signatures physically,” Murphy said.
In addition, the March 21 special election in Old Bridge Fire District, the March 31 special elections in Atlantic City, West Amwell Township, and all April 21 school elections will be moved to Tuesday, May 12, and will be vote by mail only.
The governor said the June 2 primary elections remain as scheduled, but he will not hesitate to make changes if the coronavirus emergency continues.
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