North Jersey News Roundup for April 9, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy is requiring all store employees and shoppers to wear face masks or coverings while limiting customers in stores to a max of 50% of the store’s capacity in an effort to contain COVID-19 spread. Workers will be required to wear gloves if they’re interacting with customers. Additionally, primary elections were postponed to July 7 from June 2. This includes primaries for President, the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Cory Booker, the U.S. House of Representatives, the 25th District of the New Jersey Legislature, and county and municipal elections.

The state’s Department of Health is preparing to identify which nursing home facilities are too overwhelmed and need to transfer residents to slow the spread of the disease among the state’s long-term facilities. At least one case of COVID-19 has been found inside 231 of the 375 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state. The state is working with the long-term care center operators to identify which have room to separate infected residents or those with symptoms are separated from the resident of the population.

The coronavirus disease has killed at least 10 residents at the New Jersey Veterans Home in Paramus and likely contributed to the deaths of about 30 over the past two weeks. Six residents were hospitalized, 70 are ill and dozens of staff members have been diagnosed or are awaiting test results. A team of 36 medics from the Army National Guard were deployed to the facility to assist with nursing duties. The Record

The state has assembled a task force to source medications needed to combat the coronavirus. The state Department of Health has been receiving information from hospitals about medications that are both in demand and in short supply as part of a broader effort to source those drugs directly from pharmaceutical companies. PoliticoNJ

Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all non-essential construction in New Jersey to cease by April 10. Exemptions were included for construction projects that involve hospitals, schools, affordable housing, transportation, utility work, emergency repairs and individual housing sites that can continue to operate under strict social distancing guidelines.

Rutgers Cancer Institute has launched a clinical trial of a malaria drug to treat the coronavirus that could yield results as soon as May. Researchers will study the response of 160 COVID-19 patients to hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The Daily Record

Gov. Phil Murphy’s chief legal counsel is quarantined after testing positive for the coronavirus, making him the highest-ranking state official known to have contracted the virus. Matt Platkin is currently asymptomatic and has been in quarantine since April 4. New Jersey Herald

Sen. Bernie Sanders ended his presidential candidacy, clearing the way for a general election between the presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. Sen. Sanders said he is ending his quest as the campaign could not gather enough delegates to win the nomination. The New York Times

A Hudson County Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Jersey City in its decision to suspend the city’s police unions off-duty jobs program. The union claimed in the lawsuit the city had illegally halted the program after former Chief Phil Zacche pleaded guilty to federal charges of being paid for off-duty details never performed. The Jersey Journal

Senate President Steve Sweeney will take a seat on the New Jersey Legislative Reapportionment Commission that will draw new legislative districts for the state for the next decade. The Democratic State Chairman will fill five seats on the commission from Hudson, Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and South Jersey. New Jersey Globe

And finally…PSE&G is warning residents to charge electronic devices in case there are power outages due to high winds expected on April 9. The Record

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