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Gov. Phil Murphy Places New Regulations on NJ Transit and its Riders

New Jersey will increase the mandatory uses of gloves and social distancing to NJ Transit.

In an executive order, new rules and restrictions for public transportation will go into effect April 13 to increase social distancing Gov. Phil Murphy has repeatedly said is the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The executive order limits NJ Transit trains and buses to 50% capacity and requires employees and riders to wear face coverings. NJ Transit previously asked riders to wear face coverings, including the use of bandannas and other homemade options. 

Not Worried About Inconvenience

“Some may view this as another inconvenience,” Murphy said “But you know what would be really inconvenient? If you ended up in hospital with COVID-19 or if you infected a family member.”

The transit authority had cut back on routes as ridership dropped by 90% due to people working at home and avoiding non-essential travel per the governor’s orders. Riders had complained the reduced schedule led to overcrowding.

Murphy said it was important to keep NJ Transit operating as it is one of the main avenues for essential workers to get to their jobs. 

Pickup Face Masks

Additionally, residents are now required to wear face coverings when getting takeout inside restaurants and bars. Establishments offering this service are now obligated to provide masks for their employees as well as part of the order. 

People getting food or alcohol delivered to their homes or in their cars curbside do not have to wear them, Murphy added.

Officials said the actions need to be taken as the peak of patients being hospitalized is upon the state.

Stressful Times Ahead

“We expect the next two to three weeks to be especially stressful and difficult for our hospitals and long-term care facilities,” state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

The issues of respirators and the medicines used with them are on the top of major concerns currently facing officials. Persichilli said only 61 respirator machines remain in the state’s warehouse, and some anesthesia machines are being converted to respirators.

“We have very few ventilators left right now,” Murphy said. “We are literally at the edge.”

Infections Toll Rises by 3K

As of April 11, the number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey climbed to 58,151 with 3,591 new cases and 251 new deaths, bringing that total to 2,183. Of the total deaths, Bergen had the most of any county with 435, while other North Jersey county totals include Essex at 412, Hudson at 118363, Morris at 152, Passaic at 119, Sussex at 17 and Warren with 18.

Of the statewide deaths, 58% were male and 44% were female with 44% of those who had passed having underlying medical conditions. The racial breakdown of 1,350 of the record deaths was as follows: 52% are white, 22% are black, 17% were hispanic, 6% Asian and 3% another race. 

Bergen Still Tops

Bergen is still the primary hot spot in the state with 9,362 total cases, followed by Essex at 7,007, Hudson at 6,851, Union at 5,865, Middlesex at 5,406, Passaic at 5,295, Monmouth at 3,651, Ocean at 3,403, Morris at 2,925, Somerset at 1,642, Mercer at 1,434, Camden at 1,180, Burlington at 1,031, Gloucester at 487, Sussex at 456, Warren at 362, Hunterdon at 301, Atlantic at 230, Cumberland at 154, Cape May at 129 and Salem at 56. 

The state has processed 111,410 coronavirus tests of symptomatic individuals since the outbreak began, with a 44.3% testing positive for COVID-19.

Dischargers Rising

The state reported 7,618 patients are hospitalized with coronavirus, with 682 discharged on April 10. Of those hospitalized, 1,746 are in intensive care units and 1,650 on ventilators. 

Murphy started his update for the second straight day referencing the county-by-county map showing the rate of cases doubling by more than seven days had expanded. 

“While the numbers of our fellow residents in the hospital in critical or intensive care is daunting, there are hundreds of people each day leaving the hospital,” Murphy said. “Those are folks that have gotten to a much better place. This should give us hope.”

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