On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Gov. Phil Murphy continued to press for residents to keep with the short term inconveniences for a return offering a new normalcy that lasts longer.
“Enjoy the day responsibly,” said Murphy at the end of the daily briefing April 25. “There will be many more beautiful spring days ahead. But I want us to be able to enjoy them together. But not yet.”
Murphy noted that more state residents have passed from COVID-19 infections than casualties from World War I, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War combined.
War with Virus
“We are winning but not without casualties,” Murphy said mournfully. “We are in a war (with the virus).”
State officials did stress key indicators are moving in the right direction.
“As we look at the curve of new COVID-19 cases, we see continued flattening,” Murphy said. “(But) we need them to go down aggressively.”
State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli noted that hospilizations are flat overall, with a drop in the North and slight rise in the South while the Central tier remained about the same. Comparatively, patients in critical care have been flat.
”We don’t know how many people are infected. We guarantee you that’s not the number,” Murphy said. “We need to see more progress and more slowing before we can get ourselves on the road to the new normal that awaits down the road on the other side of this pandemic.”
COVID-19 Death total Nears 10K
As of April 24, the number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 105,523 with 3,457 new cases and 249 new deaths, bringing that total to 5,863.
Of the total deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most deaths with 1,019, followed by Bergen with 954, Hudson at 655, Passaic at 416, Morris at 347, Sussex at 91 and Warren with 63.
The racial breakdown of the record deaths was 53% white, 20% black, 17% hispanic, 6% Asian and 5% another race. For 40,309 hospitalizations that were tracked, the breakdown was 36% white, 20% black, 18% hispanic, 5% Asian and 11% another race Murphy noted the rates in the Black and Hispanic communities were running about 50% more than their population in the state. The governor recently signed legislation mandating hospitals report age, gender, ethnicity and race of people who have tested COVID-19 positive or died from the virus.
In regards to the underlying disease of those who have passed, 60% had cardiovascular disease, 42% diabetes, 31% chronic diseases, 15% neurological conditions, 11% cancer and 13% other. Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen is still the primary hot spot in the state with 14,738 total cases, followed by Hudson at 13,367, Essex at 12,520, Union at 11,523, Passaic at 10,738, Middlesex at 10,075, Ocean at 5,811, Monmouth at 5,521, Morris at 4,821, Mercer at 3,245, Somerset at 3,030, Camden at 2,870, Burlington at 2,153, Gloucester at 949, Sussex at 812, Warren at 750, Atlantic at 596, Hunterdon at 505, Cumberland at 504, Cape May at 261 and Salem at 177.
Another 557 cases under investigation to determine where the person resides.
Long-term Care Facilities
The state noted 474 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 and the facilities have accounted for 15,105 of the cases and 1,952 of the total deaths confirmed with an additional 1,820 under investigation.
In a by-county breakdown, Bergen’s 59 facilities had 2,754 residents test positive with 573 total deaths, Essex’s 45 facilities had 1,567 residents test positive with 353 total deaths, Hudson’s 12 facilities had 495 residents test positive with 95 total deaths, Morris’s 36 facilities had 1,064 residents test positive with 227 total deaths, Passaic’s 24 facilities had 775 residents test positive with 139 total deaths, Sussex’s five facilities had 255 residents test positive with 58 total deaths and Warren’s six facilities had 249 residents test positive with 45 total deaths.
The state has processed 191,813 coronavirus tests of symptomatic individuals since the outbreak began, with 44% testing positive for COVID-19. The state estimates between 7,000-9,000 tests are processed a day with test results returning in about a week.
Officials reported 6,722 patients are hospitalized with coronavirus and 686 discharged on April 24. There are currently 99 patients in field hospitals, with 309 discharged overall. Of those hospitalized, 1,971 are in intensive care units and 1,442 are on ventilators.
The governor signed an executive order allowing tenants to direct their landlords to use their security deposits to offset rent or back rent.
“We recognize the anxiety that so many are feeling about looming rent payments, and during this emergency renters should have the ability to utilize their security deposit to help them stay in their place of residence,” said Murphy.
The order waives provisions prohibiting the use of security deposits for rental payments, enabling tenants to instruct landlords to use their security deposits to offset rent or back rent.
Additionally, the state established a rental housing information page and question portal as a single point of reference for tenants and landlords seeking information about their rights during the public health emergency and a standing information page has been added to the State’s COVID-19 website for homeowners interested in taking advantage of the previously announced mortgage forbearance agreement with private lenders.