North Jersey News Roundup for May 11, 2020

With Memorial Day weekend less than two weeks away, Gov. Phil Murphy recently gave his most expansive answer on how he sees the opening of beaches and lakes amid the COVID-19 crisis. The guidance to be provided to Jersey shore and lake communities on how to operate are based in part on those used for state parks and golf courses the first weekend in May.

A class action lawsuit on behalf of all residents in Andover Subacute Rehabilitation Center Subacute I or II who died as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak was filed in state Superior Court in Newton. The lawsuit alleges gross negligence, negligence, wrongful death and medical malpractice by Andover Subacute I and II facilities; Altitude Investments, an Illinois-based health care investment firm; Alliance Healthcare, which is leasing the property from Altitude and manages the facility’s day-to-day operations; and Chaim “Mutty” Scheinbaum and his co-partner, Louis Schwartz, who run Alliance Healthcare. New Jersey Herald

New Jersey will receive 4,400 vials of remdesivir, the only drug so far proven to help patients with the coronavirus, from the federal government to help manage the nation’s second-largest outbreak. The state’s health department is working with New Jersey’s 71 hospitals on a distribution plan consistent to where the greatest need is.

The American Red Cross will open two COVID-19 convalescent plasma collection sites in North Jersey. The collections will begin at the American Red Cross blood center in Fairfield and University Hospital in Newark May 11.

Rite Aid is expanding availability of self-administered coronavirus tests to 14 stores in New Jersey, including those not experiencing symptoms. All sites use self-swab nasal tests overseen by Rite Aid pharmacists. Patients are required to provide government-issued identification, be at least 18 years old, and need to pre-register online. Sites in North Jersey include Waldwick, Bayonne, Clifton, Edison, Hackensack, Lake Hiawatha and Newark.

Virtual graduation ceremonies “should take the place of any in-person or public ceremonies,” according to guidance from State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan and the state Department of Education. The letter referred to Gov. Phil Murphy’s Executive Order indefinitely closing school buildings amid the state’s first public health emergency, and to a separate Executive Order prohibiting gatherings of individuals for parties, celebrations, and other social events, which includes all in-person graduation ceremonies.

Fifteen publicly traded New Jersey companies received PPP funding from the first round of small business loans, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings compiled by Fact Squared. Only 13% of New Jersey’s 884,049 small businesses have thus far received the forgivable Small Business Administration loans.

Sen. Bob Menendez delivered the weekly Democratic Address on May 9. In the address, Menendez called on Senate Republicans to stop blocking action on critical coronavirus legislation and emphasized that to jump-start the economy, the Trump administration must develop a comprehensive national testing strategy.  New Jersey Globe

In New Jersey, 3.2 million $1,200 stimulus payments totaling $5.3 billion went to state households from the federal government as of May 8. For those awaiting paper checks, the IRS said it is sending those out to the lower-income taxpayers first and it can only send five million checks per week. Highest-income recipients will be among the last to get them.

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission will stay closed through at least May 26. All agency, road testing and inspections facilities will remain closed, but customers can use online services for some agency functions, including commercial trucking operations. The Daily Record

Former Gov. Chris Christie was interviewed for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Bridgegate convictions of two former allies. Christie believes the ruling will help him return to being a leading spokesman for the Republican Party and would not rule out a run for President in 2024. The Record

Hudson County freeholders are expected to vote on a resolution authorizing the use of eminent domain to seize three CarePoint Health hospital properties. The resolution would allow the Hudson County Improvement Authority to buy out the stakes of Alaris Health owner Avery Eisenreich in three CarePoint properties, clearing the way for the hospitals to be sold. The Jersey Journal

And finally… Rep. Josh Gottheimer delivered Walburger meals to staffers at Newton Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, Holy Name Medical Center, The Valley Hospital and Teaneck and Hackensack police and fire departments. New Jersey Herald

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