North Jersey News Roundup for May 15, 2020

Beaches on the Jersey Shore and lake communities will open the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, May 22. The procedures and guidelines to be enforced include beaches and lakefronts communities limiting the amount of people given access so socially distancing is observed. Families and households are allowed to cluster together, but otherwise beachgoers need to be six feet apart. Additionally, the governor announced bathrooms will be opened at state parks and county parks after being thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

The state Senate and Assembly passed legislation creating an Employee Job-Sharing Furlough Protection Act for government and private employers to cut employees’ hours and pay while taking advantage of state and federal unemployment benefits to replace their lost wages. The plan put forth by state Senate President Stephen Sweeney would furlough a quarter of the 400,000-person public-sector workforce through the end of July 31, potentially saving the state and local governments as much as $750 million.

State officials said they would welcome any investigation into how the Murphy Administration handled the COVID-19 crisis, including actions surrounding long-term care facilities. “The tragedy that happened at long-term care facilities will haunt us for a long time, but we will work to put things in place to prevent things like this from happening again,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.

Abbott Laboratories will change the instructions for using its fast coronavirus test for a second time, days after a study found the device frequently gave negative results for patients who were infected with the virus. The change will tell users that negative results produced by Abbott’s ID Now device are “presumptive” and should be verified with an alternative test for patients with signs of the virus. The Wall Street Journal

New Jersey was testing around 10,600 residents a day on average as of May 12, according to a report from the consulting firm McKinsey & Company that was prepared for the Murphy Administration. That figure represented a 9% decline from the number of tests the state was conducting just 10 days earlier, when the seven-day trailing average had climbed to 11,600. PoliticoNJ

Gov. Phil Murphy formally endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president. The backing came at the beginning of an online discussion about the coronavirus with Biden and Democratic Govs. Ned Lamont of Connecticut and Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will send five 10-person healthcare strike teams to five New Jersey long-term care facilities. The VA medical workers, including clinical staff, nurses and nursing assistants, will join forces with healthcare facility personnel until June 30 as the state seeks to manage the impact of COVID-19 among vulnerable older patients. The Record

Nearly 70,000 New Jersey workers applied for unemployment benefits last week, the lowest weekly total since the state initiated aggressive social distancing due to the coronavirus crisis in March. All told, nearly 1.1 million workers in the Garden State have successfully applied for jobless benefits over eight weeks of social distancing with 725,000 of those currently receiving benefits.

Former Congressman Frank J. Guarini has donated $10 million to New Jersey City University. The gift, the largest in the university’s history, will establish both the Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Studies and a state of the art community Performing Arts Center (PAC). Hudson Reporter

Hoboken will expand its open streets program to give people more room to socially distance. During the open street pilot on Adams Street for May 16 and 17, walking, jogging, and biking are permitted on the open street. Congregating is prohibited. The city opened Jefferson Street the weekend before. Hudson Reporter

And finally…Preservation New Jersey released its 2020 list of the 10 most endangered historic places that includes The Fort Lee Post Office and The Records Storage Building in Hoboken.

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