Gov. Phil Murphy Warns Officials Against Defying Executive Orders

On the 100th day since the first case of the coronavirus was discovered in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy blasted town officials defying his executive orders.

“We have gone through hell, please let’s not do that again,” said Murphy during his daily briefing June 11. “My job is not to worry about the next headline or the next election. It’s about saving every single life that we can save.”

The governor’s words come as Wayne’s mayor declared the town will hold a high school graduation ceremony for its two high schools this month and Asbury Park’s decision to allow indoor dining on June 15, decisions that go against the governor’s executive orders.

‘Undone in Haste’

“All our efforts to date have been centred around the basic principles of protecting health and protecting people,” said Murphy. “We have come too far together to see all the good 9 million New Jerseyans have done undone in haste.” 

In recent weeks, state officials have begun to slowly reopen the state and its economy in a phased roll out. Outdoor dining and retail stores are set to open June 15, followed by hair salons, nail salons and barbershops on June 22.

Earlier in the week, the stay-at-home order in effect since March 21 was lifted and gathering limits were increased. Indoor gatherings of no more than 50 are allowed beginning June 12, with the limits on outdoor gatherings were expanded to its current 100 limit and scheduled to grow to 500 starting July 3.

Increased Criticism

In the last week, Murphy has been criticized for breaking his own executive order when it came to outside gathering after participating in marches and protests over the death of Geroge Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement.

State officials have continuously said that COVID-19 spread issues are much easier to manage in outdoor settings—in combination with social distancing, hand washing and face coverings—than those indoors.

Restaurants have been able to offer curbside pickup service throughout the COVID-19 crisis but many have stated it has not been enough to offset losses from having customers at their locations.

Regional Approach

“I fully understand the economic pressures of small businesses, and especially those in the hospitality sector—you have been crushed,” said Murphy. 

But the governor underscored his position on indoor dining by noting neighboring states have the same position as New Jersey

“New York City and Philadelphia have suffered from the virus similar to us and none of them are reopening indoor dining,” said Murphy. “We can not have communities mirroring the cavalier actions taken in other states and not put a premium of the health of their residents.”

Low Reproduction Rate

The first-term Democratic governor noted New Jersey’s virus reproduction rate—currently at 0.62—is significantly lower than states that rushed to reopen, specifically Florida, Texas and Georgia.

“We can not have one set of rules for one town and another set of rules for another,” said Murphy. 

Murphy was hopeful that officials would have guidance and opening dates for indoor dining “sooner rather than later,” making sure to give enough of an advance notice to allow restaurants to adhere to the standard. 

Daily Data

As of June 11, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 166,816 with 539 new cases and 70 new deaths, bringing that total to 12,443. 

Of the total deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,723, followed by Bergen at 1,646, Hudson with 1,242, Passaic at 984, Morris at 631, Sussex at 149 and Warren with 137. 

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of June 7 rested at 3.8%. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one. By region, the north tested at 3.3%, the central at 4.1% and the south 4.3%.

Officials reported 1,512 patients are hospitalized with coronavirus—which included 27 new hospitalizations—while 169 patients were discharged. The north tier had 653 patients hospitalized, the central 465 and the south 394.

Of those hospitalized, 445 are in intensive care units and 319 on ventilators. There are currently nine patients in field hospitals, with 474 treated overall. 

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 18,719, followed by Hudson at 18,675, Essex at 18,234, Passaic at 16,555, Union at 16,337, Middlesex at 16,327, Ocean at 9,166, Monmouth at 8,627, Mercer at 7,275, Camden at 6,938, Morris at 6,601, Burlington at 4,832, Somerset at 4,721, Cumberland at 2,627, Atlantic at 2,431, Gloucester at 2,367, Warren at 1,198, Sussex at 1,149, Hunterdon at 1,032, Salem at 689 and Cape May at 663.

Another 653 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

Demographic Breakdown

The racial breakdown of the record deaths was 54% White, 20% Hispanic, 19% Black, 6% Asian and 2% another race. Murphy has noted the rates in the black and Hispanic communities are running about 50% more than their population in the state. 

In regards to the underlying disease of those who have passed, 59% had cardiovascular disease, 43% diabetes, 32% other chronic diseases, 17% neurological conditions, 15% chronic renal disease, 10% cancer and 14% other. Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.

A census of ages for 9,941 confirmed deaths shows 47% of deaths are of those 80 year old and up, 33% in the range of 65-80, 16% between 50-65 and 4% under the age of 49. 

State officials are tracking cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children who in turn  test positive for COVID-19. No new cases were reported June 11, with the total cases remaining at 39 for children ranging in age from 1-18. All have tested positive for COVID-19 or have antibodies in their blood.  One is currently hospitalized. No deaths have been reported from the disease. 

Persichilli stated “Black and Hispanic children account for a disproportionately high number” on a national scale. While only a small sample, Persichilli reported the racial breakdown in New Jersey was 34% Black, 38% Hispanic, 22% White, 6% Asian and 3% other.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 551 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 and accounted for 34,866 of the cases, broken down between 23,253 residents and 11,613 staff. The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, which was 5,734 on June 10. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,242 residents deaths and 113 staff deaths. 

In a by-county breakdown:  

Bergen County

  • 63  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 3225 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1673 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 921  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 11  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Essex County

  • 46  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 2135 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1007 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 560  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 19  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Morris County

  • 42  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1400 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 678 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 459  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 3  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Passaic County

  • 25  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1246 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 734 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 365  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 14  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Hudson County 

  • 15  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 989 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 528 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 234  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 7  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Sussex County

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 247 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 136 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 107  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 4  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Warren County 

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 407 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 131 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 112  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 1  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

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