Gov. Phil Murphy Encouraged by Increased Compliance of Masks at Bars

Gov. Phil Murphy’s use of the bully pulpit—and local law enforcement—appeared to have worked when it comes to the uses of masks around the Jersey Shore.

“I want to acknowledge the enhanced compliance we saw this weekend at numerous Jersey Shore outdoor bars and clubs to ensure proper social distancing, not just among patrons, but those waiting to get in,” said Murphy at a press briefing on Aug. 17.

Murphy remarked that the difference between the images of lines outside of DJai’s in Belmar, Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant and Bar A in Lake Como a week earlier was “noticeable,” crediting  management and patrons for adhering to social distancing and mask wearing protocols in attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Knucklehead Moves

The first-term governor had characterized on Aug. 10 patrons standing around maskless in a crowd outside a bar is “just as big a knucklehead move as standing around maskless inside once would’ve even gotten in, this virus could’ve already easily spread just through the line.”

At that time, Murphy warned patrons and the bars they would give everyone a chance to do the right thing, but “if we have to shut places down to protect public health, then we will. Consider this your warning.”

While Murphy applauded the improvement, he stressed more compliance was still needed. 

Better Adherence

“We know this problem isn’t fixed and even when we’re wearing masks, social distancing, which is still the order of the day, wasn’t universal,” said the governor. “Obviously more bars are trying to do the right thing but equally as obviously, we all need to redouble our efforts.”

Specifically, the first-terms Democratic governor noted non-compliance at Headliners in Neptune City and Flip Flopz in North Wildwood, which was shutdown by local officials citing the bar management for noncompliance.

With the summer coming to an end, Murphy said it is up to everyone to make them as safe for everyone as possible. 

Finish Summer Strong

“These efforts have to be maintained for the weeks to come, and they shouldn’t have to come about because we call people out for failing to do the right things,” he said. “It’s the knuckleheads who think the rules don’t apply to them, or who think this pandemic isn’t serious, or that it’s over who ruin it for the rest of us, and that goes for both bar owners and bar patrons.”

“We will continue to monitor this closely in partnership with local law enforcement and we will not hesitate to take action against those who think that they can revert back to bad practices after a week or two.”

Daily Data

As of Aug. 18, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 188,098 with 400 new cases and 10 new deaths, bringing that total to 14,086. The state probable death count remained at 1,839, bringing the overall total to 15,925.

State officials noted 11 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,877, followed by Bergen at 1,788, Hudson with 1,342, Passaic at 1,098, Morris at 683, Sussex at 161 and Warren with 158.

In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 248, Essex has 234, Hudson has 167, Passaic and Morris at 147, Sussex has 37 and Warren has 14.

State Testing 

As for the rate of transmission, it increased to 1.05 from 1.03  the day before. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.

Officials reported 468 patients are hospitalized, the northern tier had 205 patients hospitalized, the central 112 and the south 151.

Of those hospitalized, 106 are in intensive care units and 41 on ventilators, while 22 patients were discharged. 

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 21,303, followed by Essex at 20,001, Hudson at 19,936, Middlesex at 18,133, Passaic at 18,002, Union at 16,898, Ocean at 10,805, Monmouth at 10,509, Camden at 8,845, Mercer at 8,211, Morris at 7,358, Burlington at 6,175, Somerset at 5,323, Atlantic at 3,618, Cumberland at 3,441, Gloucester at 3,458, Warren at 1,370, Sussex at 1,355, Hunterdon at 1,165, Salem at 937 and Cape May at 853.

Another 402 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, 18% 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, 56% had cardiovascular disease, 45% diabetes, 31% other chronic diseases, 18% neurological conditions, 17% lung diseases, 15% chronic renal disease, 10% cancer and 14% other. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.

A census of ages for confirmed deaths shows 48% of deaths are of those 80 year old and up, 31% in the range of 65-80, 16% between 50-65 and 5% under the age of 49. 

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted currently 206 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 14,084 of the cases, broken down between 8,919 residents and 5,165 staff. 

Cumulatively, 629 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 24,660 residents and 13,098 staff, for a total of 37,758 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,024 on Aug. 18. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,694 residents deaths and 120 staff deaths. 

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