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Gov. Phil Murphy: Federal Aid Still Needed Despite Budget Agreement

Gov. Phil Murphy used the occasion of New Jersey being approved for a new federal unemployment program to push yet again for federal aid.

The approval in question was for FEMA’s Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance Program. Murphy noted the state program has to develop entirely new programming to deliver the $300 a week funds to those unemployed in a lump sum, which he estimated would take place in October.

Murphy said while he was happy the application was approved despite the complications it is forcing upon the state’ Department of Labor, he expressed his frustration that Congress, particularly Republicans in the Senate, have not produced a bill to deliver more federal aid needed for all states in the U.S.

Congressional Plead

“Folks in Congress, please hear us….individuals are running out of gas, the economy is therefore running out of gas,” said Murphy at his press briefing Sept. 25. “This is not complicated.”

The first-term Democratic governor wants Congressional GOP leaders to think on a bigger scale to provide help.

“Now is the time to go big,” said Murphy. “This is the moment to pass a big federal stimulus bill,” citing the work of fellow Democrats Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to get a larger bill passed.

Helping Small Businesses

“This is the moment that our folks who are unemployed need us, when small businesses, restaurants and others need us,” said Murphy, getting more animated as he spoke. “This is the times when state, counties, municipalities need government support to keep the firefighters, the police, the EMS, the educators, the healthcare workers…employed delivering the services at this most important moment in our states and countries history.”

Murphy continued that it was not the time for Washington to shirk responsibility but “is the time to step up, step up big and deliver what every American state and every American needs.”

State Budget

When asked if there was still a need for the federal aid after state leaders agreed to a budget, Murphy said it was the ability to borrow that starved off cuts.

“We still need the federal aid as we are borrowing $4.5 billion, none of us happily,” stated Murphy. “Certainly if we got federal aid, certainly if we get revenues above our projections…our highest priorities would be looking at debt reduction. We desperately still need it.”

Daily Data

As of Sept. 25, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 202,100 with 612 new cases and seven new deaths, bringing that total to 14,306. The state probable death count is 1,791, bringing the overall total to 16,097.

State officials noted 10 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 1,899, followed by Bergen at 1,801, Hudson with 1,354, Passaic at 1,111, Morris at 686, Sussex at 161 and Warren with 158.

In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 243, Essex has 229, Hudson has 160, Morris at 145, Passaic at 143, Sussex has 37 and Warren has 13.

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Sept. 21 was 2.2%. By region, the north has a rate of 1.5%, central at 3.1% and the south at 2.4%. 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. 

As for the rate of transmission, it remained at 1.15 for the third consecutive day. 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 405 patients are hospitalized, with 233 confirmed and 172 awaiting confirmation. By region, there were 187 in the North, 196 in the Central and 112 in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 75 are in intensive care units and 32 on ventilators, while 44 patients were discharged.

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 22,331, followed by Essex at 20,954, Hudson at 20,596, Middlesex at 19,319, Passaic at 18,951, Union at 17,565, Ocean at 12,663, Monmouth at 11,726, Camden at 9,823, Mercer at 8,615, Morris at 7,821, Burlington at 7,064, Somerset at 5,777, Gloucester at 4,459, Atlantic at 4,033, Cumberland at 3,772, Sussex at 1,480, Warren at 1,435, Hunterdon at 1,307, Salem at 1,052 and Cape May at 1,017.

Another 340 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. 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 162 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 6,743 of the cases, broken down between 4,170 residents and 2,573 staff. 

Cumulatively, 716 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 25,104 residents and 13,580 staff, for a total of 38,684 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,156 on Sept. 25. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,775 residents deaths and 121 staff deaths. 

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