North Jersey News Roundup for Oct. 13, 2020

Sen. Cory Booker closed his remarks during the nomination hearing of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S Supreme Court by declaring he will not vote for the nominee. Booker framed the nomination not on the qualifications of Judge Barrett, but in the promise by President Donald Trump to nominate someone who would end the Affordable Care Act and reverse Roe v. Wade and a rush to get a justice installed before the Presidential election is held Nov. 3.

New Jersey’s new online portal is seeing the number of residents eligible to cast ballots on Election Day expand at record pace ahead of the Oct. 13 deadline. More than 120,000 voters were added to the New Jersey voter registry in September, a more than 150% increase over September 2016. The one-month gain was one of the largest the state has ever seen and brought New Jersey’s voting pool past 6.3 million people. The Record

The latest statewide poll continues to show Joe Biden with a clear path to win the Presidential vote in New Jersey by a decisive margin, motivated in large part by animus towards President Donald Trump. The survey by the Fairleigh Dickinson Poll of New Jersey shows the Democratic presidential nominee is preferred over the President by double digits, up 15 percentage points (53% to 38%) with likely voters, with similar numbers among registered voters (52% to 35%).

Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order allowing organized sports considered “medium risk” and “high risk” to resume contact practices and games indoors, with restrictions, in youth, high school, college, and adult-league settings. High school and college sports must follow rules set by the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association, respectively. The Daily Record

Elysian Charter School in Hoboken switched to entirely remote learning due to a COVID-19 incident. A student testing positive for the coronavirus led to the school’s decision to close. The Jersey Journal 

The Ramsey School District is reporting four new cases of COVID-19, three at Hubbard Elementary School and one at Eric Smith Middle School. The schools are remaining open and officials did not disclose if the positive cases were students or staff. News12 New Jersey

The owner of Cuban Pete’s in Montclair is now complying with mandated health protocol for indoor dining. The proprietor, who had vowed to defy the 25% capacity limitations, began to comply immediately after Health Department officials recently said it would shut down the restaurant, which had been cited three times previously for violating executive orders regarding indoor dining. The Record

About 125 COVID-19 cases at Monmouth University were traced to an off-campus “super-spreader event” that shut down in-person classes and canceled athletics, according to campus officials. Monmouth had reported a total of 39 confirmed cases as of Sept. 25. Since then, the number has ballooned to 291 cases, with about 125 of the cases traced to a gathering about two weeks ago at a private residence.

Johnson & Johnson paused clinical trials of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine because a study volunteer had an unexplained illness. The pause affects all trials of J&J’s vaccine, including a large Phase 3 trial that began in September and aimed to enroll as many as 60,000 people in the U.S. and several other countries. The Wall Street Journal

Seeking to protect residents’ access to reproductive health care, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the introduction of the Reproductive Freedom Act. This legislation is designed to remove barriers to reproductive health care services, including access to birth control, and pregnancy-related care, including abortion.

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission closed another location for nearly two weeks after a worker there tested positive for COVID-19. With the announcement of the positive test at Eatontown, it became the fourth to close for at least parts of this week. The Paterson and Newark offices are expected to reopen Oct. 16 after employees at those locations tested positive for the coronavirus, while North Bergen is scheduled to reopen on Oct. 20.

A bipartisan bill authorizing New Jersey manufacturers to convert their productions to make personal protective equipment (PPE) is making its way through the legislature supporters say will better equip New Jersey for any future public health crises. The bill introduced in both the state Senate and Assembly would create a state-level certification program to allow manufacturers in the state to produce PPE. The measure would help to strengthen the state’s stockpiles, which faced severe shortages of gloves, masks, gowns, and other PPE at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speed limit reductions “would not be effective in increasing safety” in the area of the S-curve on Interstate 80 “and is not warranted,” according to the New Jersey Department of Transportation. According to the letter, 85% of the traffic through the S-curves travels “at the speed limit or below,” meeting federal standards. In an attempt to make the area safer, NJDOT has started a paving project involving a friction surface treatment to increase friction and skid resistance from the Delaware River bridge to Exit 4. New Jersey Herald

And finally…U.S. Senators will ask questions of Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the confirmation hearing to become a Supreme Court Justice continues. The New York Times

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