North Jersey News Roundup for Nov. 11, 2020

State officials reported a six-month high of 3,877 of positive coronavirus tests Nov. 10. While New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli had warned an inflated number would be coming the previous day due to a reporting issue, the seven-day rolling average for new cases has increased 55% over a week’s time and 233% in a month to 2,568. “I think our reality is that we will have between 2,000 and 3,000 cases a day going forward,” said Persichilli at a press briefing Nov. 9.

Coronavirus safety measures “is going to be our way of life for at least another year as we plan for a large-scale vaccination program” expected to start at the end of December, said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli during a virtual event hosted by Rider University. Persichilli noted an update from the federal government suggests New Jersey will receive 120,000 to 130,000 doses of COVID-19 “in our first tranche…followed quickly by another 130,000.” As additional vaccines are approved in 2021, Persichilli said the vaccination supply will meet the demand in New Jersey.

New Jersey clarified the capacity limits for personal care businesses in the newest round of restrictions. Hair and nail salons, barbershops, massage and tattoo parlors can’t exceed 25% capacity, which is the same limit put on other businesses. The rules for these businesses that have been in place since June include requiring appointments, screening customers and staff, social distancing and wearing masks at all times.

President-elect Joe Biden called President Donald Trump’s unwillingness to concede the presidential election an “embarrassment” but said it wouldn’t impede his White House transition, despite a standoff with the administration that is preventing the President-elect’s team from accessing key resources. The Trump administration hasn’t issued a routine technical designation that would allow Biden’s staff to view detailed classified information, send representatives to embed with government agencies and have the State Department facilitate calls with foreign leaders. The delay could hamper the President-elect’s selection of cabinet officials because the ability to conduct background investigations for security clearances is frozen. The Wall Street Journal

Gov. Phil Murphy and Sen. Cory Booker laid out the need for more coronavirus aid in New Jersey that is currently being held up in the U.S. Senate.  When asked by Murphy to handicap the likelihood of a significant stimulus bill in the lame duck, Booker replied “I think it’s sincerely going to be challenged because of one person and that is Mitch McConnell….I think the big obstacle has been Mitch McConnell, and he’s even signaling today that he does not want to do something big.”

Shereef Elnahal, CEO of University Hospital in Newark, and two Murphy administration officials are joining the Biden-Harris Transition as volunteer members of agency review teams. Elnahal will serve on the Department of Veterans Affairs team, while Vinn Whitewill review the Department of Transportation and Anna Martinez will serve on the Department of Health and Human Services team. New Jersey Globe

Two more states were added to New Jersey’s travel advisory for the coronavirus Nov. 10. Maine and New Hampshire were the latest states to be added to a list that now numbers 45 states and territories to abide by a 14-day quarantine when arriving in New Jersey. Hawaii and Vermont are the only two states not on the list based on the criteria. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C. were on the list, but have now been removed.

The Vatican released a 450-page report detailing decades of abuse and sexual misconduct from former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. As early as the mid-1980s when McCarrick was bishop of the Metuchen Archdiocese, a mother was concerned about his behavior wrote an anonymous letter to church officials. The report implicates Pope John Paul II was aware of allegations against the former Archbishop of Newark at least as early as 1999, but still appointed McCarrick to head the Washington Archdiocese in 2000. New Jersey Herald

Legislation to enact recreational marijuana passed key committees in both the Assembly and State Senate. The cannabis law and operations would be governed by a five-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission, which will adopt regulations to govern the industry. The commission will include three members appointed by the Governor and one each recommended by the Assembly Speaker and the Senate President.

A state-of-the-art, elite science-based high school operated by the Hudson County school system will be built at SciTech Scity in Jersey City. The Hudson County Board of Education and the Liberty Science Center reached an agreement to have Hudson County School of Technology oversee the operations of the new Liberty Science High School. Officials did not say when construction of the school will begin, but that ground would be broken on Phase 1 of the SciTech Scity project in 2021. Phase 1 includes the high school and the Edge Works incubator, which will provide nearly 100,000-sq. ft. of research labs, private studios, open workspaces and a conference center. The Jersey Journal

A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed by the presidents of Paterson’s two police unions accusing the city’s police chief of retaliating against them after they blocked him from changing some officers’ working hours. Among the allegations raised against Ibrahim “Mike” Baycora includes the chief launching an Internal Affairs investigation of PBA president Alex Cruz and Superior Officers Association President Mason Maher over their attendance during working hours at the annual New Jersey State PBA Day event in July, allegedly began an investigation into Cruz’ work hours during the spring of 2018 when Cruz unsuccessfully ran for mayor, and tried to stop Cruz and Maher from meeting with officers who worked within the chief’s office regarding union business. The Record

Hudson County and Jersey City will share nearly $20 million in federal funding to improve some of their most dangerous roadways. The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority awarded $10.9 million for the county and $8.35 million for Jersey City. The funding is for two programs, the Local Safety Program and the High Risk Rural Roads Program. The Jersey Journal

And finally…Bruce Springsteen and Jon Stewart will perform at a virtual Stand Up for Heroes benefit show for Veterans Nov. 11. The Daily Record

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