Gov. Phil Murphy put the onus on Republicans in the U.S. Senate to help small businesses hurting because of the coronavirus pandemic in New Jersey.
“As long as Mitch McConnell is sitting on his hands and not getting behind a major stimulus…and if you shut without absolute evidence there is spread and transmission from non-essential workplace or indoor dining, you are basically putting a bullet in them,” said Murphy at a press briefing Nov. 20.
The governor believes the Trump administration wants a stimulus package passed and has talked with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and as well as members of the New Jersey congressional delegation, including Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, who are supportive of getting something done.
“It’s shameful that they have not acted in Congress,” said Murphy. “Especially McConnell and the Republican senate, not to throw a lifeline to small businesses.”
The first-term Democratic governor said with “no doubt” cases per day and hospitalizations will keep rising, he believed the combination of surgical actions such as those enacted the past two weeks and pleading for responsibility from Garden State residents will have an impact.
But any action they would take is hampered by the lack of Federal aid.
“Could you see a different scenario if there was that lifeline and you could afford—you had more latitude—to take a two week pause because they are getting cash on the barrel? That’s the trade,” said Murphy. “That trade should be available.”
“Unless we see explicit transmission coming out of there, that is blood on our hands in a different respect” if we were to shut businesses down, said the governor.
For now, he believes that recent actions and New Jerseyans taking personal responsibility will help bend the curve.
“Steps we take are not just symbolic,” said Murphy. “When we saw some restaurants migrating towards a sloppy environment after 10 p.m., we took action, we lowered the indoor limits, we cut interstate indoor sports, Winter sports season pushed back for high schools.”
The governor noted the numbers will get “uniquically worse” and without monies to help small businesses, that is a consideration for what actions they can take.
“We are in a vortex of cold weather, it is getting darker and you have one holiday after another. We would really like to see what is in place take hold,” said Murphy. “If (New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli) determines that these places are a transmission and we know we got a lifeline to keep them in business, that gives me and her more latitude to do something.”
As of Nov. 20, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 297,370 with 3,635 total new cases reported and 23 new deaths, bringing that total to 14,900. The state listed probable deaths at 1,812, bringing the overall total to 16,712.
For North Jersey counties, Passaic had a total of 386 new cases, Essex 343 new cases, Bergen 338 new cases, Hudson 253 new cases, Morris 127 new cases, Sussex 36 new cases and Warren 25 new cases.
State officials noted 27 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 1,965, followed by Bergen at 1,852, Hudson with 1,396, Passaic at 1,152, Morris at 707, Sussex at 162 and Warren with 160.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 246, Essex has 230, Hudson has 158, Morris at 147, Passaic at 144, Sussex has 36 and Warren has 13.
The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Nov. 16 was 8.0%. By region, the North has a rate of 8.2%, Central at 7.5% and the South at 8.8%. 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.
As for the rate of transmission, it decreased to 1.40 from 1.42 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 2,505 patients are hospitalized with 333 new hospilazations; 2,272 are confirmed cases and 233 under investigation. By region, there were 1,233 in the North, 700 in the Central and 572 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 452 are in intensive care units and 233 on ventilators, while 290 patients were discharged.
Essex Tops County Count
Essex has the most cumulative cases in the state with 31,902, followed by Bergen at 31,006, Hudson at 28,370, Middlesex at 27,418, Passaic at 26,415, Union at 25,437, Ocean at 19,648, Monmouth at 18,006, Camden at 16,103, Morris at 11,883, Mercer at 12,087, Burlington at 11,411, Somerset at 8,146, Gloucester at 7,718, Atlantic at 7,023, Cumberland at 4,636, Sussex at 2,245, Warren at 2,181, Hunterdon at 2,155, Cape May at 1,498 and Salem at 1,442.
Another 640 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 56 outbreaks involving 239 cases have been reported in 18 of the 21 counties in the Garden State, with five new outbreaks involving 47 cases recorded. For North Jersey, Bergen County has seven confirmed outbreaks with 19 cases, Sussex County has three confirmed outbreaks with seven cases, Warren County has three confirmed outbreaks with seven cases, Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with 10 cases and Passaic County has two confirmed outbreaks with 19 cases.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 285 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 5,242 of the cases, broken down between 2,615 residents and 2,627 staff.
Cumulatively, 921 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 26,369 residents and 15,128 staff, for a total of 41,497 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,274 on Nov. 20. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,901 residents deaths and 123 staff deaths.