North Jersey News Roundup for Dec. 3, 2020

Rep. Josh Gottheimer is at the forefront of an attempt to forge a coronavirus stimulus deal in Washington. The Problem Solvers Caucus, which Gottheimer co-chairs, and a bipartisan group of Senators, led by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), announced a four-month bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 $908 billion emergency relief framework to help American students, families, small businesses, workers, and healthcare providers during this crisis. 

President-elect Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Chuck Schumer (D-NY) endorsed the bipartisan $908 billion stimulus plans. The President-elect said the bipartisan package “wouldn’t be the answer, but it would be immediate help for a lot of things, quickly,” while the two Democratic Congressional leaders said the compromise is a baseline for talks with Republicans. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is offering a significantly smaller framework with the promise of approval from President Donald Trump. The New York Times

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shortened quarantine periods for those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Those without symptoms may end quarantine after seven days if they are tested for the virus and receive a negative result, or after 10 days without a negative test. P.C.R. or rapid tests are both acceptable, taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period. The Wall Street Journal

By February, 450,000 Americans might be dead from COVID-19, according to Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions. On Dec. 2, the U.S. recorded its greatest daily death toll ever at 2,760 for a total of about 273,000, and the number of people in the hospital for the coronavirus was more than 100,000, nearly double the high point in Spring. The New York Times

Gov. Phil Murphy weighed into the controversy surrounding Portobello’s restaurant in Oakland, commenting his “jaw drops as obviously everybody is not doing the right thing” after looking at the viral photo of a crowded outdoor bar not adhering to coronavirus pandemic protocols Nov. 25. “I am trying real hard but I can’t find a face mask in that crowd and there is certainly not any effort to be socially distant,” said Murphy at a press briefing Dec. 2. “The entire concept of personal responsibility is completely absent.”

A New Jersey State Police recruit from Boonton died after he lost consciousness during an exercise on Nov. 25. Lucas C. Homeijer was engaged in an active countermeasures/boxing bout with a fellow classmate at the State Police academy in Sea Girt when he lost consciousness and was immediately taken to a local hospital. The Daily Record

Up to 40 employees at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the hospital to transfer some patients and divert ambulances to other emergency rooms. Most of the employees are nurses from two units, including the progressive care unit, where patients require significant attention. The outbreak at the 202-bed facility led to the transfer of patients to Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood and Hackensack University Medical Center. The Record

Six New Jersey hospitals have been selected to receive the first super-cold cases of frozen vaccine as part of a dry run by Operation Warp Speed. Hackensack University Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City and Cooper University Hospital in Camden will receive the vaccine authorized for use by the federal government as all have Arctic-level sub-zero freezers needed to receive the shipments.  The Daily Record

North Jersey GOP Lawmaker expressed displeasure with Gov. Phil Murphy after his latest round of restrictions aimed at combating a steadily rising rate of COVID-19 infections in New Jersey. Assemblyman Brian Bergen (R-25) accused the governor of “ruling by executive order, vetoing legislation that would help people and making unilateral decisions without providing the data or science he references” and District 24 GOP Assemblyman Parker Space, Assemblyman Hal Wirths and State Sen. Steve Oroho blasted Democrats “for blocking attempts to end government by executive orders and restore legislative checks and balances.” 

NJ Transit board members demanded more oversight over data provided by the bus companies they hire after the state sued Academy Bus Co. for alleging defrauding the agency out of more than $15 million by underreporting the number of trips it missed and charging for others that never ran. Academy was previously fined $5.9 million by NJ Transit for missed trips from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2020. The request comes after Gov. Phil Murphy recently vetoed a $31 million contract awarded to Academy to operate bus service in Middlesex County.

Five members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus want Attorney General William Barr to investigate Rep. Bill Pascrell. The GOP lawmakers suggested Pascrell may have violated the civil rights of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and 22 other lawyers when he sought their disbarment for their claims of voter fraud in the presidential election.

The annual “SantaCon” event was officially canceled in Hoboken due to safety precautions and regulations related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. City officials said the cancellation of the bar-crawl event will help protect Hoboken residents from a potential super-spreader type event.

A judge ordered a recount in Rochelle Park, where just four votes separate the apparent winner, Democrat Michael Warren, from Republican Perrin Mosca. A hand count of all ballots will take place Dec. 8 and election officials were ordered to allow both candidates to examine and copy all aspects of the balloting, something that sets up a possible legal challenge to the outcome of the race either way. New Jersey Globe

And finally…A list of drive-thru holiday light shows to visit in North Jersey this year. New Jersey Herald

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