Small businesses and unemployed workers in New Jersey now have access to another round of funding aimed at providing economic relief during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The aid, which is part of a $900 billion federal stimulus package and a $1.4 trillion deal, includes a one-time $600 payment to individuals, 11 additional weeks of unemployment benefits and more help for small businesses.
For months, Democrats and Republicans battled over an emergency package and came to a compromise in late December on a deal that will provide critical aid to millions of Americans and pad federal agency budgets through next fall.
Aid Aims To ‘Get Us Through’ Winter
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), lead negotiator for congressional Democrats, said it represented “a first step” and more would support would be coming from President Joe Biden.
U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, one of the members of a bipartisan group of legislators that worked on compromise proposal, said he hopes it will help “get us through these winter months.”
In a Jan. 19 Facebook Live stream announcing what aid is available to New Jerseyans, Gottheimer said, “The package will specifically help by revitalizing our economy and saving our struggling small businesses, helping put food on the table and ensuring food security, improving our health infrastructure and distributing vaccines to our communities, putting money in the pockets of American adults and children, helping keep families in their homes.”
Small Business Aid
A total of $325 billion has been allocated to help small businesses struggling to make ends meet. That includes $284 billion to revive the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and expand the types of businesses that qualify for forgivable loans and grants.
The loans, which help businesses keep their workforce employed during the pandemic, are being offered to first-time program participants as well as certain businesses who have previously received a PPP loan.
During the first round of the PPP, small businesses in the Garden State were approved for more than $9.5 billion in loans, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
According to Gottheimer, the PPP loan approval process opened on Jan. 19. Additional information on the program can be found here.
Supplemental Unemployment Benefits
Pandemic unemployment insurance programs that lapsed at the end of 2020 have been extended 11 weeks into mid-March and those receiving unemployment benefits can now receive an extra $300 a week.
Contract, gig workers and those who’ve exhausted their state benefits will also continue to be eligible for unemployment insurance.
Gottheimer said New Jersey is expected to roll out additional unemployment benefits in mid-January and the supplemental benefits will cover the time period starting Dec. 27, 2020.
Click here for more information. here.
One-Time Stimulus Payments
Individuals making up to $75,000 a year will receive a payment of $600, while couples making up to $150,000 will receive $1,200, in addition to $600 per child.
Individuals can check the status of their payments here.
More than $60 billion was set aside for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, deployment, testing and contact tracing.
The funding will help state and local health departments deploy additional vaccines through technology upgrades, staffing support and supplies needed to increase the number of vaccines administered.
On Jan. 22, Gov. Phil Murphy reported that New Jersey has given more than half-million doses of the vaccine. The state aims to have 5 million residents vaccinated by May.
In New Jersey, residents can pre-register for the vaccine online.
States and localities are receiving $25 billion to help cover tenants’ rent and utilities, including back payments and a moratorium on evictions was extended through the end of January.
For more information on the rental assistance program, click here.
Also included $13 billion to increase the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food banks, child nutrition benefits and senior programs, like Meals on Wheels. Farmers and ranchers will also see another $13 billion to help cover pandemic-related losses.
More details about federal nutrition assistance programs during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found here.
Childcare & Education
Nationwide, $10 billion is being provided for childcare providers to help reduce family co-pays and tuition, and to cover COVID-19-related expenses.
Altogether, $54.3 billion is being provided for public K-12 schools, as well as $22.7 billion for colleges and universities. Another $4.05 billion will be allocated to governors to use in schools located in areas hit hard by the pandemic.
The package also includes is $14 billion for mass transit systems, such as NJ Transit, $10 billion for state Departments of Transportation, $15 billion for airlines, $2 billion for airports and $1 billion for Amtrak.
The cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 595,002 as 10,728 total new PCR cases were reported combined Jan. 23 and 24. There were 2,142 probable cases reported over that time period, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 67,806. The total number of individual cases for the state is 662,808. Gov. Murphy noted there is some unknown overlap due to health officials urging those taking a rapid test to get a PCR test.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 80 new deaths reported over the weekend, bringing that total to 18,830. The state listed probable deaths at 2,121, bringing the overall total to 20,951. State officials noted 123 deaths occurred in the last 48 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Jan. 24, Bergen had a total of 431 new confirmed cases and 84 probable cases, Essex 490 new cases and 54 probable cases, Hudson 455 new cases and 51 probable cases, Morris 185 new cases and and 42 probable cases, Passaic 207 new cases and 36 probable cases, Sussex 77 new cases and 15 probable cases, and Warren 45 cases and five probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,246, followed by Bergen at 2,166, Hudson with 1,658, Passaic at 1,403, Morris at 833, Sussex at 197 and Warren County at 179.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 268, Essex has 260, Morris at 202, Hudson has 172, Passaic at 160, Sussex has 53 and Warren has 15.
The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Jan. 16, was 12.6%; by region, the rate was 12.9% in the North, 12.1% in the Central region and 12.7% in the South. 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 0.97 from 1.01 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 3,186 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 1,345 in the North, 1,067 in the Central and 774 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 590 are in intensive care units and 376 on ventilators. A total of 808 patients were discharged over the weekend.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most confirmed cumulative cases in the state with 57,536, followed by Essex at 57,158, Middlesex at 56,727, Hudson at 54,265, Passaic at 45,687, Union at 43,164, Ocean at 42,296, Monmouth at 42,258, Camden at 35,094, Burlington at 26,826, Morris at 26,004, Mercer at 22,778, Gloucester at 18,225, Atlantic at 16,311, Somerset at 15,633, Cumberland at 10,251, Sussex at 6,510, Warren at 5,178, Hunterdon at 5,076, Salem at 3,730, and Cape May at 3,064.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 6,508, followed by Union at 6,240, Ocean at 4,936, Essex at 4,761, Hudson at 4,375, Morris at 4,098, Atlantic at 4,090, Monmouth at 3,996, Middlesex at 3,908, Passaic at 3,813, Camden at 3,619, Somerset at 3,392, Burlington at 3,224, Cape May at 2,830, Gloucester at 2,524, Cumberland at 1,920, Mercer at 1,194, Sussex at 864, Warren at 517, Hunterdon at 517, and Salem 386.
Another 1,231 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 121 outbreaks involving 597 cases, with 10 new outbreaks accounting for 23 cases reported in the weekly update, have been reported in all 21 counties in the Garden State.
For North Jersey, Bergen County has 26 confirmed outbreaks with 115 cases, Passaic County has five confirmed outbreaks with 25 cases, Sussex has five confirmed outbreaks with 13 cases, Warren has five confirmed outbreaks with 11 cases, Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with 10 cases, Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 91 cases and Morris County has one confirmed outbreaks with five cases.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 427 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 14,669 of the cases, broken down between 6,994 residents and 7,675 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,204 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 31,670 residents and 20,904 staff, for a total of 52,574 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,698 on Jan. 21. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,627 residents deaths and 140 staff deaths.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 551,209 as of Jan. 24. Of those who have received the vaccine, 481,278 residents have received their first dose with 69,201 their second; 55% have been administered the Moderna vaccine and 45% the Pfizer.
Demographically, 61% of those vaccinated are women and 39% men. As for ethnicity, 48% are White, 20% unknown, 18% other, 6% Asian, 5% Hispanic and 3% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 29% are 65 years old or olders, 30% are between the ages of 50-64, 30% are between the ages of 40-49, and 10% are between the ages of 18-29.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 61,261 doses, Essex 44,218 doses, Hudson 25,564 doses, Morris 38,489 doses, Passaic 25,929 doses, Sussex 8,331 doses, and Warren 5,474 doses.