State Sen. Kristin Corrado said Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision to expand indoor capacity for some businesses was a step in the right direction, but argued he should not have the capacity to pick which businesses can enjoy this boon.
“I’m glad to hear Governor Murphy is following the lead of other states in raising indoor gathering limits, but it doesn’t make sense that some will be limited to 25 people while others will be at 50% of capacity,” said Corrado (R-40).
Corrado argued that if large, indoor gatherings are safe, it would stand to reason all businesses could operate under the same rules.
“Governor Murphy should raise the limits to the same levels for everyone across the board,” she said.
The GOP State Senator’s comments after Murphy recently announced New Jersey restaurants and bars, recreational and amusement businesses, gyms and fitness clubs and personal care businesses would be allowed to operate at 50% capacity, effective March 19 at 6 a.m.
Additionally, on the same day, indoor gatherings of 25 will be allowed and outdoor gatherings of 50 individuals will be allowed. Currently, those types of events are limited to 10 people and 25 people, respectively.
“While the numbers of new cases we report daily can fluctuate, and some days can be high, we believe that, when all factors are weighed, we can make this expansion without leading to undue further stress on our healthcare system,” said Murphy during a March 10 press briefing.
The state was following recently-announced guidelines in other states, including Connecticut, Maryland, and New York.
Corrado argued local groups and venues had spent a year contending with the coronavirus in their communities, giving them ample time to prepare for reopening safely. It is a theme State Senate and Assembly Republicans will explore when they hold a virtual hearing March 19 to examine the impact of Gov. Phil Murphy’s COVID-19 policies on businesses, jobs, and the New Jersey economy.
Fighting for Business Left Behind
“Everyone has taken precautions by now to operate safely at higher capacities,” she said.
The State Senator then shifted the attention from the coronavirus to a threat she considered larger: the governor.
“The greatest threat at this point isn’t the virus—it’s Governor Murphy driving more organizations and the vulnerable people they serve into the ground for no reason,” she argued.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 3,038,348 as of March 16. Of those who have received the vaccine, 2,023,384 residents have received their first dose—including approximately 30,000 of the one-jab Johnson & Johnson shot—with 1,024,767 their second; 51% have been administered the Moderna vaccine, 48% the Pfizer vaccine and 1% the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Demographically, 57% of those vaccinated are women and 43% men. As for ethnicity, 59% are White, 12% unknown, 12% other, 7% Asian, 6% Hispanic and 4% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 42% are 65 years old or olders, 27% are between the ages of 50-64, 23% are between the ages of 40-49, and 8% are between the ages of 18-29.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 348,402 doses, Essex 238,194 doses, Morris 221,193 doses, Hudson 148,775 doses, Passaic 136,807 doses, Sussex 48,494 doses, and Warren 31,279 doses.
As of March 16, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 747,561 with 3,141 total new PCR cases reported. There were 883 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 97,002. The total number of individual cases for the state is 844,563.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 41 new deaths, bringing that total to 21,492. The state listed probable deaths at 2,474, bringing the overall total to 23,966. State officials noted 26 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on March 16, Bergen had a total of 405 new confirmed cases and 123 probable cases, Essex 312 new cases and 68 probable cases, Hudson 217 new cases and 59 probable cases, Morris 181 new cases and 62 probable cases, Passaic 256 new cases and 37 probable cases, Sussex 33 new cases and 17 probable cases, and Warren 31 cases and three new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,452, followed by Bergen at 2,391, Hudson with 1,867, Passaic at 1,556, Morris at 918, Sussex at 212 and Warren County at 198.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,442, followed by Bergen at 2,377, Hudson with 1,860, Passaic at 1,561, Morris at 914, Sussex at 212 and Warren County at 199.
In regards to probable deaths reported March 10, Bergen has 284, Essex has 287, Morris has 232, Hudson has 193, Passaic has 183, Sussex has 65 and Warren has 25.
As for the rate of transmission, it increased to 1.03 from 1.02 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of March 13, was 10.8%; by region; the rate was 11.4% in the North, 11.4% in the Central region and 7.5% in the South.
Officials reported 1,900 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 983 in the North, 565 in the Central and 352 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 394 are in intensive care units and 240 on ventilators. A total of 162 patients were discharged.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospilizations, intensive care units, ventilators 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.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most confirmed cumulative cases on March 16 in the state with 74,238, followed by Middlesex at 71,925, Essex at 71,724, Hudson at 67,624, Monmouth at 56,098, Ocean at 55,708, Passaic at 55,053, Union at 51,757, Camden at 41,057, Morris at 35,086, Burlington at 32,457, Mercer at 27,419, Gloucester at 22,042, Atlantic at 20,888, Somerset at 20,114, Cumberland at 12,628, Sussex at 8,650, Warren at 6,893, Hunterdon at 6,854, Salem at 4,402, and Cape May at 3,896.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 9,741, followed by Union at 8,529, Ocean at 7,650, Essex at 6,952, Hudson at 6,440, Monmouth at 6,179, Morris at 6,113, Middlesex at 5,560, Atlantic at 5,464, Passaic at 5,339, Camden at 5,054, Burlington at 4,879, Somerset at 4,504, Cape May at 3,798, Gloucester at 3,276, Cumberland at 2,172, Mercer at 1,776, Sussex at 1,411, Warren at 765, Hunterdon at 669 and Salem 469.
Another 1,048 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 160 outbreaks involving 765 cases have been reported, with 13 new outbreaks accounting for 39 cases in the weekly update on March 10.
For North Jersey, Bergen County has 38 confirmed outbreaks with 157 cases, Passaic County has eight confirmed outbreaks with 34 cases, Sussex has eight confirmed outbreaks with 21 cases, Warren has eight confirmed outbreaks with 20 cases, Morris County has four confirmed outbreaks with 32 cases, Hudson County has four confirmed outbreaks with 16 cases, and Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 92 cases.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 247 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 9,955 of the cases, broken down between 4,821 residents and 5,134 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,287 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,422 residents and 21,264 staff, for a total of 53,686 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,958 on March 16. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,842 residents deaths and 143 staff deaths.