Gov. Phil Murphy’s “major” reopening announcement struck a minor chord among the state’s Republicans—and one the governor hinted he will address next week.
State Sen. Steven Oroho (R-24) said the April 26 major opening announcement promises by Murphy fell short when details emerged regarding reopening plans, especially considering the governor had built up the plan over the weekend.
Murphy made changes for outdoor gatherings, large venue outdoor capacity, maximum capacity for certain indoor activities, dance floors and indoor catered events, graduations and proms, carnivals and fairs, and Summer camps.
“Gov. Murphy doesn’t seem to understand that people are sick and tired of ‘reopening’ announcements that don’t include an actual reopening,” said Oroho. “There’s nothing ‘major’ about being meek, especially when other states across the nation have rescinded their limits in full and are getting back to living.”
Oroho had previously blasted Murphy, saying he was not listening to the concerns and recommendations of the state’s business community as it attempted to recover from the pandemic.
“If New Jersey is to minimize the amount of harm to our working families as we head towards reopening, the governor needs to start listening to the serious concerns raised by their employers,” he said.
The Warren County lawmaker cited a letter written by the New Jersey Business Coalition, which called for:
- a comprehensive reopening plan with specific benchmarks and dates to provide transparency and predictability;
- the revisiting of prior executive orders to rescind outdated requirements and make compliance easier for businesses; and
- a comprehensive plan to train displaced workers and upskill all workers to prepare for the jobs that will emerge in a post-pandemic economy.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve joined the business community in urging Gov. Murphy to be transparent about his decision-making process to make it possible for the small businesses, Main Street shops, and industries that employ millions of New Jerseyans to lead our economic recovery,” he said.
Bars and Restaurants Struggle
Oroho’s colleagues from the 10th Legislative District called out Gov. Murphy for not lifting limits for restaurants and bars. State Sen. Jim Holzapfel alongs with Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano noted the indoor capacity changes were not extended to foodservice outlets.
They argued the industry was among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and that aid and reopening measure should be targeted to these businesses.
“Our make-or-break summer season is fast approaching and the Governor continues to ignore the plight of restaurant and bar owners by not increasing the capacity limits,” stated State Sen. Holzapfel. “The industry has been forced to make drastic safety changes to comply with Murphy’s orders, but without the ability to serve more patrons, the future looks bleak for many establishments.”
The concerns of the hospitality industry and decisions by neighboring states looks to have pushed Gov. Murphy to adjust his timeline on indoor dining.
“You’re going to see us accelerating opening up of the state. There’s just no other way to put it,” said Murphy when questioned on New York state’s descion to end outdoor and indoor curfews for bars and restaurants by the end of May and allow New York City to allow seating at bars starting May 3.
“My guess is if I had to predict, we’ll have more news on that front on (May 3),” said Murphy. “(There) is a legitimate concern, a legitimate reality, that you’re doing something broadly similar on one side of the Hudson than you are on the other…you don’t have unintended consequences where people rushing (to other states)—we don’t want that and New York doesn’t want that, so stay tuned on that front.”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 6,905,204 as of April 29. Of those who have received the vaccine, 4,196,179 residents have received their first dose with 2,959,204 receiving their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose.
Demographically, 55% of those vaccinated are women and 45% men. As for ethnicity, 55% are White, 11% Hispanic, 10% Asian, 10% other, 8% unknown and 6% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 33% are 65 years old or olders, 29% are between the ages of 50-64, 27% are between the ages of 30-49, and 12% are between the ages of 16-29.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 769,229 doses (334,298 fully vaccinated), Essex 546,140 doses (225,233), Morris 472,626 doses (206,674), Hudson 447,897 doses (178,938), Passaic 328,423 doses (137,058), Sussex 107,056 doses (45,617), and Warren 67,806 doses (28,776).
As of April 28, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 871,333 with 2,092 total new PCR cases reported. There were 370 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 124,032. The total number of individual cases for the state is 995,365. Gov. Murphy previously 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 20 new deaths, bringing that total to 22,904. The state listed probable deaths at 2,625, bringing the overall total to 25,529. State officials noted 16 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on April 29, Bergen had a total of 209 new confirmed cases and 44 probable cases, Essex 255 new cases and 22 probable cases, Hudson 193 new cases and 34 probable cases, Morris 90 new cases and 15 probable cases, Passaic 146 new cases and 25 probable cases, Sussex 42 new cases and 10 probable cases, and Warren 18 cases and three new probable cases.
There are a total of 2,959 coronavirus variants being reported in the Garden State. State officials documented 2,721 cases of the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), 141 cases of the California variants (B.1.429 and B.1.427), 91 cases of the Brazilian (P.1) variant, and six cases of the South African (B.1351) variant.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,601, followed by Bergen at 2,526, Hudson with 2,005, Passaic at 1,666, Morris at 960, Sussex at 228 and Warren County at 208.
In regards to probable deaths reported April 28, Essex has 295, Bergen has 295, Morris has 251, Hudson has 212, Passaic has 195, Sussex has 67 and Warren has 25.
As for the rate of transmission, it declined to 0.72 from 0.80 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of April 24, was 9.0%; by region, the rate was 9.4% in the North, 8.1% in the Central region and 9.2% in the South.
Officials reported 1,691 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 842, in the North, 455 in the Central and 394 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 384 are in intensive care units and 224 on ventilators. A total of 246 patients were discharged, while 166 were admitted.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospitalizations, 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 in the state with 87,912, followed by Essex at 83,645, Middlesex at 83,484, Hudson at 77,599, Monmouth at 66,268, Ocean at 64,563, Passaic at 64,250, Union at 59,358, Camden at 47,425, Morris at 41,390, Burlington at 37,383, Mercer at 30,917, Gloucester at 25,716, Atlantic at 24,353, Somerset at 23,748, Cumberland at 14,177, Sussex at 11,330, Hunterdon at 8,627, Warren at 8,655, Salem at 5,334, and Cape May at 4,452.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 12,914, followed by Union at 10,734, Ocean at 9,906, Essex at 9,177, Hudson at 8,960, Morris at 7,967, Monmouth at 7,892, Middlesex at 7,221, Passaic at 7,087, Atlantic at 6,510, Burlington at 6,311, Camden at 6,298, Somerset at 5,609, Cape May at 4,459, Gloucester at 3,834, Mercer at 2,297, Cumberland at 2,211, Sussex at 2,177, Warren at 983, Hunterdon at 863 and Salem 520.
Another 747 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 263 outbreaks involving 1,157 cases have been reported, with 18 new outbreaks accounting for 63 cases in the weekly update on April 27.
For North Jersey, Bergen County has 52 confirmed outbreaks with 198 cases, Passaic County has 16 confirmed outbreaks with 52 cases, Sussex has 14 confirmed outbreaks with 55 cases, Warren has 14 confirmed outbreaks with 34 cases, Morris County has five confirmed outbreaks with 34 cases, Hudson County has five confirmed outbreaks with 23 cases, and Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 92 cases.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 218 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 5,764 of the cases, broken down between 2,469 residents and 3,295 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,418 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,808 residents and 22,053 staff, for a total of 54,861 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,027 on April 29. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,872 residents deaths and 143 staff deaths.