Murphy Says NJ Needs Billions More, Will Cut Back Hours At Testing Sites

Elise Czajkowski
March 26, 2020 - 2:26 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday afternoon that New Jersey will need billions more than what the $2 trillion stimulus package has allotted for the state.

In a press conference, Murphy called the bill a step in the right direction, but added, "We will undoubtedly need more assistance." 

Currently, there are 6,876 total cases of COVID-19 in the state. There were 19 new deaths overnight, with a total of 81 deaths. 

The governor said that he won't revisit the idea of reopening schools until at least Apr. 17. 

Murphy announced a change to the two coronavirus testing centers at Bergen Community College and the PNC Bank Arts Center.

On Saturday, both sites will only be testing symptomatic healthcare workers and first responders, including police, fire fighters, and EMT workers. 

Starting on Apr 4, the PNC Bank Arts Center will only accept healthcare workers and first responders on Saturdays.

And starting Sunday, the schedule for the sites will change. Each day, only 500 samples will be collected, and the two centers are likely to alternate open days. The schedule will be available at covid19.nj.gov.

Murphy also said that the state's request for a major disaster declaration has been approved by FEMA, which will allow for greater federal support as the crisis goes forward.

The governor said that 155,000 workers filed for unemployment in New Jersey in the last week, 16 times the number from the week before. 

Murphy also announced Thursday that President Donald Trump has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey that will provide federal assistance to supplement statewide recovery efforts affected by the COVID-19 pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020.

“With our major disaster declaration approved, New Jersey will now have access to greater essential federal support to help our residents through this emergency,” said Murphy. “This declaration will allow us to lift remaining bureaucratic barriers to assistance and enhance our statewide response to COVID-19. I am grateful to the Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their collaboration and coordination in supporting our response and recovery efforts to COVID-19 in New Jersey.”