NJ COVID-19 Death Toll Nears 200, Some People Permitted To Get Back To Work

WCBS 880 Newsroom
March 30, 2020 - 3:21 pm

TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy stressed on Monday the need for residents to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic as the number of cases and fatalities continues to grow.

New Jersey is reporting the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the country with 16,636 total cases. The state has already seen almost 200 deaths from the virus.

“I shudder to think what these numbers would be if we hadn’t taken the strong stance that we have,” the governor said.

During a press conference on Monday, New Jersey officials also confirmed 288 members of the law enforcement have tested positive with an additional 2,477 in self-quarantine. Just over 610 officers are also out for other reasons.

Murphy expects the crisis to continue to worsen in coming weeks and noted there was also growing concern at the Lakeland Health Center.

They’re sending additional supplies and staffing to the facility, but Murphy put out the call for retired health professionals to lend a hand.

“We’ll put the call out to retired healthcare workers, among many others, to return to service to help us and I thank the many volunteers who have already stepped forward,” the governor said.

Murphy noted that over 3,000 individuals have already joined the “army” of healthcare professionals.

According to Wanaque Mayor Michael Mahler, eight residentsat the Lakeside nursing home have died from COVID-19. The mayor said in a letter on the town's website that the borough nurse notified him the deaths.

The governor stressed once again that ventilators are the biggest need in the state, but said he was grateful for the 300 that were being sent to the state by the federal government this week.

“We are grateful, and I thank the administration,” Murphy said. “But, to be clear, this is far, far from what we ultimately will need.”

New Jersey continues to ramp up testing efforts with two drive-through testing sites open to the public at Bergen County Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center. A third testing site, in Union County, is open to front-line healthcare workers, members of law enforcement, fire personnel and EMTs.

Murphy said he does not know when the near-lockdown restrictions will be eased, but did note some individuals could start to slowly go back to work.

New Jersey is allowing author dealerships to conduct online or remote sales and dealers may deliver vehicles directly to their customers or arrange for curbside or service-lane pickups.

Realtors in the state may also continue to show homes on a one-on-one basis.

New Jersey is also permitting firearm retailers to operate by appointment only and brew pubs will now be able to deliver.