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April 13, 2020

Continued decrease in rate of COVID-19 cases doubling across New Jersey ‘a cause of hope,’ Gov. Murphy says

The rate at which coronavirus cases double across New Jersey continues to decrease, and Gov. Phil Murphy said that is "a cause of hope" amid the pandemic and the state's fight against COVID-19.

Only one of the state’s 21 counties is seeing COVID-19 infections double every five days or less, compared to 12 counties that were seeing cases double at that rate as recently as this past Thursday. Not a single county is seeing coronavirus cases double every three days or less, and only seven counties are seeing cases double every seven days or less. 

The vast majority of New Jersey counties are now seeing COVID-19 cases double at no more frequently than every week, and Murphy said that it is “good news” for the state in its fight against coronavirus. But he said that the goal is for every county to lower its infection rate doubling to as infrequently as possible.

“We have to continue practicing our social distancing,” Murphy said. “We’re already weeks into this. It certainly isn’t any more fun, and we have many [more weeks] ahead of us. We simply cannot get complacent. We can’t let our vigilance slip.”

Murphy also said that the state’s week-over-week infection rate has decreased once again, going from 12% on April 6 to 4% day-over-day on Monday, which is the lowest yet since the pandemic began. 

Despite the curve of positive cases “undeniably now flattening” in New Jersey’s fight against the virus, Murphy said that the state cannot begin easing up on the social distancing guidelines he put in place on March 21 when he issued a stay-at-home order, forced non-essential businesses to close, and banned public and private gatherings of all sizes.

“There is no question we don’t get to that point of economic recovery and societal recovery unless it is on the back of a healthcare recovery,” Murphy said. “Our job right now is to put the fire out in the house, and we are still not there yet.” 

“We have got to hit that plateau and then aggressively bring it down back on the other side,” Murphy continued. “We only do that if you all stay home.”

Cases aren't projected to peak in the state for at least another week–and could be as far off as May 11 if residents ease up on the social distancing guidelines that are working to mitigate the spread of the virus, Murphy said last week. Total cases in New Jersey could range from 86,000 to 509,000 by the end of the pandemic. Murphy previously described this vast difference as a "life or death" situation. 

“We are right in the thick of it folks,” Murphy said. “We cannot take our foot off the gas.”

“The flattening of that curve of positive cases tells us that we’re making progress. We have to stay at it.”

“Let’s stick together and let’s keep working together. [Social distancing] is clearly working.” 

New Jersey reported 3,219 more cases of coronavirus on Monday to bring the state's total number of cases up to 64,584, which is the second-most of any state across the country. There have been 2,443 deaths due to COVID-19 across New Jersey.

New Jersey receives 200 ventilators from national stockpile

New Jersey received an additional 200 ventilators from the national stockpile over this past weekend to further help the state in its fight against the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy said during his daily briefing on Monday.

“I thank President Trump, Vice President Pence, and the entire team at the White House for continuing to be receptive to our needs,” Murphy said.

The state has now received 1,550 ventilators from the federal government since the COVID-19 outbreak, and was originally seeking a total of 1,650 ventilators from the national stockpile. New Jersey is now in need of about 950 more ventilators to help treat residents who are suffering from the virus, Murphy said in continuing to push for more.

New Jersey has now received four shipments of ventilators from the federal government during the coronavirus pandemic. After a retrieval of 200 ventilators in early March, the state then received 300 ventilators on March 30, 350 ventilators on April 1, and 500 ventilators on April 5. Last Tuesday, California sent 100 ventilators to New Jersey as well.

Murphy also announced that Taiwan sent 100,000 medical masks to New Jersey over this past weekend and will be sending another 200,000 masks soon. Along with ventilators, the state has been aggressive in acquiring all forms of personal protective equipment to aid healthcare workers and first responders who are on the frontlines of combatting the virus.

Murphy announced on April 4 that the state would be receiving more than 75,000 pieces of PPE from a hoarded stockpile that federal authorities seized in Brooklyn, New York. The PPE shipment to the state included more than 70,000 N95 masks and 5,000 gloves.

The state previously received a shipment of PPE from the federal government that included 120,000 N95 masks, 287,000 surgical masks, 62,000 face shields, 51,000 surgical gloves, 3,500 coveralls, 368,000 pairs of gloves and 1,000 medical beds.

On March 31, New Jersey received an additional 260,000 pieces of PPE from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The state said on April 1 that it was then able to obtain nearly 10 million more pieces of PPE on its own.

Murphy signed an executive order on March 28 directing health care facilities to report information such as bed, PPE and ventilator inventory on a daily basis. The order, which went into effect last Sunday morning, is directed toward licensed acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospital systems and temporary medical facilities.

Murphy previously had signed an executive order mandating all businesses and non-hospital health care facilities to submit its inventory of personal protective equipment, ventilators, respirators and anesthesia machines to the state.

Murphy then signed an executive order on April 2 authorizing the New Jersey State Police to take control of extra medical supplies and equipment held by companies and health care facilities that are not currently in operation.

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