New Jersey Has Record New Deaths, Tapering of Cases for Second Day

Elise Young

(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey reported a second day of record new deaths from the new coronavirus and a tapering of infections.

Cases rose by 7% to 47,437, the fourth straight day of increases of 10% or less. In the last two weeks of March, New Jersey saw daily increases from 20% to 82%.

Governor Phil Murphy reported 275 new fatalities since yesterday, the biggest one-day increase since the crisis began.

“You have the beginnings of the flattening of a curve of new cases, yet sadly fatalities continuing to spike,” Murphy said Wednesday at a press briefing in Trenton. “It is still increasing. We’re not at any plateau. We need to continue to be absolutely vigilant and if anything, tighten.”

Murphy said he was signing executive orders for non-essential construction to end after 8 p.m. Friday. In retail stores, customers must be limited to 50% of fire marshal-approved capacity, and customers and employees must wear face coverings. Stores must have physical barriers between cashiers and customers.

“Tonight is the first night of Passover,” Murphy said. “I cannot say this strongly enough: We cannot gather together. There cannot be large community seders or gatherings, either indoors or outdoors.”

The same applies to Easter and Ramadan, he said.

The virus has been detected in 231 of 375 New Jersey nursing homes. Among the 275 new deaths, 48 were nursing-home residents, according to state health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

Nearly all of the 1,617 coronavirus patients in New Jersey critical-care units are on ventilators. In all, 7,026 New Jersey hospital patients have the virus, Persichilli said.

New Jersey has lost 1,504 residents to Covid-19. That’s more than double the number of state residents who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The state is postponing the New Jersey primary by five weeks, to July 7 from June 2. Murphy, who is chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said he doesn’t want Wisconsin-type crowds at the polls. The extra time also will help the state prepare should it eventually have to move to an all voting-by-mail election, he said.

“Democracy can’t be a casualty of Covid-19,” Murphy said.

Murphy today toured a 500-bed field hospital in Edison, the second of three to open. It will treat non-Covid patients recovering from surgery or needing care for acute illness, pain control or antibiotics, Persichilli said.

The first pop-up hospital, with capacity for 250 patients at the Meadowlands Convention Center in Secaucus, has about 20 patients, she said. A third 250-bed facility is to open in Atlantic City next week. The state also has the option of sending patients to the U.S.N.S. Comfort hospital ship in New York City.

(Updates with statistics starting in eighth paragraph)

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