New Jersey had a 28% increase in reported positive tests for coronavirus since yesterday, going from 6,876 to 8,825, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today.
That is a 100% increase since Wednesday.
Murphy announced that there has been 27 new deaths since yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 108. The total number of deaths since Wednesday was 62.
“This isn’t easy on any of us. These aren’t abstract numbers,” Murphy said. “These are our family, our friends, our neighbors. All of us, we’re in this together, and we mourn together.”
Murphy cautioned New Jerseyans to only seek testing if they are showing symptoms.
“Our best metric for ensuring that our testing resources are being properly disbursed – and that our greater medical resources are being put to their best and highest use – comes from testing the right people, those who are symptomatic,” he explained.
Commissioner of Health Judy Persichilli said that 24,843 individuals have been tested for COVID-19 so far, with 7,296 (33.4%) testing positive.
According to Persichilli said that 1,080 hospital patients have tested positive, and an addition 1,872 are still awaiting testing.
“By mid-April, we will be seeing an increasing demand in critical care beds,” she stated.
Murphy said that the state is relying on expanding testing to end the coronavirus pandemic emergency.
“We have the lab capacity in New Jersey, and we’ve taken concrete steps to increase our specimen-collection capacity,” Murphy said.
On Saturday, the Bergen Community College and PNC Arts Center drive-through testing sites will be reserved only for symptomatic health care workers and first responders with valid credentials.
Murphy continues to demand social distancing.
“I know we’re coming into spring, and the weather is nice to get outside for a walk or a run. But, as you do, it is essential that you practice social distancing,” Murphy said. “You can still spread coronavirus while doing healthy activities! So keeping that six-foot distance is critical.”
He said no one should be expected to go to work if they are sick.
“We’re still hearing too many reports of essential businesses that are failing to implement social distancing,” he said. “This is especially crucial for our warehouse and manufacturing personnel, who are on the front lines of our supply chains.”
The governor said that his thoughts “are also with all the men and women in our hospitals working valiantly to save lives.”
“I can only imagine the emotional toll on them, too, when they lose a patient,” Murphy said.
Among Murphy’s announcements:
* All businesses and non-hospital health care facilities in possession of personal protective equipment that they’re not using for critical health care services have until 5:00 PM today to submit inventory info to us. “This reporting was ordered.” Murphy said. “I expect full compliance.”
* Authorization of $140 million in advanced payments to health care providers to help them prepare for COVID-19 related expenses.
* Retired nurses or doctors, nursing and medical students, EMTs, former members of our Armed Services’ medical corps should volunteer their assistance by signing up at covid19.nj.gov/volunteer.
This story was updated at 2:38 PM.