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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Murphy still involved with DGA during COVID-19 crisis, but actions limited

Governor mostly handing technical matters entirely by phone

By Nikita Biryukov, March 18 2020 4:21 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy said he is still “very much involved” with his role at the head of the Democratic Governors Association, though he’s limited that involvement to electronic communications and technical matters in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

“This is consuming more than 24 hours of my day right now,” Murphy said, referring to the novel coronavirus.

As part of his response to the virus, Murphy has been coordinating regional response with Democratic governors in New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

The four Democrats have adopted similar restrictions on businesses, gatherings and close personal contact in their respective states to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Jersey rose to 427 Wednesday, marking the largest day-over-day increase since the state identified its first case on March 4.

On Wednesday, the state added 162 new cases, an increase of more than 63% overnight.

Officials said the increase came in part because of expanded testing. That expansion is expected to continue in the coming days and will likely balloon once a FEMA testing facility in Bergen County comes online Friday.

Two new COVID-related deaths were announced Wednesday. Both were women in their 60s with underlying conditions. They lived in Hudson and Essex Counties.

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