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COVID-19 Coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Alachua County Board of Health.

Positive coronavirus tests up 14% since yesterday, Murphy says

Governor urges Congress to repeal SALT deduction cap to help middle class families

By David Wildstein, March 31 2020 1:39 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy announced that 18,696 New Jerseyans have tested positive for COVID-19 and has resulted in the deaths of 267 state residents.

Today’s number represents a 14% increase in positive tests since Monday, with 2,196 new cases.  Murphy said that 69 New Jerseyans died of coronavirus-related illness in the last day.

“At some point, God willing sooner than later, we will break the back of this damn virus. We will flatten that curve, “Murphy said. “We will have gotten the capacity in our health care system sufficient enough to deal with the cases that we have. We will get back on our feet.

Murphy today called on Congress to repeal the SALT deduction cap and said he brought that up in a call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.   He specifically called out Reps. Bill Pascrell (D-Paterson) and Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) for their efforts.

“Let’s help everyone on our front lines – especially the unsung and overlooked heroes like home health aides, sanitation workers, truck drivers, and transit workers – by staying home and doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Murphy said. “I know this isn’t fun, but now is the time be selfless. Not selfish. We all have to pull together.”

Murphy said that federal relief will allow New Jerseyans who are eligible for unemployment will receive an additional $600 per week through July 31.

“We urge employers to keep your workers on payroll throughout this crisis,” he said. “If you do, you will be eligible for a dollar-for-dollar payroll tax credit against those costs – this is available to 99.8 percent of all businesses in New Jersey.”

According to Murphy, New Jersey received a shipment of more than 260,000 total pieces of personal protection equipment, including masks and gloves, from the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

“We continue to work every single avenue to get more equipment for our state and frontline responders,” he said.

New Jersey currently has 280,466 N-95 masks, 399,440 surgical masks, 150,665 gloves, 50,778 gowns, and 74,052 face shields.

“We’re continuing to seek out every available piece of PPE and every available ventilator,” Murphy said.  “But we need much more.  I will continue to push our case with the White House, with FEMA, and with everyone I speak to.”

Murphy said that the state now has 100% compliance from municipal and private sector water utilities so that “no New Jerseyan should fear losing their access to clean water.”

Three more counties – Middlesex, Camden and Ocean – are opening test sites.

The governor is also backing Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s decision to “crack down on any physician or pharmacist hoarding certain prescription drugs, or inappropriately prescribing them.”

“Certain drugs are being investigated for their potential in treating COVID-19,” Murphy stated.  “We must start to protect that supply.”

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