Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that New Jersey and neighboring states New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut are asking the federal government for at least $100 billion in immediate relief aid to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
“We are at the front line of the workers who are going through hell,” Murphy said during the briefing.
“We’re going to need a bigger boat. We’re going to need a lot more cash to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Murphy also said the state likely will tighten restrictions on social distancing — perhaps as early as Saturday. The new rules, Murphy said, could go into effect Saturday night.
It’s unclear what the new rules will be. But, on Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he is ordering all workers in non-essential businesses to stay home, starting Sunday.
Murphy also updated the latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases. There were 155 announced Friday, bringing the state total to 890. There also were two more deaths, bringing the state total to 11.
Murphy said the 155 number is light; he expects to hear more by end of the day. Murphy said he expects the numbers to go up as more testing takes place.
“The numbers will go into the many thousands,” he said. “But that is not a bad thing. The more information we have, the better we will be able to respond to this crisis.”
That started Friday. Murphy announced the Federal Emergency Management Agency testing site in Bergen County took 600 samples Friday — and closed at noon when it reached capacity. Murphy said site will reopen on Saturday and Sunday. The site will be able to handle 350 more tests on both days.
Murphy also said the FEMA site at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel will open Monday.
The four Democratic governors — whose states collectively represent 16% of the U.S. economy — made the request in a letter issued to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
In the letter, Murphy, Cuomo, Lamont and Wolf wrote:
“We owe an enormous debt to the relief efforts and resources that our federal partners have already provided. But our challenges are expanding daily and just beginning. Our states have all stepped up to take unprecedented action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and do all we can to flatten the curve. We implore you to consider the devastating impact these efforts will have on our states — and millions of our residents — both in the immediate term and the months to come.”
A copy of the coalition’s letter can be found here.