Murphy announces sites of field hospitals — and 17 more fatalities, bringing total to 44

By Tom Bergeron
Trenton | Mar 24, 2020 at 3:01 pm
Breaking News

Gov. Phil Murphy, during his daily coronavirus briefing Tuesday, announced the locations of three of the four field hospitals that will be created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Sites will go up in Bergen County (Meadowlands Convention Center), Middlesex County (Edison Convention Center) and Atlantic County (Atlantic City Convention Center).

The location of the fourth site, an urban site, has yet to be determined.

These sites are needed.

Murphy also announced that there have been 846 new coronavirus cases in the state, bringing the total to 3,675. Murphy also said there were 17 more fatalities, bringing that total to 44. It represents, by far, the largest single-day reporting of deaths.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the 17 deaths were in eight counties: Bergen (5), Morris, Essex (3), Hudson (2), Camden, Monmouth, Passaic and Union (1).

She said nine of the 17 deaths were in long-term care facilities and that, overall, there have been fatalities associated with 19 such facilities.

There were 63 new cases in Essex and Passaic counties, the first time any county other than Bergen has led the way at a daily briefing. Middlesex had 62 new cases, followed by Bergen (61) and Monmouth (53) counties.

The state also released the percentage of tests that have come back positive: Of more than 12,000 tests, approximately 3,600 have been positive, about 27%.

Murphy repeatedly said the public should not be alarmed by the number of positive tests — it’s a result of more testing, he said. The fatalities, he said, are justification for all the social distancing restrictions he has put in place.

Among other quick-hit items from the briefing, which is still going on:

  • An arrest: Murphy said charges are being brought against a citizen who coughed on a Wegmans employee in Manalapan and then announced he had coronavirus.
  • The person, who refused to give his name or identification for 40 minutes, will be charged with making a terroristic threat, among other charges.
  • Education: Murphy said the state has applied for a waiver to cancel all statewide testing this spring. Murphy said there is no update on how long school will be out — and he has not decided whether schools will be taught remotely for the rest of the year, as other states have decided to do.
  • Budget: The New Jersey Department of Treasury announced it has frozen nearly a billion dollars in spending as it grapples with the economic uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus crisis. In a voluntary disclosure statement to state bondholders Monday night, Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said the state expects “precipitous declines in revenues” in fiscal 2020 and 2021, including lower income, corporate, sales and other tax revenues. Murphy said the decision was hard to reach, but said it was the right one to protect the state’s fiscal stability.
  • PPEs: Murphy said the state will receive another federal shipment of Personal Protection Equipment. The latest shipment will have more than 200,000 N95 masks and 84,000 respirators.
  • Donations: Murphy announced Public Service Enterprise Group will donate 50,000 N95 masks. Murphy said Apple has offered to send gear, but was not specific on what it is. Those with donations are asked to email ppedonations@NJSP.org.

Read more from ROI-NJ on coronavirus: