N.J. reports 2,492 new cases — nearly triple the previous one-day high

By Tom Bergeron
Trenton | Mar 26, 2020 at 2:55 pm

The number of cases of coronavirus in New Jersey skyrocketed Thursday, as Gov. Phil Murphy announced there are 2,492 new cases in the state.

That brings the statewide total to 6,876 cases.

Murphy had never announced even 1,000 new cases. The three previous single-day highs were 930, 831 and 727.

Murphy also said there were 19 more fatalities, bringing the total to 81.

Murphy and health officials have said repeatedly that these numbers will go up — and go up exponentially — due to a big increase in test sites. However, only 436 of the new cases came from the large FEMA-assisted sites at Bergen Community College and the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.

The following counties had more than 100 new cases: Bergen (357), Essex (203), Middlesex (183), Monmouth (179), Hudson (158), Union (147), Ocean (144) and Passaic (133). And the origin of 755 cases has yet to be identified.

The top six counties, based on overall totals, include: Bergen (1,206), Essex (609), Middlesex (505), Monmouth (501), Hudson (441) and Union (432).

Among other notes from a briefing, which is currently ongoing:

  • Mortgage relief: Murphy said the state continues to look strongly at mortgage relief and is working with banks to find a solution. He said national banks may need to lead the way. “I’ll be very surprised if we don’t end up in a good place on this,” he said. Murphy said he is less definitive on assistance to renters, but he said the state is focused on that as well.
  • Testing: Murphy announced that, this Saturday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency-assisted sites will be reserved exclusively for health care workers and first responders.
  • Unemployment: Murphy said the state and the country got a gut punch. More than 3.3 million people across the country — including 155,000 in New Jersey — filed new claims. Murphy said it’s 16 times the number of the week before.
  • Jobs: Murphy notes the state’s job posting site now has more than 35,000 jobs by more than 300 employers. Murphy said more than 230,000 people have accessed the site since it went live on Monday.
  • EDA assistance: Murphy said the Economic Development Authority approved a package of seven initiatives that can be worth an estimated $75 million to $100 million to help businesses cope with the impact the coronavirus outbreak. Included in the approvals is a grant program for small businesses, a zero-interest loan program for midsize companies, support for private-sector lenders and community development financial institutions, funding for entrepreneurs, and a variety of resources providing technical support and marketplace information. (For more information, click here.)
  • Disaster declaration: Murphy was glad to see President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for the state. Murphy said the declaration gives state access to greater federal support and lifts some of the remaining bureaucratic barriers.
  • Schools: Murphy said there will be no consideration of reopening schools until at least April 17. That being said, it appears unlikely schools will open anytime soon — and more likely they will be closed for the school year.
  • Tax deadline: Murphy said the state will almost certainly move the deadline, but it hasn’t been decided when the new deadline will be. Making sure it is before the state budget is due June 30 could be one of the issues that is holding up a final decision.
  • June 2 presidential primary: Murphy said the state still hasn’t made a decision on whether to move the date.
  • The final word: Murphy on whether people who have Florida driver’s licenses but live in both states can be tested in New Jersey … “They haven’t exactly rolled out the red carpet for us in Florida.”

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