Murphy: Ruling on mortgages to come Saturday

Governor, who has hinted at possible relief all week, did not give clue about what may be coming

By Tom Bergeron
Trenton | Mar 27, 2020 at 3:08 pm

Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey will have full announcement on the state of mortgages during his daily media announcement Saturday.

“We are working tirelessly on this,” he said.

Murphy, who repeatedly has said he is trying to work out a deal with banks, did not give any details. The biggest issue, he has said in the past, is that any such program may have to be instituted on a national scale, as so many mortgage companies do business across state lines.

Murphy said renters would not necessarily be included in the announcement.

Regardless of the decision on mortgages and possibly rents, Murphy hinted it is unlikely the state will do anything in regard to taxes due to the state’s worsening revenue issues.

“We’re bleeding money, as you can imagine, by the boatloads right now,” he said. “So, I’ve also got to be careful.

“In a perfect world, I’d be telling everybody, ‘Holidays for this, holidays for that.’ I have to make sure we keep the lights on, so nothing to really report there.”

Here are more updates, given at his daily coronavirus briefing, which is still ongoing:

Test result updates

Fatalities in New Jersey related to coronavirus went over 100 as Murphy announced 27 new deaths, bringing the state’s total to 108.

The fatalities came from the following counties: Bergen (7), Middlesex (4), Essex, Monmouth, Ocean and Somerset (3), Morris (2), Hudson and Gloucester (1).

Murphy also announced there were 1,982 new coronavirus cases Friday, bringing the state total to 8,825. Bergen had the most with 265, followed by Essex (181), Hudson (140), Middlesex (127) and Monmouth (126) counties.

The overall county totals are as follows: Bergen (1,505), Essex (826), Middlesex (640), Monmouth (634), Hudson (594).

Murphy, as he has said daily, said the state has expected these numbers. In addition, he said the state’s desire to only test “symptomatic” individuals has led to a higher rate of cases (currently at 33.4%), but he said this is bringing the state the data it needs to help understand the virus.

More importantly, the state said tests reported Friday could be as much as a week old, due to delays in testing. Therefore, Murphy stressed, many of these results could have come from before the most extreme social distancing were implemented.

Health care help

Murphy said he has authorized $140 million to health care providers to help them for COVID-19 health care expenses.

Murphy also said South Jersey Industries CEO Michael Renna has said his organization is making cash donations to hospitals.

Field hospitals

The first pop-up hospital, at the Meadowlands Convention Center, began building out Friday.

Murphy also made a call for more experienced health care workers to volunteer, asking for retired nurses and doctors, students and former armed services medical personnel. Volunteers, he said, can come from outside New Jersey’s borders.

“If you have training, we need you,” he said.

To volunteer: www.covid19.nj.gov/volunteer.

Test sites

Murphy said there are now approximately two dozen test sites in the state. He also said the two FEMA-assisted facilities are changing their opening.

On Saturday, both facilities (at Bergen Community College and PNC Arts Bank Center) will be reserved exclusively for symptomatic health care workers and first responders. In addition, starting Sunday, the sites will be open every other day, starting with Bergen on Sunday and PNC Bank Arts Center on Monday.

They will be expected to handle 500 specimens per day.

Donations

More companies are stepping up. Murphy said Johnson & Johnson donated 10,000 pairs of goggles and Goldman Sachs donated another 80,000 N95 masks, bringing its total of N95s donated to 175,000.

Murphy also saluted Google, Apple, UBS and Ralph Lauren without specifically noting donations.,

Murphy also reminded health care facilities — especially those that do elective surgeries, which are suspended as of Friday — that they must report what PPEs they have by 5 p.m. Friday.

To donate: covid19.nj.gov/ppedonations.

The final word

“This is not the time for pickup basketball.” — Murphy on how the warmer weather cannot change the rules on social distancing.

Read more from ROI-NJ on coronavirus: