Kean University, Union County partner to create COVID-19 program curriculum

In his regular COVID-19 media briefing Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy acknowledged the partnership between Union County and Kean University in establishing a coronavirus program curriculum.

“This is a unique opportunity for those in public office and in our higher education settings,” said Murphy. “(It is important) to work together to not only defeat this virus, but to train the next generation of virus-fighters.”

The program aims to further educate students on COVID-19 and how to navigate a world in the grips of a pandemic. The program also promises to bring further academic and career opportunities for students.

Kean University has been offering free COVID-19 testing sites during the pandemic, and announced that it will continue to do so through the fall semester. The partnership will not only provide testing for the campus community, but will give students the chance to research the virus and secure student employment.

Other notes from Monday’s COVID-19 briefing:

Health metrics

There have been 225 additional positive COVID-19 test results in the state, making the cumulative total 189,719 cases since March 4.

The governor announced three additional deaths now confirmed to be COVID-19-related. These deaths are from Aug. 21, Aug. 17 and Aug. 15. The total number of confirmed deaths has risen to 14,120, with an additional 1,829 probable deaths.

Nine deaths were reported in hospitals yesterday, but they are not yet lab-confirmed.

Other hospital numbers:

  • In hospital: 446 (227 confirmed cases, 219 under investigation);
  • In ICU: 66;
  • On ventilators: 27;
  • Rate of transmission: 85;
  • Positivity rate: 33% (from Aug. 20).

November election security

Over the weekend, Murphy responded on Twitter to President Donald Trump’s claim that New Jerseyans need to certify that they asked for universal, mail-in ballots that were sent. The governor needed only one word to respond to the President’s claim.

“False.”

While Murphy chose not to elaborate on the tweet in his briefing, he did further discuss the provisions being put in place across the state to ensure a safe, fair election.

“We’ve made it easier,” said Murphy. “We’re going to put more equipment, more people on the case. Both for the vote-by-mail as well as the in-person piece.”

The governor again cited the primary election as the greatest piece of evidence that November’s election will go forward without issue.

“We had a really good experience with our primary,” said Murphy. “The system worked. There’s no reason to believe it won’t work for a general (election).”

Tropical storm updates

Col. Pat Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, gave an update on tropical storms Marco and Laura.

“Tropical storm Marco looks like it’s petering out,” said Callahan. “Still probably going to cause a lot of rain starting tomorrow afternoon at some point.”

Callahan also cited National Weather Service findings that tropical storm Laura will most likely gain speed as it travels up the cost and be declared a category 2 hurricane.

Final word

Murphy on Sunday’s shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin:

How many times does this nation have to endure this? How many more names do we have to add to the list? … We pray for a full reckoning about the systemic and inherent racism in our society, and for its elimination. And, we pray that justice is done.”

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