New Jersey coronavirus cases now at 267

By KYW Newsradio 1060

UPDATED: 6:15 p.m. 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) —New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that an additional 89 residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, bringing the state total to 267. 

Monday night, the governor announced a third coronavirus-related death. 

Officials say two residents in Gloucester County have tested positive. Officials say the two — a 59-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman — are married and are from Glassboro. They also have a history of international travel. 

There are five positive cases in Burlington County, three in Camden County.

#COVID19 UPDATES: We’ve received 89 new positive test results since yesterday, bringing our statewide total to 267.

— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) March 17, 2020

The man is hospitalized at Inspira-Mullica Hill. The woman is showing no symptoms and is in isolation at home.

New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said out of the 267 cases, about 55% have had to be hospitalized or are in the hospital. 

The vast majority is in the northeastern part of the state, and she said the risk level still remains low when you practice social distancing and hand hygiene.

Murphy said he has sent a letter to President Donald Trump, asking for assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in building temporary hospitals. 

The governor says the state currently has 21,000 hospital beds in 71 facilities, 2,000 are critical care beds, and that "this only appears to be a fraction of the capacity that will be needed."

The Health Department estimates, according to the letter, that the state may need double the amount of critical care beds within the next two weeks. Without assistance, Murphy writes, hospitals "will have no choice but to deny lifesaving care, including ventilators, to those in need of it."

He also announced starting 8 p.m. Tuesday night, all malls, amusement parks, and amusement centers in the state will be closed until the end of the emergency. They join casinos, racetracks and gyms, where crowds larger than 50 usually gather.

Restaurants in malls that have their own entrances can stay open for takeout or delivery. 

All other non-essential businesses can still stay open until 8 p.m. daily if they follow social distancing guidelines.

Businesses deemed necessary for the public’s health, safety and welfare, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, medical offices and gas stations, will be allowed to stay open past 8 p.m. They are also subject to social distancing guidelines.

On Monday, the governor said all non-essential and non-emergency travel in the state is "strongly discouraged" between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Murphy suggested people are complying, for the most part, with his request not to drive at night and he hopes that continues. 

State officials are also asking banks and mortgage companies to help consumers and small businesses where they can during the emergency with loans and credit extensions. They say critical services are being offered to those in need.

Testing for the virus will ramp up with help from the federal government in the next few days. 

The first two large testing sites will be located up north, where the outbreak is most severe.

Residents are also being warned about scammers, and not just on the price gouging front. Murphy said someone offering supplemental Medicare coverage contacted a state official, concealing the phone number used with a fake number that is with the state phone system.