NJ starts including probable COVID-19 fatalities in death toll, raising total

“Those people who have died as part of known outbreaks, most commonly although not exclusively in long-term care facilities, who had symptoms that were suggestive of COVID but never got tested. That was particularly common earlier in the outbreak when testing was difficult,” he explained. 

Others were linked through death certificate checks. 

This would bring the death toll to almost 15,000. The state will update the probable numbers weekly, but they likely won’t change much now that testing is vastly improved. 

And the state’s plan, along with New York and Connecticut, to require visitors from states seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases to self-quarantine for two weeks is turning more into a request rather than an order. 

Eight states in the south and west are on the list, including Florida, which at the onset of the pandemic tried stopping New Jersey drivers on I-95. 

Gov. Phil Murphy says that won’t happen in New Jersey, although the Health Department has options if vacationers test positive here.

But he’d rather convince those people to do the right thing on their own.

“Could you ramp up public awareness? Could you do things in the category of moral suasion using the bully pulpit? Absolutely. By the way, it’s not personal to any other state. We take no joy in other states’ challenges right now. We’ve been there. We know what that looks like,” Murphy said.

On Friday, state officials are expected to give guidance on how elementary schools and high schools could operate come the fall.

With 406 new positive cases, the state total is now at 170,196 cases.