TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday reported 970 new COVID-19 cases and 148 new deaths, while stressing that the state cannot consider “specific timetables” for reopening until it meets certain benchmarks.
A total of 156,628 state residents have now tested positive for COVID-19, and 11,339 have died, Murphy said during his daily briefing Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday's death toll may have been higher than usual due to "delayed reporting" over Memorial Day weekend, the governor noted.
On Tuesday, 241 COVID-19 patients were admitted to hospitals across the state, while 164 were discharged, Murphy said.
While 2,761 state residents are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, the number of patients in critical or intensive care dropped to 768, he added. As of Wednesday, 583 of those patients were on ventilators.
“Despite the daily fluctuations… it is clear that our overall trajectory remains positive,” he said.
But while all of the state’s key COVID-19 metrics — including new hospitalizations, patients in the ICU and patients on ventilators — have shown “tremendous progress” over the past month, the state needs to “keep working,” he added.
“New Jerseyans must know, first and foremost, that their health will be safeguarded from COVID-19,” he said. “We don’t — and can’t — consider specific timetables until we meet our benchmarks on key factors.”
Testing continues to be integral when it comes to meeting those benchmarks, Murphy said.
“The more people who do get tested, the stronger our data becomes,” he said. New Jersey is now testing more than 20,000 people per day, he added, noting that the state is “ahead of 46 other states” in its efforts to expand testing. On May 23, only seven percent of approximately 30,000 tests conducted came back positive.
“Only a long holiday weekend seemingly interfered with our upward trajectory,” he said. “But 16,000 tests were still administered on (Memorial Day)."
“There are 164 (testing) sites — both public and private — across our state,” he tweeted during his briefing. “We fully intend to keep growing this number to reach more New Jerseyans."
Any state resident who wants to be tested for COVID-19 can now be tested, Murphy noted.
"Every resident and every community has a role to play in our restart and recovery ,and every resident who gets tested sends a strong message to their neighbors that they are ready to be a part of a bright future for our state," the governor said.
New Jersey has lifted some of its restrictions in recent weeks. At the end of April, Murphy signed an executive order allowing state parks, county parks and golf courses to reopen. Last week, meanwhile, he lifted the cap on outdoor gathering sizes from 10 to 25 people and reopened recreational campgrounds.
Outdoor venues including batting cages, golf ranges, shooting and archery ranges, private tennis clubs, horseback riding venues and community gardens have also been allowed to reopen.
New Jersey on Wednesday also reported three new cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C), a pediatric inflammatory syndrome that resembles Kawasaki disease and is believed to be linked to COVID-19.
A total of 26 children in New Jersey, ranging in age from one to 18, have now been diagnosed with MIS-C, Department of Health Commissioner Judy Perichilli said during Murphy’s briefing.
Eighteen of the 26 children have tested positive for COVID-19, and six are still hospitalized, she noted.