TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Phil Murphy says he has asked President Donald Trump to authorize four FEMA field hospitals in New Jersey.
The state now has more than 2,844 confirmed coronavirus cases and 27 deaths. That’s an increase of 935 confirmed cases and seven additional deaths. The seven new deaths include five men and two women, ages 57-91. Two had preexisting conditions.
“One of the individuals was associated with a long-term care facility in New Jersey,” said Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.
Murphy says the numbers will keep climbing as more testing sites open. They’re crucial to flattening the curve and slowing the spread.
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A second drive-thru site opened today in Monmouth County to keep up with the demand.
Testing began at 8 a.m. at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel. It reached capacity very quickly and then was shut for the day. It will reopen tomorrow, Murphy said.
Murphy again reminded people that they will not be tested unless they are exhibiting symptoms.
A regional testing site in Hudson County is opening by appointment only at Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus. To make an appointment, you should call (201) 388-1097.
In a bid to preserve medical resources, all operations that can be safely delayed must be as of Friday, Murphy said.
At a certain point, however, priorities might shift from expending resources on testing to spending them on treatment.
“We are going to come to a moment, sooner than later I would guess, as it relates to manpower, health care workers in particular, PPE, the actual specimen collecting equipment that is needed to take the intake. We’re going to come to sort-of forks in the road between – again, beyond my pay grade, commissioner – between resources and manpower dedicated to testing versus resources and and manpower dedicated to care. And that’s a balance that we’re going to have to get right,” Murphy said. “As much as we want to continue to be a leader in testing in our country, the fact of the matter is in a limited resource world, in a limited manpower world, we may have to tilt the machine more toward the care side.”
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The state’s first drive-through location opened Friday at Bergen Community College. Every day since, drivers have lined up, eager to get a test.
Shortly before 7:30 a.m. Monday, the site reached its capacity and stopped accepting patients for the day.
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The goal is to get more people tested at the Holmdel location, which was established in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
It will be open seven days a week beginning at 8 a.m.
Murphy said drivers will not be allowed to line up along the Garden State Parkway, and PNC commuter lots will be closed.
Testing is free, but people are encouraged to bring an insurance card if they have one.
Appointments are not needed at this site. In order to be eligible, patients must be New Jersey residents and experiencing symptoms of respiratory illnesses.
Test results are expected to come back in two to five business days.
Murphy said while many New Jersey residents have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, there were more than 8,000 jobs now available at critical businesses including grocery workers, warehouse, manufacturing distribution personnel and more. Anyone interested in applying for one of those jobs should CLICK HERE.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the state will be aggressive in cracking down on people and businesses who are not staying home or shutting down in compliance with Murphy’s “stay at home” order.
“For those who refuse to do their part, let me assure there will be serious legal consequences,” Grewal said. “The time for warnings is over. The time to ensure compliance by using all the tools available to us is here. So if you’re a retail store, or an entertainment center, and you stay open, or if you’re a bar and you keep serving patrons in your establishment, consider this as your final warning. Your actions are against the law in New Jersey, and you will be held accountable. The same goes for individuals. If you and your friends decide to throw a party at your home and you invite 20 of your closest friends, stop. Law enforcement officers will have to break that party up, and there will be criminal consequences. It’s simple. Shut down your non-essential businesses. Stay at home whenever possible. Let’s keep everyone safe.”
Grewal said authorities have received more than 1,400 price gouging complaints concerning 900 businesses.
“Let me tell you, our investigators are on top of this,” he said.
“There is a special place in hell for the people who take advantage of this health crisis,” Murphy said. “Whether you’re price gouging or you view this as an excuse to pursue racist behavior or bullying behavior. There’s literally no time for that in a normal time and there sure as heck no time for it in the midst of a war that we’re under.”
New Jersey residents feeling the emotional toll of the pandemic can call 1-866-202-HELPfor support.