EDISON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday that New Jersey now has as many as 32 coronavirus testing sites either active or coming on-line soon.Sources: Suspect In Shooting Of NYPD Officers Had Multiple Weapons, Including AR-15 With 20 Rounds Hidden Under Mattress
Spots are only available by appointment. To qualify, patients must have a valid doctor’s prescription or show coronavirus symptoms, like a fever of 100.4 or higher — or 99.6 for those over 65 — and respiratory problems like shortness of breath.
Also Wednesday, Jersey City’s testing sites are holding special hours for grocery store workers.
Supermarket employees can call 1-(201)-547-6800 to schedule an appointment between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at either the drive-thru or walk-thru facility. They must show a work ID and COVID-19 symptoms.
Mayor Steven Fulop said the city will also be setting aside special time for health care workers in the future.
Murphy said the Bergen County Community College site will be open Thursday, but added the one at PNC Bank Arts Center will be closed.
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During his briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Murphy reported the state has a total of 22,255 positive cases and 355 deaths, up 3,649 and 91, respectively, from Tuesday.
“I would love nothing more than to sit here say ‘April Fools,’ and that everything would be back the way it was. Unfortunately, that is not the case,” Murphy said. “This is the reality that we are dealing with and we’re all going to have to adjust to what is most likely even a new reality once this emergency passes.
“Every single one of these lost lives is irreplaceable, period,” the governor added. “We pray for their souls. We pray for their families and friends.”
State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the surge in cases, which was initially expected to begin in mid-April, is already showing signs of starting in the northern part of the state.
“Community spread is here in New Jersey and it’s here to stay for a while,” Persichilli said, adding the new reported deaths occurred predominantly in the northern counties, with the largest totals in Bergen, which had 33, Essex (22), and Hudson (13).
The commissioner added Bergen has 338 new positive cases overall, as it continues to be the epicenter of the outbreak in the state.
Of the overall deaths state-wide, Persichilli said 51% have been male, 42% female, and 47% have been over the age of 80, including 39% of that group documenting pre-existing conditions.READ MORE: Rangers Stay Red Hot, Take Down Kings In Shootout
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As for the continuing struggle to get some residents to comply with social distancing guidelines, police in Lakewood, for example, recently broke up an engagement party with more than a dozen people, including six children.
In another instance elsewhere in the state, a man was operating an indoor soccer arena that had been warned earlier that he was violating the executive order. He was cited, police said.
In Edison, a man was cited for operating an in-person auction, and in Newark, police recently issued 125 summonses for numerous incidents.
“When you stay home, you are all helping us slow the spread of this virus and you are doing your part to save lives. Please continue to do the right thing by staying home, protecting yourself and your families and your communities,” Persichilli said.
The governor echoed that call, saying social distancing, “is both our best offense and our best defense against COVID-19.”
“We are going to be out every day and night — local, county, and state police. We have to get 100% compliance and we’re not going to be nice about it. Action is being taken and will continue to be taken,” Murphy added.
The state is working at all hours of the day and night to get more ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE). Murphy said his team is continuing to make significant progress, noting that another 350 ventilators are coming from the strategic national stockpile. In total, New Jersey has received 850, but still needs more.
“I will continue to press the White House, FEMA, and, frankly, anyone who will take my call, for more ventilators, more PPE, more direct state aid, whatever it is that we will need to not only get ourselves through this crisis, but I’ve said this many times and we will, to come out stronger on the other side of it,” Murphy said.
He said the state has procured nearly 10 million PPE items that will soon be allocated to the front lines.
The governor said, to date, the state has 5,200 healthcare volunteers, and he asked anyone else willing to fight the battle against coronavirus to go to covid19.nj.gov/volunteer for more information.
“We need you. We need you in a big way,” Murphy said.MORE NEWS: Knicks' Late Rally Falls Short In Road Loss To Cavaliers
For those worried about filing state income taxes, the governor said the deadline has been automatically extended to July 15, meaning no business or individual needs to file for an extension.