WASHINGTON — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state’s pace of reopening from shutdowns imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus would be driven in part by how much “knucklehead” behavior emerges as restrictions are relaxed.
“The family, friends and neighbors who we have lost are the reason why we can’t rush our restart,” Murphy said at a news briefing on Saturday. “If we are reckless we will lose not just more, but many more beyond that.”
The state has had 7,742 deaths from COVID-19, Murphy said, and total confirmed cases were at 123,717 as of Saturday.
Still, Murphy said there were signs of progress, with 5,713 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized in the state, a drop of 1,000 on the week. Those in intensive care and on ventilators are also down.
New Jersey on Saturday reported an additional 205 coronavirus deaths, down from 311 reported Friday, with new cases at 2,912 but fresh hospitalizations on the decline, with 525 patients were released.
The state, which is second only to New York in the number of coronavirus cases and deaths, allowed state parks and golf courses to reopen Saturday for the first time since early April. Murphy said officials would be monitoring closely for compliance with social distancing.
“If we hear reports of people not taking either their health or the health of — maybe even more importantly — the health of other park-goers seriously then we won’t hesitate to — and I don’t say this with any joy — to close them again,” Murphy said. “If we can do this, and I know we can, then we will be able to move forward.”
Murphy said on April 28 that New Jersey is still “a number of weeks away” from totally reopening.
On Saturday the Democrat announced that 53 New Jersey hospitals would receive a total of $1.7 billion in funding from the federal government, second only to New York in their share of $12 billion being distributed to hard-hit states.
“This $1.7 billion will certainly help ensure that our entire health care systems is, itself, healthy to join us on the road back,” Murphy said.
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