VIRUS UPDATE: DEATH TOLL EASES

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicAfter a weeklong climb, New Jersey’s daily death toll from the COVID-19 virus eased Saturday, Governor Phil Murphy’s administration reported Sunday.

At the same time, more than 2,300 state residents tested positive for the virus.Saturday’s death tally of 21 was the fewest since Thursday, when 19 were recorded. Since last Sunday, the state has reported new daily death totals of 4, 7, 17, 18, 19, 27, 32 and 21 residents.

Murphy did not hold a press briefing Sunday and his administration offered no immediate comment on the change. But in a video message posted on social media hours earlier, he stressed continued adherence to his “stay-at-home” order of March 21 that has effectively halted activity statewide.

A travel advisory issued Saturday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asking residents of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days does not “change the rules” of his order, Murphy said.

“Nothing’s changed in New Jersey,” he said. “Stay at home.”

The coronavirus is now believed to have caused or contributed to 161 fatalities in New Jersey, according to the state’s website. A breakdown of the latest deaths by county was not immediately disclosed.

The 2,316 new coronavirus cases reported Sunday included 223 in Monmouth County, the state said. That put the number of patients who have tested positive at 13,386 statewide, with 870 in Monmouth County.

Another 22,216 who have been tested because they presented symptoms of the illness have tested negative, the website reported. The state classified 3,020 patients as presumed positive and “under investigation” for the virus.