little silver surgical mask Surgical masks and improvised face coverings were a common sight Friday, as here on Prospect Avenue in Little Silver. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]


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Flags across New Jersey were ordered lowered “immediately and indefinitely” as the carnage of COVID-19 claimed another 113 state residents, Governor Phil Murphy said Friday.

The symbolic gesture will serve as a “constant memorial” during “one of the greatest tragedies” in the state’s history, Murphy said at his daily briefing on the crisis.

The death toll in the pandemic rose to 646, Murphy said. An unspecified number of fatalities previously attributed to the coronavirus were removed from the count for further investigation, he said.

The latest deaths included another 10 Monmouth County residents, bringing the county’s total to 48, according to the state Health Department website.

The death tally will continue to climb, Murphy said.

“I’d love to say it won’t, but it will,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. This is the fight of our lives.”

Another 4,372 state residents tested positive for the virus since his last briefing, Murphy said, driving the total to 29,895.

Monmouth County accounted for 256 of the new cases. A town-by-town breakdown was not immediately available. On Thursday, the Monmouth County Freeholders reported 1,482 positive cases in the county.

[UPDATE: Friday evening, the Monmouth County Freeholders reported 1,743 positive cases in the county, a one-day increase of 261. See the town-by-town list below.]

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said 41 percent of the 3,016 hospitalized patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus are on ventilators.

Another 37,608 individuals presenting apparent symptoms of the illness have tested negative, for a positive rate of 42 percent, up slightly from Thursday.


• Should everyone be wearing a surgical mask or other facial protection?

“Nothing wrong with that,” Murphy said, as long as medical-grade N95 masks are reserved for front-line healthcare and emergency workers. But masks “are not in any way a replacement for social distancing,” he said.

By donning a mask or scarf, “don’t assume that makes you a Superman or Superwoman,” Murphy said. Social-distancing is “absolutely key.”

• Persichilli said faith leaders should urge their congregations not to gather for the upcoming Easter and Passover holidays.

“We must take this seriously,” she said.

• State Police Superintendent Colonel Pat Callahan said 14 critical-care ventilators supplied by the federal government for use at two hospitals didn’t immediately work, but eight were quickly repaired on site.

The state’s COVID-19 jobs portal now lists more than 44,000 active job listings from 540 employers.

• Here’s the full list of Monmouth towns with at least one case:

  • Aberdeen: 47
  • Allentown: 1
  • Asbury Park: 29
  • Atlantic Highlands: 8
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 3
  • Belmar: 4
  • Bradley Beach: 8
  • Brielle: 10
  • Colts Neck: 25
  • Deal: 9
  • Eatontown: 49
  • Englishtown: 9
  • Fair Haven: 14
  • Farmingdale: 8
  • Freehold Borough: 20
  • Freehold Township: 122
  • Hazlet: 68
  • Highlands: 6
  • Holmdel: 59
  • Howell: 143
  • Keansburg: 37
  • Keyport: 12
  • Lake Como: 4
  • Little Silver: 17
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 73
  • Manalapan: 152
  • Manasquan: 15
  • Marlboro: 126
  • Matawan: 35
  • Middletown: 156
  • Millstone: 15
  • Monmouth Beach: 7
  • Neptune City: 9
  • Neptune Township: 80
  • Ocean: 71
  • Oceanport: 19
  • Red Bank: 34
  • Rumson: 19
  • Sea Bright: 3
  • Sea Girt: 7
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 16
  • Shrewsbury Township: 3
  • Spring Lake: 5
  • Spring Lake Heights: 8
  • Tinton Falls: 31
  • Union Beach: 2
  • Upper Freehold: 15
  • Wall: 66
  • West Long Branch: 20