red bank marine park closed 041820The Wharf Avenue entrance to Marine Park in Red Bank, which remains closed along with all borough parks. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)


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Governor Phil Murphy reported¬† “undeniable” progress in New Jersey’s battle to quell the spread of COVID-19 Saturday.

He also blasted an Atlantic County official as “irresponsible” for calling for a reopening of the state’s economy “without restrictions.”

At his latest daily briefing on the crisis, Murphy announced 231 more COVID-19 deaths, for a total of 4,070 since March 10. Since Sunday, his administration has reported 1,720 deaths associated with the illness, or 40 percent of the total.

The latest fatality count included 125 residents of longterm care facilities, which have been ravaged by the pandemic, said state health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. Such facilities now account for 1,655 deaths, or 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths, she said.

The figure includes respiratory-based deaths for which no coronavirus testing was performed but a connection to the illness is presumed, Persichilli said.

In Monmouth County, 43 longterm care facilities reported a total 851 positive cases, up 69 cases from Friday, and 121 deaths, up 7, according to the state health department’s COVID-19 online database. Friday’s data reflected reports from 40 facilities.

At the same time, the number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide fell by 293 through 10 p.m. Friday, and the number of new positive tests, while up, continued to slow, the administration reported.

So far, 9,692 COVID patients have been discharged from hospitals, including another 814 through Friday, said Persichilli.

“As you can see, we’ve been able to create some stabilization here,” Murphy said of the metric.

Still, countering assertions equating the pandemic with a seasonal flu, Murphy said COVID-19 has claimed more New Jersey lives in just five weeks than the past three flu seasons combined.

“You’re 100 times more likely to end up in the hospital” with COVID-19 than with the flu, he said.

He also blasted Atlantic County Surrogate Jim Curcio for a Facebook post Saturday morning demanding that New Jersey be reopened “immediately without restrictions” and calling for him to “untie the hands of the Private Sector so it can rescue NJ from this nightmare.”

“There will be blood on our hands” if such advice is followed, Murphy said.

“Anybody out there who thinks that ‘let’s just open the place up’ will lead to lower infections, lower hospitalizations and lower fatalities is being completely, utterly irresponsible,” he said.

In response to a question about protestors who have also called for reopening of the economy, Murphy said, “anybody who thinks we’re doing this to take away liberties and rights isn’t looking at the data we’re looking at.”

Here are the latest statewide COVID-19 figures:

Deaths in the monthlong pandemic: 4,070, up 231 from Friday’s update

Positive tests: 81,420, up 2,953

Patients in hospitals: 7,718, down 293

Patients in intensive/critical care: 2,024, up 63

Patients on ventilators: 1,641, 47

Patients discharged in preceding 24 hours: 814, up 12

Separately, Monmouth County government reported 114 new COVID-19-positive cases Saturday, for a total 4,528 so far in the crisis. Here’s the by-town breakdown.

  • Aberdeen: 127
  • Allenhurst: 2
  • Allentown: 4
  • Asbury Park: 91
  • Atlantic Highlands: 17
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 9
  • Belmar: 10
  • Bradley Beach: 19
  • Brielle: 22
  • Colts Neck: 51
  • Deal: 23
  • Eatontown: 134
  • Englishtown: 16
  • Fair Haven: 18, up 1 from Friday
  • Farmingdale: 9
  • Freehold Borough: 144
  • Freehold Township: 388
  • Hazlet: 168
  • Highlands: 19
  • Holmdel: 147
  • Howell: 397
  • Interlaken: 1
  • Keansburg: 77
  • Keyport: 55
  • Lake Como: 11
  • Little Silver: 24, down 2
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 251
  • Manalapan: 321
  • Manasquan: 23
  • Marlboro: 310
  • Matawan: 115
  • Middletown: 362
  • Millstone: 52
  • Monmouth Beach: 16
  • Neptune City: 24
  • Neptune Township: 230
  • Ocean: 183
  • Oceanport: 40
  • Red Bank: 94, up 7
  • Roosevelt: 2
  • Rumson: 25
  • Sea Bright: 7
  • Sea Girt: 9
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 24
  • Shrewsbury Township: 7
  • Spring Lake: 8
  • Spring Lake Heights: 15
  • Tinton Falls: 95
  • Union Beach: 30
  • Upper Freehold: 29
  • Wall: 159
  • West Long Branch: 50
  • Unknown: 63