VIRUS UPDATE: PARK OPENINGS TOP AGENDA

Jim Fitzmaurice’s newest seasonal mural at Fair Haven Hardware added a burst of spring color to a gray morning Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Facing a favorable weather forecast and 9 million New Jerseyans with cabin fever, Governor Phil Murphy returned repeatedly to a single topic at his daily briefing on the COVID-19 crisis Friday: the reopening of parks on Saturday.

With sunshine and temperatures in the vicinity of 70 degrees forecast after five weeks of near-lockdown conditions, Murphy pounded the message that the weekend would be a “test” of the state’s commitment to social-distancing guidelines.

“I know we all want to be out in the fresh air and sunshine,” Murphy said. “I cannot stress how much of a test this weekend will be.”

Murphy said State Police and local authorities will have a “significant presence” to monitor compliance, and repeated his threat to reclose parks if it’s not seen.

“A good weekend and good compliance is going to matter,” both for whether facilities stay open and in reducing spread of the disease, he said.

“We’re watching,” he said. “We’re not trying to be jerks. We’re trying to watch and, hopefully, like what we see.”

At the briefing, Murphy reported 311 more deaths statewide related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 7,538. More than 1,500 deaths have been reported since Monday.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 online database, Monmouth County’s loss of life rose by 14 victims, to 355. Three deaths at longterm care facilities in the county raised the total to 213.

Here are the latest statewide COVID-19 figures:

Deaths since March 10: 7,538, up 311 from Thursday

Positive tests: 121,190, up 2,538

Patients in hospitals: 5,972, down 165

Patients in intensive/critical care: 1,724, down 45

Patients on ventilators: 1,271, down 42

Patients discharged in preceding 24 hours: 571, up 57

[UPDATE: The following information reflects data reported by Monmouth County late Friday afternoon] Monmouth County officials reported 6,196 positive cases, with the breakdown by town as follows:

  • Aberdeen: 187
  • Allenhurst: 2
  • Allentown: 6
  • Asbury Park: 140
  • Atlantic Highlands: 24
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 10
  • Belmar: 21
  • Bradley Beach: 29
  • Brielle: 24
  • Colts Neck: 66
  • Deal: 23
  • Eatontown: 189
  • Englishtown: 37
  • Fair Haven: 22, unchanged from Thursday
  • Farmingdale: 13
  • Freehold Borough: 287
  • Freehold Township: 542
  • Hazlet: 241
  • Highlands: 22
  • Holmdel: 201
  • Howell: 518
  • Interlaken: 1
  • Keansburg: 111
  • Keyport: 72
  • Lake Como: 14
  • Little Silver: 33, unchanged
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 374
  • Manalapan: 414
  • Manasquan: 30
  • Marlboro: 385
  • Matawan: 149
  • Middletown: 454
  • Millstone: 70
  • Monmouth Beach: 17
  • Neptune City: 42
  • Neptune Township: 351
  • Ocean: 229
  • Oceanport: 55
  • Red Bank: 141, down 1
  • Roosevelt: 5
  • Rumson: 30
  • Sea Bright: 9
  • Sea Girt: 13
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 42
  • Shrewsbury Township: 8
  • Spring Lake: 12
  • Spring Lake Heights: 16
  • Tinton Falls: 155
  • Union Beach: 39
  • Upper Freehold: 40
  • Wall: 220
  • West Long Branch: 57
  • Unknown: 3