Governor Phil Murphy ended his Saturday briefing by donning a State Police face covering. (YouTube screengrab. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
With 1,804 New Jersey residents added to the COVID-19 pandemic toll, Governor Phil Murphy wrapped up what he called “as tough a week as it relates to fatalities as we have had” in the crisis.
At the same time, “all 0f the important metrics in our hospitals continue to show positive trends,” he said at his daily briefing Saturday.
Nearly one-quarter of the 7,742 COVID-19 deaths reported since the first one March 10 have been reported since Sunday. That includes 205 more reported Saturday.
While the number of patients testing positive for the disease continues to rise, it is doing so at a slowing rate than seen two weeks ago, officials said. In addition, the number of patients in hospitals and on ventilators is down significantly, said state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.
At the briefing, held in the early afternoon, Murphy said state and local law enforcement officials were monitoring parks statewide for visitor compliance with social distancing and other behaviors to help stop the spread of the disease.
Saturday was the first day parks were open in three weeks, after Murphy reversed a shutdown order issued April 8.
“Early, preliminary, anecdotal” reports indicated “so far so good,” said Murphy, who has threatened to re-close the facilities if people gather in groups or don’t wear face coverings.
According to the state health department’s COVID-19 online database, 17 more Monmouth County resident deaths brought the county’s total to 372. Thirteen of the latest fatalities occurred at longterm care facilities, where 226 residents have now dies, the database reported.