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VIRUS UPDATE: BEACHES TO REOPEN, PARTLY

sb-beach-081916-500x375-6844590“There will be swimming,” but beach capacity may be restricted by oceanfront towns, Murphy said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-2130637Jersey shore beaches will be back in business for Memorial Day, if not quite full-tilt, Governor Phil Murphy said Thursday.

With COVID-19 fatalities, cases and hospitalizations on the wane statewide, New Jersey is ready to take “a big step… and do it in a way to protect the public health,” Murphy said at his daily press briefing on the pandemic.

• One day after signing an executive order to permit curbside commerce at non-essential retail businesses, Murphy announced a partial restoration of oceanfront and lakefront activity in time for the summer-inaugurating holiday.

Effective May 22, boardwalk restaurants, like all others statewide, will be permitted to operate on a takeout-only basis. Shops, like other retail operations statewide, will not be allowed to let customers in, but must instead conduct “curbside” transactions or deliveries, Murphy said.

Social distancing regulations will apply except to families and members of individual households, he said.

“There will be swimming,” Murphy said, and beach towns will not be permitted to restrict access to non-residents, he said.

“No one will be discriminated against,” he said. “No community can turn a public beach into a de facto private one. All visitors must have the ability to enjoy our state’s greatest natural resource.”

Murphy ordered all boardwalk restrooms be opened and maintained, a directive he also applied to parks statewide, two weeks after he lifted a ban on park visits.

“This is a big step,” he said of the beach openings in time for the summer season. “This is going to evolve over time to see how we do, and the out-of-doors activity gives us more degrees of freedom.”

• The state Health Department is investigating 17 cases of minors being hospitalized with possible cases of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said at the briefing.

On Wednesday, Persichilli put the number at 18, but said Thursday that one had been found not to match the definition.

“This is a rare condition, but it can be treated,” she said, adding that health authorities “have not established a clear link to COVID-19.”

The patients range in age from 2 to 18 years old, and were in hospitals in nine counties, including an unspecified location in Monmouth County.

Four have tested positive for COVID-19, and the others were under investigation, she said Wednesday, but offered no update on those cases Thursday.

•  Murphy’s administration also reported 244 more COVID-19 deaths statewide, for a total 9,946.

Of those, 14 more were in Monmouth County, bringing the county’s total to 480, according to the health department database.

The county’s tally of deaths associated with longterm care facilities rose by 12, to 354, the state reported.

•  Here are the latest statewide COVID-19 figures, according to the state Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard:

Deaths since March 10: 9,946, up 244 from Wednesday’s report

Positive tests: 142,704, up 1,216

Patients in hospitals: 3,958, down 268

Patients in intensive/critical care: 1,159, down 69

Patients on ventilators: 898, down 30

Patients discharged in preceding 24 hours: 366, down 16

 •  Monmouth County reported 7,200 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, an increase of 60 from Wednesday. Here’s the cumulative case totals by town:

  • Aberdeen: 215
  • Allenhurst: 5
  • Allentown: 7
  • Asbury Park: 178
  • Atlantic Highlands: 30
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 12
  • Belmar: 28
  • Bradley Beach: 42
  • Brielle: 27
  • Colts Neck: 73
  • Deal: 24
  • Eatontown: 248
  • Englishtown: 37
  • Fair Haven: 22, unchanged from Wednesday
  • Farmingdale: 14
  • Freehold Borough: 357
  • Freehold Township: 592
  • Hazlet: 255
  • Highlands: 26
  • Holmdel: 226
  • Howell: 581
  • Interlaken: 2
  • Keansburg: 156
  • Keyport: 84
  • Lake Como: 16
  • Little Silver: 34, unchanged
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 425
  • Manalapan: 437
  • Manasquan: 30
  • Marlboro: 418
  • Matawan: 170
  • Middletown: 602
  • Millstone Township: 80
  • Monmouth Beach: 19
  • Neptune City: 53
  • Neptune Township: 423
  • Ocean: 263
  • Oceanport: 58
  • Red Bank: 171, unchanged
  • Roosevelt: 6
  • Rumson: 32
  • Sea Bright: 9
  • Sea Girt: 13
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 48
  • Shrewsbury Township: 9
  • Spring Lake: 13
  • Spring Lake Heights: 17
  • Tinton Falls: 182
  • Union Beach: 39
  • Upper Freehold: 47
  • Wall: 285
  • West Long Branch: 58
  • Unknown: 1

 

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