nj hospitalizations 051820Statewide data shows sustained improvement by key measures in recent weeks, Murphy said. (New Jersey Department of Health data. Click to enlarge.)


HOT-TOPIC_03Governor Phil Murphy laid out a staged approach to getting the Garden State to a “new normal” way of life following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan, announced Monday at his daily briefing on the crisis, came as he also eased restrictions on outdoor activities such as community gardening and batting cages.

• Murphy’s plan, unveiled as “non-essential” retail stores were allowed to resume limited commerce Monday, calls for permitting additional businesses to reopen in stages “according to their risk level and the challenges they will face to safeguard public health,” he said.

“This will not be everyone at once,” he said.

The next step, under an executive order he signed Monday, allows private tennis clubs, community gardens, batting cages, driving ranges and more to reopen, effective Friday. Golfers, who in recent weeks had been limited to playing in pairs, will again be able to play in foursomes, he said.

The latest loosening of his March 21 “stay home” order, which effectively paralyzed the state economy, focus on “activities in which social distancing can be most readily maintained and public health and safety can be most readily protected,” Murphy said. “None of our moves have been arbitrary.”

The plan envisions an eventual reopening of bars, restaurants and other businesses that put customers and providers in prolonged close contact.

“The hardest nuts to crack will be indoor, sedentary, no ventilation realities,” he said. But his administration “won’t sit on this if we feel the data allows us to move forward,” he said.

Murphy again declined to attach dates to future measures, but said the state is heading to a “new normal” in which wearing protective face coverings becomes as routine as waiting in line for a security check at an airport in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

• Statewide, the pandemic has killed or played a role in the deaths of 10,435 residents, according to Monday’s update to the New Jersey Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard.

Separately, the state reported an additional death from the illness at Hackensack Meridian Health longterm care facility on Chapin Avenue in Red Bank. It was the 13th death at the facility, the report said.

• Monmouth County reported 7,448 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Monday, an increase of 79 from Sunday. Here are the cumulative case totals by town:

    • Aberdeen: 220
    • Allenhurst: 5
    • Allentown: 7
    • Asbury Park: 194
    • Atlantic Highlands: 31
    • Avon-by-the-Sea: 13
    • Belmar: 31
    • Bradley Beach: 43
    • Brielle: 27
    • Colts Neck: 75
    • Deal: 24
    • Eatontown: 256
    • Englishtown: 38
    • Fair Haven: 24, unchanged from Sunday
    • Farmingdale: 13
    • Freehold Borough: 363
    • Freehold Township: 607
    • Hazlet: 267
    • Highlands: 26
    • Holmdel: 230
    • Howell: 584
    • Interlaken: 4
    • Keansburg: 170
    • Keyport: 88
    • Lake Como: 16
    • Little Silver: 34, unchanged
    • Loch Arbour: 1
    • Long Branch: 462
    • Manalapan: 439
    • Manasquan: 30
    • Marlboro: 430
    • Matawan: 174
    • Middletown: 612
    • Millstone Township: 82
    • Monmouth Beach: 19
    • Neptune City: 54
    • Neptune Township: 446
    • Ocean: 277
    • Oceanport: 59
    • Red Bank: 182, up 3
    • Roosevelt: 6
    • Rumson: 33
    • Sea Bright: 10
    • Sea Girt: 14
    • Shrewsbury Borough: 49
    • Shrewsbury Township: 9
    • Spring Lake: 13
    • Spring Lake Heights: 18
    • Tinton Falls: 182
    • Union Beach: 40
    • Upper Freehold: 49
    • Wall: 309
    • West Long Branch: 59

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

Deaths since March 10: 10,435, up 79 from Sunday’s report

Positive tests: 148,039. up ,705

Patients in hospitals: 3,509, up 98

Patients in intensive/critical care: 1,053, up 23

Patients on ventilators: 819, unchanged

Patients discharged in preceding 24 hours: 190, down 143