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News

'We're Going To Tighten Screws,' Murphy Vows As List Of NJ Coronavirus Cases Reaches 890

Gov. Phil Murphy at Friday's COVID-19 news briefing.
Gov. Phil Murphy at Friday's COVID-19 news briefing. Photo Credit: Screengrab

State officials will tighten social distancing requirements in New Jersey sometime before Saturday afternoon, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday, as the statewide total of deaths from the coronavirus grew to 11 and the total number of positive cases continued a sharp rise to 890.

Only the governor didn't say how that will be done.

"We're going to tighten the screws further, " Murphy said at an afternoon news briefing. He didn't elaborate, however.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday ordered that 100% of the workforce stay home -- excluding essential businesses such as food stores and pharmacies and services such as utilities -- and that all non-essential gatherings of groups "of ANY size for ANY reason" be cancelled.

Murphy hadn't yet taken what are considered drastic measures as of Friday afternoon.

An Essex County man in his 30s and Bergenfield man in his 50s were among the latest New Jersey coronavirus deaths that the governor reported.

SEE: Bergenfield Resident, 52, Killed By Coronavirus

Murphy also reported 155 new presumptive positive cases Friday, which he attributed to increased testing along with community spread.

The state's first drive-thru COVID-19 test center opened several hours earlier at Bergen County Community College in Paramus -- and then closed fairly quickly amid a line of vehicles that stretched for miles.

Swabs were taken from 600 residents before the operation reached capacity and had to be closed down at noon, four hours earlier than planned, state officials said.

SEE: NJ Coronavirus Testing Site In Paramus Closes After Only Four Hours

Testing will resume for 350 residents at 8 a.m. on Saturday, officials said.

A second testing site will be opened at 8 a.m. Monday at the PNC Bank Center in Holmdel, just off the Garden State Parkway, Murphy said, explaining that more time was needed to prepare it.

Four of the state's 11 deaths reported Friday were out of Bergen County.

Of the 155 new positive cases reported, Bergen had 48 (31%).

It was the same amount as Passaic, Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties combined and more than all of New Jersey's other counties combined (see figures below).

Good overall health is the best safeguard against contracting COVID-19, State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.

Those most at risk typically have an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, hypertension or obesity, she said.

Insurance co-pays are being waived for those being tested, Murphy said.

Once again, he pleaded with the public that only those state residents with COVID-19 symptoms -- a fever of 99.6 degrees or above, shortness of breath and a cough – show up for testing. 

"We want those who feel healthy to step back," the governor said. 

County-by-county breakdown of newest positive NJ cases (totals in parenthesis):

  • Bergen -- 48 (249)
  • Middlesex -- 11 (76)
  • Essex -- 8 (73)
  • Burlington -- 2 (17)
  • Hudson -- 9 (66)
  • Monmouth -- 10 (53)
  • Ocean -- 15 (49)
  • Passaic -- 12 (49)
  • Union -- 9 (43)
  • Morris -- 4 (35)
  • Somerset -- 4 (28)
  • Mercer -- 3 (22)
  • Burlington -- 0 (17)
  • Camden - 0 (11)
  • Hunterdon -- 2 (11)
  • Sussex -- 1 (3)
  • Atlantic -- 0 (3)
  • Gloucester -- 0 (3)
  • Warren -- 0 (3)
  • Cape May -- 0 (1)
  • Cumberland -- 0 (1)
  • Salem -- 0 (0)

98 cases remained under investigation.

WATCH a video of Murphy's daily briefing by clicking here. 

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