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COVID-19: Murphy Calls For Cancellation Of Student Standardized Testing, Cases Jump To 3,675

NJ Gov. Phil Murphy
NJ Gov. Phil Murphy Photo Credit: Phil Murphy

New Jersey is the state with the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., officials said said Tuesday as cases jumped to 3,675.

Gov. Phil Murphy also announced he requested federal officials to waive student standardized testing in April (scroll for more on that).

An additional 846 cases were announced in the state, along with 17 more coronavirus-related deaths for a total of 44 fatalities, Murphy and Health Commissioner Judy Pershichilli said. Nine of those fatalities were associated with longterm care facilities, Persichilli said.

"While these numbers are sobering, they are also vital data," Murphy said.

New York had more than 25,000 cases Tuesday -- by far the most in the U.S.

Cases seem to be linked to nursing homes, she said, with nine of the fatalities associated with longterm care facilities.

Officials are working with the leadership of the St. Joseph's facility in Woodbridge to move residents to another facility -- which may result in closure, Persichilli said.

"[The center] has cared for the our most vulnerable population in Woodbridge and surrounding areas for decades," Persichilli said.

"This is the result of some of their employees home with influenza-like illness, and a number of residents who tested positive for COVID-19."

Officials have been monitoring the organization since Friday, and working with sisters who run it for an orderly transition.

The most recent deaths were in Bergen (5), Morris (3), Essex (2), Hudson (2) and one each in Monmouth, Camden, Passaic and Union counties, according to Persichilli.

The additional presumptive positive cases were reported in:

  • Bergen: 61
  • Burlington: 7
  • Camden: 16
  • Cape May: 1
  • Cumberland: 1
  • Essex: 63
  • Gloucester: 6
  • Hudson: 38
  • Hunterdon: 7
  • Mercer: 8
  • Monmouth: 53
  • Morris: 28
  • Ocean: 36
  • Passaic: 63
  • Somerset: 31
  • Sussex: 3
  • Union: 43
  • Warren: 3

There were an additional 316 under investigation.

"It takes time for us to see the impact of social distancing," Murphy said.

"I urge everyone to not be alarmed by numbers of positive test. the more we have the tests the more we can make decisions as opposed to educated guesses."

Officials have been expecting the number of cases to increase as testing facilities and abilities increase, Murphy said.

A new testing center is opening Wednesday for Passaic County residents only at William Paterson University in Wayne. A doctor's referral is required.

"We're doing everything we can to lessen the amount of sick people and fatalities," Murphy said.

A second shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) will soon be coming from the national stockpile to protect New Jersey's frontline healthcare workers, Murphy announced.

He also applied for a federal waiver to cancel student standardized testing in April, which wold not impact graduation requirements.

"With students at home and not in their regular classrooms, it is simply not meaningful for us to move forward with testing in any way," Murphy said.

This is a developing story. Check back for more.

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