Gov. Murphy: June Reopen Possible; 351 More NJ Coronavirus Deaths

NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy said a June or July reopening of the state is possible as he announced the latest numbers of the coronavirus outbreak during a Wednesday news conference: 2,625 new cases and 351 more deaths (you can watch it here, below).

Before the news conference, Murphy told MSNBC that a June or July reopening is possible if New Jersey and the federal government do what they need to do to “get back to normal.”

“I personally think in the warmer weather, we could begin to find our footing, assuming again that we’ve got the health care infrastructure, especially broad-scale testing, that we’re going to need to give us that confidence,” he said. “I think this is a June or July much better reality if we keep doing our part, especially stay at home right now.”

For that to happen, Murphy told MSNBC, New Jersey needs rapid testing “that we don’t have now” to be comprehensive throughout the state — with the federal government’s help — because “once you eliminate community spread, you can’t let that come in the back door.” He also said New Jersey needs contact tracing to be effective.

Murphy said during the news conference that New Jersey needs to get the daily case number down as close as possible to zero, or something he considers a “manageable reality.” He said there also needs to be protocols in place for a health care infrastructure that “frankly, we don’t have at the moment.”

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Broad-scale testing and robust contact tracing, Murphy said, could lead to a “responsible reopening.”

“Nothing — and I do mean nothing — would make us happier to come out of this realizing we overprepared. That’s our new best-case scenario,” Murphy said. “Because that means you took to heart our call to social distance at all times and to stay home.”

New Jersey now has a total of 71,039 and 3,156 deaths from the coronavirus. Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here’s What You Need To Know

New Jersey had among its lowest daily number of reported cases in more than a week: 2,625. The state still has 8,270 hospitalized, and of those, 1,980 are in critical condition. Also, 1,705 ventilators are in use, although 709 people were discharged on Tuesday.

Murphy said he believes social distancing has worked to help “flatten” the curve of new cases, showing that nearly entire state now has seen its doubling rate slow to every seven days or more. Two weeks ago, new cases were doubling across the state nearly every day.

The death total of 351 was the second highest daily number reported so far, falling behind only Tuesday’s total. Murphy, however, said the number doesn’t mean that all of the victims died in the same day, because reporting can lag.

Murphy also paid tribute to people who died:

This is a developing story. Patch will have more information as it comes in.

Earlier, Murphy signed nine bills into law that he says will help the state battle the coronavirus outbreak. One will expand family leave to those impacted. Read more: NJ Gov. Phil Murphy Signs 9 Coronavirus Bills Into Law

Here’s what you should know as New Jersey is making big decisions on deadlines for schools, taxes, phone and cable bills that are coming quickly. Read more: Schools, Taxes, Internet: Big Decisions For NJ Amid Coronavirus

Watch Murphy here:

New Jersey Coronavirus Updates: Don’t miss local and statewide announcements about novel coronavirus precautions. Sign up for Patch alerts and daily newsletters.

Here’s what else you should know:

How It Spreads

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19.

While the best way to prevent illness is to avoid virus exposure, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention always recommends taking preventive actions to contain the spread of viruses. This includes:

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