Murphy said he plans on Monday to outline “broad principles” for the steps the state needs to take to begin gradually lifting restrictions and reopening the economy.

New Jersey got good news and bad news Friday in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
The rate of hospitalizations, critical care patients, ventilator use, and deaths are dropping, state officials said.
But the number of cases and deaths rose again, and Gov. Phil Murphy said a number of counties mostly in South Jersey slid backward when it comes to the rate of infection.
We had 253 people die today, Murphy said during his daily press briefing in Trenton. We saw the heat map go the wrong direction. Positive tests are still going up. Theyre not plateauing or going down. Hospitalizations, thats good news. That is going down.
Thus, the governor stressed, the Garden State still one of the nations coronavirus hotspots must remain under his orders for almost all 9 million residents to stay home and for nonessential businesses to close to help lessen the virus spread.
Thats even though a record number of residents have filed for unemployment, businesses are losing untold revenue, and the state is hemorrhaging tax revenue during the pandemic, leading Murphy to warn that massive layoffs of public workers could be on the table without direct aid from the federal government.
Were not out of the woods yet, Murphy said. Were not there yet.
In all, New Jersey reported 3,047 new COVID-19 positive tests Friday, with 253 new deaths attributed to the virus, bringing the statewide total to at least 102,196 cases and 5,617 fatalities in the seven weeks since the outbreak started here. Only New York has more cases and deaths among U.S. states.
Those numbers are cumulative. Murphy noted they does not subtract the likely tens of thousands of New Jerseyans who have tested positive and recovered.
Still, its difficult to know exactly how much the virus has spread here because state-run laboratories test only symptomatic people, test results can lag for days, and the state is not reporting significant daily increases in testing.
Regardless, state officials say hospitalizations are a known quantity. And as of As of 10:30 p.m. Thursday, 6,847 patients with COVID-19 or under investigation for it were hospitalized in New Jersey.
Of those, 1,933 were in critical care and 1,497 were on ventilators.
Meanwhile, there were 385 new hospitalizations but 778 discharges between 10:30 p.m. Wednesday and 10:30 p.m. Thursday.
Murphy said discharges are exceeding admittances and the three-day trend line is generally moving in the right direction down.
State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the total hospitalizations Friday mark a 17% decrease, from a high of 8,2093 on April 14; the critical care patients mark a 6.6% decrease, from a high of 2,069 on April 13; and the ventilator use marks a 12.8% decrease, from a high of 1,705 on April 14.
Persichilli added that only 77% percent of critical care patients are on ventilators down from 99% on April 10.
We need everyone to continue to adhere to social distancing measures to ensure these hospitalization measures continue to go in the right direction, she said.
On the downside, Murphy presented a map that showed seven counties are doubling their number of cases in 14 days or fewer a shorter amount of time than in previous days.
The counties are Warren, Mercer, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Salem, and Atlantic. Murphy did not explain why this may have happened.
We cannot let that happen, the governor said.
Persichilli has said in recent days that the virus is moving south, with North Jersey likely having seen its peak in hospitalizations but hospitals in Central Jersey now seeing a surge. She also said that even with a drop, the state will likely deal with heavy hospitalizations through mid-May.
When he announced his strictest orders March 21, Murphy said one major goal of the lockdown orders was to slow the virus spread to make sure hospitals werent overloaded.
But even though the numbers are getting better, the governor said, the state needs to make sure the numbers drop further so cases and deaths dont jump sharply again.
Murphy said he plans on Monday to outline broad principles” for the steps the state needs to take to begin gradually lifting restrictions and reopening the economy.
This does not benefit me or any of us personally to stand in the way if the facts suggest we should proceed, the governor said. When facts suggest we should proceed, we will proceed.
Murphy says the state needs to nearly double its daily testing and establish contact tracing and quarantine programs before the state can begin to reopen.
On Thursday, the governor championed a new saliva test developed by Rutgers University that officials said could more than double the amount of daily testing in the state, with results in less than 48 hours.
Meanwhile, state officials Thursday said the hospital discharge numbers do include deaths.
Asked whether this is a fair assessment for how well the state is doing managing the outbreak, Murphy noted the deaths did not all come within the past 24 hours.
Theres no hiding the pea, he said. Theres a different timeframe associated with these. And not everybody dies in a hospital.
Murphy said he did not have a breakdown for how many residents died in hospitals.
That does not take away from what we believe are significant stabilizations, he said.
Murphy said the state is also going through a rigorous process to make sure fatality numbers are as accurate as possible.
Officials said they officially consider a confirmed death anybody that has tested positive for COVID-19 and has died. A large percentage of the victims also had underlying conditions.
Officials also said they are considering counting deaths of people who had symptoms of the virus but were not tested.
We definitely need those numbers, Persichilli said.
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