Updated: 4-6-2020, 4:27 p.m.
Keep an eye on this page for information and local updates related to the novel coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2. The virus causes a disease that has been named COVID-19 — which is short for “coronavirus disease 2019.”
On April 4, Governor Phil Murphy announced that State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan would be signing an administrative order giving municipalities or counties the ability to prohibit all rentals to transient guests or seasonal tenants for the duration of this emergency, including at hotels and motels.
On April 1, Governor Murphy announced that the state’s income tax filing deadline and business tax filing deadline would be extended to July 15 to match the extension announced by the Internal Revenue Service for federal taxes. Along with this, he has extended the state of New Jersey’s fiscal year to Sept. 15 to give state offices extra time for things like creating budgets for the next fiscal year. The FAFSA deadline has also been extended to June 1.
Murphy also signed an executive order today that will provide more protections and flexibility for hospitals and front-line health care responders. Another executive order — signed on April 2 — will allow state police to commandeer personal protective equipment if there is a necessity to do so.
The state of New Jersey has created a website for information about COVID-19, located at: https://covid19.nj.gov/. The site has a jobs portal that currently has over 44,000 available job postings from more than 500 critical businesses across the state.
On March 26, the Delaware Memorial Bridge implemented cashless tolling for its southbound toll booths. E-ZPass customers may cross the bridge like they normally do, but motorists without E-ZPass will have their license plate captured and will receive a bill in the mail with no administrative fees attached. Cash customers who do not want to receive a bill may sign up for E-ZPass by calling the New Jersey E-ZPass Customer Service Center at 888-AUTO-TOLL (888-288-6865) or by visiting www.ezpassnj.com.
Additionally, the South Jersey Transportation Authority has suspended cash collection at all toll locations on the Atlantic City Expressway as a precaution to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Tolls will be collected electronically or with coins in exact-change lanes. As with the Delaware Memorial Bridge’s process outlined above, E-ZPass customers will not have to do anything differently and customers who typically use cash will be mailed an invoice with no additional fees.
On March 20, Governor Phil Murphy announced that testing fees for uninsured patients undergoing COVID-19 testing will be waived. “Every single New Jerseyan with symptoms must have access to COVID-19 testing if we are going to end this crisis,” said Governor Murphy. “Waiving testing fees for the uninsured is a critical step in allowing us to prevent more New Jerseyans from being infected and to identify those who already have been infected so they can get the care they need.”
Governor Murphy announced on March 16 several precautions the state of New Jersey will be instituting to help slow down the rate of COVID-19 infection and “flatten the curve.” On March 17 and 19, the governor added more restrictions, and on March 21 he adjusted the restrictions further to help slow the spread of the disease.
- Restricting all non-essential, non-emergency travel at all hours of the day
- Cancellation of all events with gatherings of any number of people
- Closure of all non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses effective 9 p.m. on 3/21 and to continue indefinitely
- Daycare Centers must certify that they are serving the children of workers in essential industries in order to remain open
- Closure of all public, private, and parochial pre-K, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities beginning 3/18
- Closure of all casinos, racetracks, theaters, gyms, fitness centers, nightclubs, etc.
- Closure of all personal care businesses that cannot abide by social distancing guidelines, such as barbershops, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors, etc.
- Closure of indoor malls and amusement parks
As of 8 p.m. on March 16, all bars and restaurants will cease dine-in operations until further notice. These establishments may continue with takeout and delivery service — and this restriction will continue during daytime hours.
The World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on March 11.
On March 9, Governor Phil Murphy declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency for New Jersey. The official release states: “Executive Order No. 103 declares a state of emergency and public health emergency across all 21 counties in New Jersey, allowing state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases.”
Governor Murphy also announced efforts to support consumer access to COVID-19 screening, testing, and testing-related services. According to a statement from the governor’s office, the administration’s efforts will “waive consumer cost sharing for all medically necessary COVID-19 testing, as well as services related to testing. This waiver includes emergency room, urgent care, and office visits related to COVID-19 testing for the state’s individual, small and large group markets; the State Health Benefits and School Employee Health Benefits Plans; NJ FamilyCare’s CHIP population; and the state’s uninsured population, eligible for the Charity Care program.”
Currently, there are 41,090 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey and 1,003 deaths. All New Jersey counties currently have confirmed cases, now that Salem County has its first confirmed case, according to NJ.com. New Jersey has, as of April 6, tested over 84,000 individuals for the virus.
The governor’s office held a briefing at 2 p.m. on April 6 to discuss the situation.
Current known locations of positive cases in South Jersey by county are listed below. For a full breakdown of all 21 New Jersey counties, please visit the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Atlantic County: 132 cases, 1 death
Camden County: 645 cases, 8 deaths
Cape May County: 85 cases, 3 deaths
Cumberland County: 64 cases, 2 deaths
Gloucester County: 279 cases, 3 deaths
Salem County: 29 cases, 2 deaths
Additionally, the governor has stated that plans are in place to increase the state’s testing capacity over the coming days. A COVID-19 testing center began operation at Bergen County College on March 20, testing approximately 600 people during its first day of operation. Another testing center opened in Holmdel on March 23, and as of March 31 there are over 25 locations where people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 can be tested. Testing locations in Cumberland County and Camden County have come online.
At this time, few of the tested patients in New Jersey who have contracted COVID-19 have been marked as “recovered.” The Atlantic County Division of Public Health released a statement on March 31 to say that five patients in the county have recovered from the disease. The press release added, “[most] individuals with mild or moderate symptoms of the virus, such as fever and cough, are able to recover at home in about “two or more weeks.”
According to a World Health Organization Press Briefing on March 9, Dr. Michael Ryan (Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme) said that it may take “up to six weeks” to recover from this disease for some patients.
What you can do to stop the spread of COVID-19:
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, and avoid touching your face.
- Disinfect commonly-touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, railings, desks, etc.
- Avoid large gatherings of people, and cancel unnecessary travel.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Call your doctor if you experience symptoms of: fever, cough, or shortness of breath. They will give you further instructions.
As of the time this page was updated, the current numbers stand at: 1,324,907 reported cases around the world, with 73,917 deaths and 275,832 listed as recovered.
The governor’s office has instructed anyone looking for more information about New Jersey’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak to visit nj.gov/health or call toll-free: NJ In-State Hotline 1-800-222-1222, or Out-of-State 1-800-962-1253. Residents can also text NJCOVID to 898-211 for updates. People can also visit covid19.nj.gov for updates and to access the statewide jobs portal with over 43,000 positions across more than 445 critical businesses.
For more information, visit the CDC’s page regarding the novel coronavirus.