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COVID-19 UPDATES: Atlantic County to now offer COVID-19 testing without prescription

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MURPHYCOVID0529A

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy puts his mask back on as he wraps up his Friday, May 29, 2020, press conference at War Memorial in Trenton, NJ, on the State’s response to the coronavirus.

Atlantic County will continue to provide COVID-19 testing at its drive-through facility in Northfield and will now accept both symptomatic and asymptomatic county residents with or without a prescription, in accordance with the state’s effort to expand testing accessibility.

The county has provided testing for symptomatic residents since April 9. Out of more than 2,200 residents tested to date,  77% have tested negative.

The county’s next testing date is Tuesday, July 14. Appointments are required and can be made online at www.aclink.org. Proof of county residency and testing confirmation must be presented at testing.

Eight new cases of COVID-19 were announced in Cape May County on Wednesday, according to information released by the county health department.

Five cases were in Lower Township, two cases were in Middle Township and one case was in West Cape May, the health department said.

The total positive cases of COVID-19 infection in Cape May County is now 808, including 71 deaths, the health deparment said. Additionally, there are 13 new out of county positive cases that are included in the total number of 129 non-resident active cases.

New Jersey has 174,039 total COVID-19 positive cases and 13,476 deaths, the health department said.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday announced that everyone will be required to wear masks outside in public when social distancing isn't possible to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“This is absolutely vital when individuals find themselves in a crowded situation, such as when walking down a packed Boardwalk or in a line that is not properly spaced apart,” Murphy said during a livestreamed briefing with other state officials.

There are exceptions to the mandate, including children under 2-years-old, while eating or drinking at an outdoor restaurant and when wearing a mask would inhibit a person’s health or safety, Murphy said.

Murphy said the outdoor mask mandate is going to be hard to enforce, deferring to the details for penalties in the forthcoming executive order.

New Jersey was the first state to mandate face coverings inside indoor businesses as they reopened, Murphy said, calling it “the right call from the get-go and it has saved lives.”

Although it was a step Murphy said he hoped he wouldn’t have to take, the mandate comes from a “backslide in compliance” as the weather has gotten warmer and the rate of transmission for the virus has increased to 1.10.

“Wearing a face covering, I remind you, is not about politics,” Murphy said. “It’s about quite simply being sick, or being healthy. It’s about life and death. It’s about showing others that you care about their health, especially if you’ve not been tested and you don’t know if you’re an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus. It’s about showing your community what side you’re on in the fight against COVID-19.”

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey has increased by 335, bringing the total to 174,039, Murphy said. There have been 53 additional deaths, bringing the state total to 13,476.

There are also 1,947 probable deaths, he said.

There are 935 people hospitalized across the state, including 175 people in intensive care and 142 people on ventilators, Murphy said.

So far, Atlantic County has reported 3,055 cases with 213 deaths and 1,620 cleared as recovered. Cape May County has reported 800 cases with 71 deaths and 649 designated off quarantine. Cumberland County has reported 2,524 cases with 137 deaths.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Included in the totals are two additional fatalities and 10 additional cases that Atlantic County officials reported Wednesday.

The deaths included a 71-year-old Absecon woman and an 82-year-old Linwood man, according to a news release from county spokeswoman Linda Gilmore. The new positives were among three men, ages 19 to 67, and seven girls and women, ages 14 to 49.

Three new positives were found in both Hamilton Township and Hammonton, while two were identified in Pleasantville, and one each in Egg Harbor Township and Somers Point, according to the release. An additional 39 county residents were cleared as recovered.

Atlantic County health officials encouraged residents and visitors to follow the recommended federal and state guidelines to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 by wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and hygiene protocols such as frequent handwashing and disinfecting common-touch areas, according to the release. Those who are sick and have symptoms of COVID-19 or respiratory illness are advised by officials to self-isolate and contact their healthcare provider.

Also during the briefing, Murphy said that officials will be allowing restaurants with at least two open sides to be considered outdoor dining and may reopen for in-person service.

“I have nothing but sympathy to the businesses and employees impacted, but we’re just not ready to open up indoor dining,” Murphy said.

In addition, Murphy announced that the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission offices will be open on Mondays through the rest of the month, which means they’ll be open six days a week.

The announcement came after the offices reopened yesterday to long lines that exceeded capacity. 

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday announced that everyone will be required to wear masks outside in public when social distancing isn't possible to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Murphy said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he is signing an executive order today mandating the practice, according to NJ.com.

“There’s no question that face coverings are game-changers,” Murphy said, according to the outlet. “I think we were the first state in America to require them indoors. They’ve been strongly recommended out-of-doors. We’re gonna turn that up a notch today and say, We’re gonna ask you: If you can’t socially distance, it’s gonna be required.”

Access to Malibu Beach, also known as Dog Beach, will be prohibited through July 27 due to state-mandated employee furloughs, officials said.

The beach is situated at the Ocean City-Longport Bridge, in Egg Harbor Township. 

The state Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish & Wildlife is temporarily restricting access to some Wildlife Management Areas throughout the month of July, after officials reached agreements between the state and public employee unions to address the economic downtown resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency, according to a news release.

The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife manages the state’s Wildlife Management Areas, and is authorized to limit access to these areas in order to protect public health, safety, and the environment during this time pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:25-2.26, according to a news release.

For a list of Wildlife Management Areas affected by the temporary access restrictions, visit https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/wmas.htm

The fifth food distribution for Atlantic City residents and casino workers is slated for Thursday at Bader Field. 

The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, together with the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, Atlantic City officials, AFL-CIO, Local 54 and other private donors have provided funding to offer food services for Atlantic City residents and casino workers, according to a news release.

The distribution is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Thursday, according to the release. It's a drive-up event and food will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Registration is required at the Community Food Bank website, https://cfbnj.org/.

State officials scheduled a 1 p.m. briefing Wednesday to update residents on the spread of COVID-19.

Appearing for the briefing will be Gov. Phil Murphy, Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, Department of Health Communicable Disease Service Medical Director Dr. Edward Lifshitz and State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan.

Source: State of New Jersey Department of Health

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

GALLERY: Community Food Bank of New Jersey food distribution event at Bader Field

Contact: 609-272-7241

mbilinski@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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