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COVID-19 UPDATES: Borgata reopens Thursday for invited guests

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Borgata reopens

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa reopened Thursday for invited guests after being shuttered for months to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa reopened to invited guests Thursday.

Atlantic City’s casinos were permitted to resume operations July 2, following a nearly four-month industry-wide closure due to the coronavirus.

Borgata, an MGM Resorts International property, originally planned to reopen July 6. But, two days before Atlantic City casinos were set to reopen, Gov. Phil Murphy reversed course on permitting indoor dining to resume. As a result, Borgata put the brakes on a reopening plan.

It will reopen to the general public at 10 a.m. July 26.

Follow @ACPressDanzis on Twitter for updates. 

Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday announced a $6 million small business lease emergency assistance grant program.

The program, run through the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority for the 64 communities covered by the authority, will be paid for through federal CARES Act funding, Murphy said during a news conference in Monmouth County.

“This is part of the broader Main Street Commercial Corridors Relief program that will provide small businesses in Redevelopment Authority-covered municipalities with up to $10,000 in direct help to pay their rent,” Murphy said. “By the way, that helps, obviously, the businesses, but it helps the property owners as well. Many of them in fact are small businesses themselves and it helps all of the above weather this challenging time.”

He described the communities that “have worked hard to re-energize and redefine themselves” and where “entrepreneurs have put it all on the line to chase a dream, and where property owners have invested their time and money in the vitality of these communities.”

Atlantic City, as well as Bridgeton in Cumberland County, are both municipalities covered by the authority.

Murphy gave the announcement at Long Branch City Hall.

During the conference, Murphy also gave an update on number of positive cases of COVID-19.

The number of cases in New Jersey has increased by 344, bringing the total to 177,887, Murphy said. There have been 23 additional deaths, bringing the state total to 13,810.

“We’ve hit some reporting lags at some of our labs processing tests and we continue to work to get updated data,” Murphy said. “However, what the current data can tell us is that social distancing, wearing that face covering – that stuff works – and it tells us that everyone should go get tested.”

Of the confirmed deaths, four of them happened in the past five days, Murphy said. There are also 1,920 probable 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.

In addition, Murphy commented on the new unemployment data published by the state Department of Labor this morning.

“Over the past four months — it’s hard to believe this — but 1.4 million New Jerseysians have filed claims for unemployment,” he said. “It’s extraordinary.”

The total included 26,000 new claims filed last week, he said. However, the number of new claims is trending down.

NJ Transit received more than 245,000 cloth masks that will be made available to customers after a donation from the federal government, officials said Thursday.

The masks were donated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration, or FTA, according to a news release.

Last week, and continuing through the end of this week, NJ Transit Customer Service Ambassadors began distributing masks at numerous stations, officials said. Customers were provided with the FTA-donated cloth masks if they needed a face covering. Major terminals will maintain a limited supply of masks at customer service offices in the event customers forget or lose their masks.

“Federal and state health officials have declared that the challenges of distancing on mass transit make wearing face coverings to stop the spread of the virus absolutely essential. Wearing a proper face covering correctly, along with every day preventive actions, helps protect your fellow riders and our frontline employees, and their masks help protect you,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett. “We thank the Trump Administration, specifically U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Acting FTA Administrator K. Jane Williams, for this generous donation that allows us to add another layer of protection for our customers and employees.”

Atlantic County officials on Thursday reported 18 additional COVID-19 cases and no new deaths.

The new cases were confirmed among 11 boy and men, ages 11-85, and seven women, ages 19-85, according to news release from county spokeswoman Linda Gilmore.

The cases were found as follows: three each in Egg Harbor Township, Galloway and Hamilton Township; two in Margate; and one each in Atlantic City, Buena Borough, Egg Harbor City, Folsom, Linwood, Pleasantville and Somers Point, according to the release.

So far, Atlantic County has reported 3,297 cases with 228 deaths and 1,866 cleared as recovered.  Cape May County has reported 925 cases with 81 deaths and 703 designated off quarantine. Cumberland County has reported 2,606 cases with 142 deaths.

Atlantic County will continue to provide Covid-19 testing at its drive-thru facility in Northfield at Rt. 9 and Dolphin Avenue, behind the county public works yard according to the release. The test site is now available for both symptomatic and asymptomatic county residents with or without a doctor’s prescription.

Residents must make an appointment for testing and provide proof of county residency and appointment confirmation, officials said.

Testing will next occur on Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., according to the release. If available, appointments can be made online at www.aclink.org.

Officials asked those who are unable to keep their appointments to cancel no less than 24 hours in advance so others may have an opportunity to fill those spots.

A list of additional testing locations in Atlantic County is available at: https://www.atlantic-county.org/covid/additional-testing-locations.asp

Cape May County officials on Thursday announced that drive-thru COVID-19 testing will be available later this month.

The county Department of Health and CompleteCare Health Network are partnering to open drive-thru COVID-19 testing clinics, Freeholder Jeff Pierson said in a news release.

The first drive-thru will be held on July 30th by appointment only at the Cape May County Fire Academy, 171 Crest Haven Road in Cape May Court House starting at 8 a.m., according tot he release. Other testing dates will be scheduled based on community need.

Patients must first be screened for symptoms or exposure via a telemedicine visit by a CompleteCare provider, according to the release. Appointments for screenings can be requested by visiting CompleteCareNJ.org and clicking the Request an Appointment tab or calling 609-465-0258.

Once the appointment request is received, patients will receive a call back from a CompleteCare representative to help schedule a visit, officials said. If testing is required, a prescription will be sent to the Health Department who will then call to schedule a drive-thru testing time.

The full process for scheduling an appointment for COVID-19 drive-thru testing and more information about the virus can be found at CompleteCareNJ.org/COVID19.

CompleteCare accepts Medicaid, Medicare as well as private insurance plans and those without insurance, according tot he release.The test will be free of charge and no co-pay will be required for the screening.

The patient's insurance company will be billed for the test and screening, according to the release. For those who do not have insurance, the cost will be covered by the federal government.

Translation services are available for those in need, officials said.

This is a nasal saline test and results are usually available within 3-4 days, however recently some delays have been experienced due to a surge in testing, according to the release.

Officials recommended the following if a person feel sick:

  • Stay home except to get medical care. Most individuals with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. It is important that you do not leave your home, except to get medical care.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Call 9-1-1 or visit the emergency department if you are having trouble breathing or other serious symptoms.
  • Monitor your symptoms. Common symptoms include fever and cough. Trouble breathing is a more serious symptom that means you should get medical attention but call first.
  • Do not visit public places and avoid public transportation.
  • Separate yourself from other people in your home, this is known as “home isolation”. You want to stay away from others as much as possible. Create a “sick room” if possible.
  • Call your doctor ahead before visiting. Many medical visits for routine care are being postponed or done by phone or telemedicine.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.

For additional information, visit Cape May County Department of Health at www.cmchealth.net.

Atlantic County officials on Thursday announced help for parents with difficulties managing their children's behavior during the pandemic.

Families who are experiencing serious difficulties in managing the behavior of children 10-17 years old for whom they are responsible can seek assistance through the Atlantic County Juvenile/Family Crisis Intervention Unit, FCIU, according to a news release from the county.

FCIU is a legally mandated program that is available 24-hours to intercede in family conflicts and help strengthen the family unit, according ot the release. Its services include short-term crisis stabilization, family assessment, case management, treatment planning and referrals to appropriate community-based services. 

Due to New Jersey’s current COIVD-19 restrictions and physical distancing requirements, FCIU staff is not able to conduct face-to-face meetings at this time, but they remain available by phone, fax and email to help de-escalate and resolve family conflicts, officials said.

For further assistance, call 609-645-5861 or leave a voice mail message at 609-645-7700, extension 3443. You can also send an email to: dimatteo_heather@aclink.org.

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development has distributed $11.6 billion in unemployment benefits to New Jersey workers in the past 18 weeks, including $825 million last week alone, as the number of initial unemployment applications declined for the second straight week, state officials said Thursday.

For the week ending July 18, the Labor Department received 25,804 new applications for benefits from unemployed or furloughed workers, a 33 percent decline from the prior week, according to a news release. Over the past four weeks, the Department has received an average of just under 35,000 initial unemployment claims per week.

“While we’re pleased to see a gradual slowing of the rate of new unemployment claims, we are painfully aware of the unprecedented number of our fellow New Jerseyans who are struggling financially as a direct result of COVID-19,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “I couldn’t be more proud of our staff who have been working non-stop to provide an average of almost $10,000 in vital economic support to 1.2 million New Jerseyans during this difficult time. Nonetheless, we are mindful that some workers continue to wait for resolution of their cases, and we are making every effort to get them a determination quickly.”

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is opening Thursday.

In accordance with Governor Phil Murphy’s opening guidelines for waterparks, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor will operate with reduced attendance levels and in preview mode; then gradually increase attendance levels throughout the month, according to a news release from the park.

The waterpark will operate Thursday through Monday, July 23 through August, plus select days in September, officials said.

Like its sister park, Six Flags Great Adventure, the waterpark will implement extensive new safety measures and hygiene protocols, including several new advanced technology systems to protect guests and employees:

  • Online reservation system to manage attendance;
  • State-of-the-art thermal imaging for temperature checks;
  • Advanced security screening technology for touchless bag checks; and
  • Mobile food ordering

For more information, visit www.sixflags.com/hurricaneharborNJ.

Gov. Phil Murphy is scheduled to make an announcement Thursday at noon.

The details of the announcement, slated to be made at West End Park in Long Branch, Monmouth County, were not disclosed.

Then, at 2:30 p.m., Murphy is scheduled to hold a Facebook Live discussion on lowering the cost of healthcare.

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: Best of the Class of 2020 graduations in South Jersey

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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