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LIVE UPDATES: Gov. Murphy announces 1,982 more positives, 27 deaths

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Virus Outbreak-Connecticut

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that the state had 1,982 new positive cases for COVID-19, bringing the total to 8,825.

In the governor's daily coronavirus briefing, he also confirmed 27 new deaths caused by the disease. New Jersey now has 108.

On Saturday, the drive-through testing centers at Bergen County College and PNC Bank Arts Center will be reserved for symptomatic healthcare and emergency workers to get tested. Officials must bring a valid credential to get tested. The facilities will be closed to the public Saturday, and reopened Sunday on a staggered schedule. Bergen County College will be the only facility open, allowing it to test up to 500 people. On Monday, PNC Bank Arts Center will open with BCC being closed.

Murphy stressed that testing should only be done for symptomatic persons.

"We need to know we're testing the right people and not wasting tests," he said. "Our best metric for ensuring that our resources are being put to proper work is by testing the right people."

According to state Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, New Jersey has seen a positivity rate of 33.4% for symptomatic persons tested. She added, however, that due to the overwhelming volume of testing, results take about a week to come back, meaning the results of the state's social distancing mandate have yet to show.

Murphy also said the state has been in discussions with mortgage lenders to delay payments. He said that he will announce a more definitive update in Saturday's briefing.

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Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard Desiderio said Friday the city's beaches and the resort’s oceanfront Promenade are closed to the public until further notice.

“Sea Isle City’s beach and Promenade are our greatest attraction, and as such are a prime spot for social gatherings, that we’ve been ordered by Gov. Murphy to stop,” said the mayor. “Our challenge in local government is to take the necessary steps to ensure that we enable everyone to comply with the governor’s orders not to have social gatherings and to maintain proper social distancing.”

Three more Atlantic County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Friday.

The three men include two in their 20s, both of whom are recovering at home, and a third in his late 50s, who is hospitalized, according to a news release from county spokeswoman Linda Gilmore. 

There are now a total of 14 cases of the new coronavirus throughout the county. There are nine in Cape May County and three in Cumberland County.

Source: State of New Jersey Department of Health

Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small Sr. confirmed Thursday night that two city residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We expect as this thing continues to grow that the numbers will continue to grow as well,” Small said in a Facebook live video. “So it’s important that we heed to our public health officials, that we’re not making emotional decisions, that we’re not making selfish decisions, but in the best interest of our community and our city.”

Small reiterated his decision to keep the Boardwalk open through Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay at home order so that residents to get outside and exercise while practicing social distancing.

“However, if I continue to get information that I’m receiving of people gathering on the Boardwalk, not practicing social distancing, as quick as I made the decision to keep it open, I will close it without hesitation because public safety is paramount,” he said.

He also said that he’s received reports of people trying to loot on the Boardwalk at night.

“As many of you know, our Boardwalk is full of surveillance cameras,” Small said. “Don’t think you’re getting away. And our fine men and women of the police department will punish you to the fullest extent of the law.”

Director of Emergency Management Scott Evans, who also serves as the city’s fire chief, said that city officials have been watching the spread of new coronavirus since March 18.

“The current situation has changed dramatically in the state of New Jersey,” Evans said, outlining the increasing numbers of cases throughout the state. “This is very serious … We need everyone in the community to help.”

He asked residents to follow directions from the state Department of Health, emergency management officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adding that the numbers are going to grow more.

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An Ocean County man was charged Thursday after hosting a wedding in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order mandating social distancing and barring gatherings, officials said.

Officers from the Lakewood Township Police Department responded to a Wayne Street residence for a report of a gathering of about 40 people, according to a news release from the county Prosecutor’s Office.

It was in violation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s Saturday executive order that bans individuals from gatherings for weddings, parties, celebrations or social events to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

William Katzenstein, 39, the owner of the property, was issued a summons and received a court date, according to the release. Officials dispersed the gathering.

“We understand that everyone’s daily routine has been affected by the coronavirus and our State’s effort to isolate and contain the spread of this outbreak,” Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said. “It’s not easy. We understand how difficult it is change your way of living. We are all adapting as best we can.  We all need to recognize the vital role we all have in flattening the curve of this outbreak. Stay home, practice social distancing and please be considerate of the risks our men and women in law enforcement are facing every day.”

State officials scheduled a 2 p.m. briefing Friday to update the public on the spread of the COVID-19.

Appearing for the briefing will be 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.

During Thursday’s briefing, Murphy announced that the number of positive cases of COVID-19 has increased by 2,492, bringing the total number of cases to 6,876 across the state. There have been 19 additional deaths, bringing the total to 81.

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.

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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