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LIVE UPDATES: New Jersey COVID-19 cases up to 181,660, deaths to 13,944

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Murphy signs bill allowing $10B in debt to fill budget holes

FILE- In this April 25, 2020 file photo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during his daily press briefing at the the War Memorial in Trenton, N.J. Murphy signed legislation on Thursday, July 16, 2020, authorizing nearly $10 billion in debt to plug budget holes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, but Republicans sued him, arguing the bill runs afoul of the state constitution. (Chris Pedota/The Record via AP, File)

Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday that the spot positivity rate has risen to 2.15%, and put those “on notice” who have flouted restrictions.

South Jersey has the highest daily positivity in the state, with 3.01%.

“These numbers are setting off alarms. The only way to silence these alarms is by taking this seriously,” Murphy said during his daily briefing with other state officials. “Wear a mask. Stop hosting house parties. Now.”

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey has increased by 699, bringing the total to 181,660, Murphy said. There have been 10 additional deaths, bringing the state total to 13,944.

There are also 1,875 probable deaths.

The state also hit an “extraordinary” milestone, Murphy said – there has been no hospital confirmed COVID-19 death in past 24 hours, the first time that’s happened since mid-March.

There are 695 people hospitalized across the state, including 113 people in intensive care and 45 people on ventilators, Murphy said.

So far, Atlantic County has reported 3,539 cases with 239 deaths and 1,944 cleared as recovered. Cape May County has reported 975 cases with 81 deaths and 773 designated off quarantine. Cumberland County has reported 2,709 cases with 144 deaths.

Included in the totals are 42 additional positive cases that Atlantic County officials reported Friday.

They include 19 men, ages 22 to 80, and 23 girls and women, ages 1 to 67, according to a news release from county spokeswoman Linda Gilmore. There were seven in Atlantic City; six each in Absecon and Pleasantville; five each in Egg Harbor Township and Margate; three each in Hammonton and Longport; two in Egg Harbor City; and one each in Buena Borough, Galloway, Hamilton Township, Northfield and Ventnor.

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, each Tuesday in August, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., according to the release.

The test site is available for both symptomatic and asymptomatic county residents with or without a doctor’s prescription, officials said. Residents must make an appointment for testing and provide proof of county residency and appointment confirmation.

Appointments can be made online at 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:

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.

Also during the briefing, Murphy called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “despicable” for sending members to a long weekend before extending federal unemployment benefits.

“Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell sent the Senate home for the weekend without taking any action to renew federal unemployment benefits for millions of families,” he said. “Completely irresponsible and a dereliction of duty.”

Murphy also announced an update to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, where case data and fatalities are reported.

Now, the dashboard shows:

  • Number of cases can now be viewed by the date of illness onset
  • Breakdowns by race and ethnicity are given greater clarity
  • Posting the complete curve of confirmed deaths by date of death
  • Posting the dates of deaths we currently have listed as probable
  • Providing statewide and county-level trends in confirmed cases, deaths, and hospitalizations over time
  • Posting percent positivity by region and date

Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced $32.3 million in federal funding for public health efforts across the state, particularly county and local health departments.

There are no live briefings scheduled for the weekend. The next live briefing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday. 

Officials at the state Motor Vehicle Commission announced Friday that driver knowledge exams, also known as “written” driver tests, will be available to all drivers, including commercial drivers, by appointment starting Monday.

All Licensing Centers except Oakland and Flemington will offer the tests, according to a news release.

Appointments can be made up to thirty days in advance at

Officials cautioned customers that demand will be high, so it may take time to secure an appointment.

Road tests, which re-started Wednesday, continue on a by-appointment basis. More information about road tests is available at the MVC website.

For more MVC news and updates, visit

Airbnb on Friday announced action to crack down on party houses throughout the state.

As part of this, 35 listings across New Jersey that have received complaints or otherwise violated our policies on parties and events have been either suspended or removed from the Airbnb platform, according to a release from the company.

They did not release the addresses for the suspended listings, citing respect for the privacy of the hosts and homeowners

While the vast majority of hosts in New Jersey take important steps to prevent unauthorized parties - like establishing clear house rules, quiet hours, and communicating in advance with their guests - our actions today address the small minority of hosts who have previously received warnings about hosting responsibly, according to the release. The suspensions were communicated to the hosts beginning yesterday.

“We stand with Governor Murphy, and we support his call to action to stop parties and promote behavior that respects the public’s health,” said Chris Lehane, SVP of Global Policy & Communications for Airbnb. “We ban party houses and will not tolerate irresponsible behavior on our platform. We know that there is still more work to be done, we ask that neighbors contact us as soon as possible through our Neighborhood Support Hotline, to directly communicate any concerns, which will help us continue to effectively enforce our party house ban.”

The suspensions and removals impacted listings in the following South Jersey cities:

  • Atlantic City
  • Brigantine
  • Stafford Township
  • Ventnor City

Stopping large gatherings is more important than ever in this current environment, officials said. The party house measures come on the heels of several other anti-party initiatives from Airbnb, including a strengthening of our policies to prohibit gatherings that violate public health mandates.

Another COVID-19 testing site is coming to South Jersey.

A testing site in Vineland at Rock of Salvation Church, 513 E Grape St., will be open from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

In a weekly update to residents Thursday, Sea Isle City Mayor Leonard C. Desiderio announced the cancellation of another city event.

"Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, we are forced to cancel most of the events that were scheduled for this year’s Fall Family Festival Weekend in September," he said. "Because huge crowds gather each year for the festival’s vendors market, food court and family-friendly activities, we simply do not feel that they can be held in a safe manner."

However, officials still plan to hold the Fall Festival Antique Auto Show on Sunday, September 20, along the Promenade, which can be held with social distancing, according to the letter.

"After the awards are presented to the winners of this year’s auto show, we will then have the annual Fall Festival Antique Auto Parade at 1:30 p.m. on September 20," he said.

Additionally, in lieu of this year’s Fall Festival Vendors Market along the Promenade, Desiderio is inviting all Sea Isle City businesses to participate in a city-wide Sidewalk Sale on Saturday, September 19.

Details about that event will be shared in the weeks ahead, he added.

In addition, a “Flyers Caravan” is coming to the city August 10 at 5:30 p.m., at which time the Flyers will host a socially-distanced “Mobile Pep Rally” along Fish Alley and other streets in the community, he said. The Mobile Pep Rally will include Flyers alumni, Gritty (the wild-eyed Flyers Mascot), and other festive participants.

"We all know that these are economically challenging times for our nation and the world – including for small business owners," he said. "Knowing this, I once again encourage everyone to 'shop locally' and support our community’s businesses whenever you can. We have amazing shops, fantastic restaurants and other fine businesses here in Sea Isle City – and each one is doing all they can to provide the products and services that the people of our town need and desire. Case in point, many of our restaurants traditionally do not provide take-out services, yet many of them are now providing wonderful meals-to-go that people are enjoying in their homes rather than in the restaurant’s indoor dining rooms. Because these are such unusual circumstances for our local businesses and their customers, I thank everyone for their patience and consideration as we support Sea Isle City’s business community."

State officials scheduled a 1 p.m. briefing Friday 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.

In addition, Murphy is scheduled at 7 p.m. to throw the first pitch at the Last Dance World Series Championship Game at Arm & Hammer Park, 1 Thunder Road, Trenton. Then, at 10 p.m., he is slated to appear on "CNN Tonight" hosted by Don Lemon to discuss the state’s response to the new coronavirus.

So far, Atlantic County has reported 3,497 cases with 239 deaths and 1,926 cleared as recovered. Cape May County has reported 975 cases with 81 deaths and 773 designated off quarantine. Cumberland County has reported 2,709 cases with 144 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.

Contact: 609-272-7241

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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