GOV. MURPHY PRESS CONFERENCE: July 29July 29, 2020
• Murphy spoke with great concern about the house parties that have been happening in different areas of the state that have been the cause of several COVID cluster outbreaks. “Our hard work is at risk of being undone.” A series of parties in Middletown have been the source of 55 cases in people between the ages of 16 to 23. There have been 35 cases among lifeguards at shore towns; a party in Westfield has caused 17 cases; Rutgers football has been paused because of an outbreak; there was a party in Jackson with 700 people that they are sure will lead to more positive cases. “Yes, it’s hot. Yes, it’s summer. Yes, we all want and, in many cases, need to blow off steam but this is no time for anyone to be vying for induction into the knucklehead hall of fame.” He stressed that indoor parties are dangerous – poor air circulation with air conditioning just circulating the same air. “We are not out of the woods yet by any means.” He stressed that any new positive case could end up in the hospital or spreading the virus, putting us back where we were.
• Some mentioned guidelines for gatherings: outdoors limit 500 maximum; arrange tables to allow for social distancing; wear masks; stay at home if you are feeling ill; stay at home if you have traveled from any of the states on the quarantine list; provide hand sanitizers; have one person designated as food server; use disposable paper towels; wipe down commonly touched surfaces; keep a list of attendees; and take the call from contact tracers.
• Cases in the age group of 18-29 have increased to 33%. In April it was 12% and June 22%.
• The Motor Vehicle Commission has moved through more than half of the backlog which is more than 350,000 transactions.
• He viewed the July Primary Election as “largely if not overwhelmingly successful.”
• Statewide positivity was 2.42%. In North Jersey 1.32%, Central Jersey 2.01%, South Jersey 4.08% (which he blamed on shore activity). The Rt was 1.14, the same as yesterday. As a comparison, in late March the Rt was 5.31. On April 14 it was 1.02, May 18 it was 0.81, and June 15 it was 0.70.
• Murphy said that he sees outside fall sports happening, but he is not sure about indoor winter sports without a vaccine.
- Executive Order clarification: All contact high risk sports and activities MUST be done outside only. Martial Arts Studios may hold non-contact classes indoors with 25 percent capacity and masks and social distancing. Yoga and pilates studios must also have a 25 percent capacity and participants and staff must wear masks and use social distancing. Health Clubs are open only for one-on-one training or family group training.
- Qualifications for a state being put on a quarantine list (requiring anyone coming in from those states to self-quarantine) are done on a rolling 7 day average. They are a positivity of over 10 percent and more than 10 cases per 100,000 residents.
- The slow turnaround in receiving test results is having a large impact on everything. This is a nationwide issue right now. Turnaround in NJ is between 3.2 days to 7.7 days. This delays contact tracing and skews daily numbers.
- On Friday or Monday, Murphy will give more school opening details.
- Wen asked if the state is collecting antibody test results, it was reported that they are, but they aren’t randomized. They are only from those that are requesting them usually after they have been sick and were untested. Because of this, the numbers would be higher than the general population percentage. So far they have received 600,000 tests. Northeast Jersey has the highest rate of antibody positive results.
- Spot positivity statewide for tests drawn on July 18 was 2.48%. In North Jersey 2.94%, Central Jersey 1.81%, South Jersey 2.61%.
- There are 2 new multi-system inflammatory syndrome cases. This brings the state total to 55. Hispanics are statistically being hit hardest by this.
- As of the end of May, the positivity rate for residents of long term care facilities was 6%. It is currently less than 1%. For staff is was 3% and is now also under 1%.
- College students returning home from school located in a state on the quarantine list would still have to quarantine. Murphy said he would be facing this when his daughter would return from the University of Virginia. He said she hasn’t left for school yet, though.
- Murphy wanted to clarify to “all you bozo’s out there”, because of the “insanity of social media”, his daughter is not engaged, celebrating a bachelorette party, or getting married this weekend.
- His response to Delaware Gov. John Carney’s “mad as hell” response about being put on the quarantine list, Murphy had only praise for him, but “based on the numbers and the science, it is what it is.”
- His reaction to President Trump signing a memo excluding immigrants from the census: “We don’t agree….That is not how we view the American family. That is not how we view the New Jersey family….They deserve to be counted.”
- Murphy’s reaction to former Gov. Chris Christie’s claims that Murphy has put more emphasis on public workers over small businesses: “I appreciate the fact he’s helping out small businesses but, come on man, particularly given the train wreck that the EDA was under his leadership, all for the benefit of special interests at the expense of small business, especially how public sector workers were crushed under him, give me a break.”
- LOCAL LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES with changes:
ManorCare Washington Twp.: +2 staff cases (11)
Atrium: +2 resident cases (182), +2 staff cases (9)
Numbers for Eagleview and Southgate were not reported.
- The Department of Education will be releasing guidance this week that will allow parents to select all-remote learning for their children.
- Today’s numbers do not reflect numbers from the private lab, Quest, who is having reporting problems. It is stated that Quest has approximately 15,000 test results delayed. If the normal 2 to 3% are positive, 250-400 positives cases could be added to the totals during this week.
- Close contact drills, practices and games for high risk sports are being allowed for sports such as football, rugby, boxing, martial arts, and cheerleading, but they must be outside. There are limitations including cleaning standards and limited equipment sharing.
- In an interview, President Trump stated in his defense of his support of sending students back to school, that only 2 children under the age of 18 in NJ have died from COVID. Murphy stated that this was true, and that they both had underlying conditions. But Murphy said that too little is known about the virus and the main concern about sending children back to school is about transmission of the virus through the children.
- Of the 9 deaths reported today, 2 were from June, the other 7 from July. Two of the death were from the hospital in the past 24 hours.
- Spot positivity statewide was 2.8%. In North Jersey 2.63%, Central Jersey 2.24%, South Jersey 4.11%. The Rt is 0.90.
- LONG TERM CARE: the state COVID website now reflects a county breakdown of current and cumulative outbreak facilities totals in each county. A single case qualifies as a current outbreak. A facility must be 28 days without a case to be considered COVID free.
LOCAL FACILITIES WITH CHANGES – Golden Rehab: +1 staff case (5); Southgate: +1 resident death (23).
- The spot positivity statewide for tests drawn on July 13 is 1.66%. In North Jersey 1.41%, Central Jersey 1.38%, South Jersey 3.03%. The Rt (rate of transmission) has increased again since yesterday to 1.11. This means that every positive case is now transmitting to slightly more than one other person.
- Murphy said there is still no increase in positive tests due to the protests, beach activity, parks, and field graduations. The increases have been traced to parties involving younger individuals. Murphy said the three areas of concern for the increases are: graduation parties, long term care facility flare ups, and those returning or visiting from hot spot states.
- On Monday, he will “likely” increase the level of high contact sports allowed. These are outdoor activities.
- When asked when gyms will be opened, he said that it would be a while. He stated that it’s not just the data in our state that is determing things. “We cannot ignore the world around us. A lot of this is on us and on the fires dying down elsewhere in the country.” He added, “If you don’t like our leadership here, why don’t you go down to Georgia and see how that leadership feels.” He was referring to the Georgia governor suing the mayor of Atlanta for requiring face masks being worn. “We need responsible leadership in the country here. We need a national strategy for things like face masks.”
- Murphy said that the state is in an unprecedented fiscal crisis only comparable to the Great Depression and the Civil War.
- Of the 20 deaths reported today, 7 were from the past five days, 13 were from other times. These numbers are delayed because they are lab confirmed and death certificate confirmed.
- Hospitalization numbers will now be reported differently. There will be a breakdown of the daily intake numbers into a definite COVID positive patient total and a number indicating people under investigation – those without positive COVID test results. Of today’s reported 844 new patients, 397 were known COVID positives with 447 people under investigation.
- LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES – 5 new facilities involved; -168 active staff cases, -775 active resident cases statewide.
LOCAL FACILITIES with changes- Cardinal: +2 resident cases (19), +1 staff case (20), +1 resident death (4); Twin Cedars; +1 resident case (22); Advanced Subacute: +1 resident death (29); Atrium: +1 resident case (180), -6 staff cases (7), +1 resident death (17); Deptford Center: +2 staff cases; Friends: +2 staff cases (31); Carneys Point Care: +1 resident death (23)
JULY 15 NEW CONFERENCE
- Guidelines are being issued to allow by appointment visitation for parents and legal guardians for pediatric and developmentally disabled and intellectually disabled residents of long term care. Facilities with no recorded COVID cases reported for 28 days can have indoor visits in designated areas. Other facilities will have outdoor visitations.
- Spot positivity statewide is 2.14%. In North Jersey 1.98%, Central Jersey 2.01%, South Jersey 2.68%. The Rt (Rate of transmission) is 0.93 which is a slight increase from 0.91 on July 14.
- Of the 27 deaths reported today, 17 occurred in July. Ten were from April 16-June 3, and 8 were reported from hospitals last night.
- Everyone coming into a hospital now is considered a “person under investigation” for having COVID so are put on the COVID list, no matter what symptoms they come in with and are only removed from that list once a negative test result comes back. This may take longer now that test result time is lagging due to an increased need from the testing all over the country. Health Commissioner Judy Perschilli said that 20 to 30% of the patients come off the list due with their negative test result.
- NJ State Police Col. Pat Callahan reported that there have been 39 shooting victims this past week. Of these, 13 have died. Overall, this year so far shootings are up 3 percent and shooting murders are up 19 percent. He is concerned over these numbers. Murphy said, “This cocktail could not be more challenging. You’ve got gobs of people out of work, you’ve got small businesses that have been crushed….you’ve got the mental health challenges that have gone with the pandemic reality, you’ve got the hot weather, you’ve got the George Floyd killing and all that has gone with that, almost an unprecedented combination of factors.”
- The state is working on a technology tool to help track people coming in to NJ from hot spot states. The state is working with several airlines. Individuals would download the app and fill out the form which would be sent to the county health department for follow up. But the state is relying on person accountability to do this and self quarantine.
- When asked about Trump’s plan for hospitals to report their data to Health & Human Services instead of the CDC, Murphy said that he felt the data should be reported to both. “Politics is bad for public health….all you get is more people dead.”
- Notable comments: “What’s your plan B folks out there. What else do you think we should be doing. I mean its ridiculous, the absence of viable alternative public policy from folks who are whining about this.”
- No news on reopening of in-person unemployment offices.
- LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES – statewide a decrease of 177 staff cases and a decrease of 542 resident cases, an increase of 47 lab confirmed deaths.
- LOCAL FACILITIES WITH CHANGES: The Palace: +1 resident death; ManorCare Washington Twp.: +1 staff case; Atrium: +3 staff cases; Advanced Subacute: +1 resident case