Gov. Murphy orders new restrictions

Gov. Murphy orders new restrictions

N.J. reports 2,075 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as Gov. Murphy orders new restrictions for indoor bars, restaurants

New Jersey officials reported 2,075 more coronavirus cases Monday – the sixth straight day with at least 2,000 new positive tests – and 11 new deaths as Gov. Phil Murphy announced new restrictions on bars, restaurants and indoor interstate youth sports to battle the second wave surge hitting the state.

New Jersey bars and restaurants will need to close all indoor service by 10 p.m. beginning Thursday and will not be permitted to reopen until 5 a.m.

Seating at indoor bars will be banned altogether. Bars and restaurants, however, will be able to seat groups of people at tables closer than six feet together as long as they are separated by plexiglass barriers and they can set up outdoor igloos for individual groups as colder weather approaches. The new indoor dining curfew also includes casinos, though gambling may continue after 10 p.m.

“The last thing I want to do or any of us want to do is shut our economy back down and thankfully, we are not at that point. We are taking surgical steps,” Murphy said. “We are acting with more precision-based actions.”

Murphy said there have been recent cases among bartenders that raised concerns. Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said there were nine COVID-19 cases among bartenders and servers at Leggett’s Sand Bar in Manasquan that led to a public health alert for patrons who visited between Oct. 17 and 22.

“We know people are getting sloppy in and around bars as the night wears on,” Murphy said.

Indoor interstate sports will end for elementary, middle and high school students. The new restrictions won’t affect college or professional sports. Outdoor youth sports are also not included in the order.

New Jersey has seen a marked rise in new positive tests in recent weeks as the weather has turned colder. The seven day average for new daily positive tests is now 2,276, up 40% from a week earlier.

“There’s no question the numbers are going up and in the wrong direction,” Murphy said.

Persichilli said the 2,075 cases reported Monday is likely an undercount due problem with receiving results from some hospitals. Those number will likely be reflected in subsequent days.

“Our reality is we will have between 2,000 and 3,000 cases a day,” Persichilli said. In addition, that doesn’t include rapid coronavirus tests, which are not currently publicly reported.

The statewide positivity rate for tests conducted on Thursday was 7.52% and the rate of transmission rose slightly to 1.24. The positivity rate had remained below 4% through the summer. Any transmission rate over 1 means the outbreak is expanding.

The positivity rate was highest in the northern region at 8.47%, followed by 8.01% in the southern region and 5.96% in the central region, officials said.

“We have to change our mindset,” Murphy said, urging residents to continue wearing masks and social distancing. “We have to shake off the pandemic fatigue. A vaccine is on the horizon. Let’s focus, folks, on this upcoming six months.”

With the 2,075 new cases Monday, the state’s total positive test has climbed to 256,653 among the more than 5 million coronavirus tests since the start of the outbreak in March.

The death toll now stands at 16,440 fatalities – 14,640 confirmed deaths and 1,800 considered probable.

Ten counties reported at least 100 new cases led by Passaic County with 208 positive tests.

Original Article