The coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey continues to rapidly escalate with 1,914 total cases and 20 deaths in the state as health officials announced Sunday another 590 positive tests on the first full day of the latest restrictions on travel and retail businesses.
“This is not a surprise,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “We knew, especially as we opened up testing, we could have bigger numbers. Some of this is community spread, no question.”
The numbers include four new deaths from coronavirus, Murphy said. The new deaths include a man in his 90s from Bergen County, a man in his 80s from Passaic County, a woman in her 90s from Middlesex County and a man in his 70s from Somerset County. The Bergen and Passaic deaths were both cases with underlying medical conditions, while the other two remain under investigation, said Judy Persichilli, commissioner of the state Department of Health.
There are now coronavirus cases in all 21 New Jersey counties.
Murphy has stressed that the cases will likely climb into the “many thousands,” particularly as testing expands in the state. The first state-run and FEMA supported testing site opened Friday at Bergen Community College to massive lines that stretched for miles. The site hit capacity on Sunday less than an hour after opening in Bergen County, the county with the most cases in the state.
A second state-run site is set to open on Monday at the PNC Arts Center in Holmdel.
Murphy took the dramatic step Saturday of signing executive orders shutting down non-essential retail businesses, canceling public gatherings, and instructing people to “quite simply stay at home.”
The new orders calls for nearly all New Jersey residents to stay in and refrain from travel — except for obtaining food and medicine, seeking medical attention, visiting family and close friends, exercise, and reporting to work at a business that is still open.
The non-essential business shutdown is in effect Sunday. The list of essential businesses that are allowed to keep operating is, according to the state website:
Manufacturing, industrial, logistics, ports, heavy construction, shipping, food production, food delivery, and other commercial operations; and medical facilities where a sick or injured person is given care or treatment, such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, dentist offices, long-term care facilities and other medical offices.