Gov. Murphy Identifies 3 Ways NJ 'Reopens' In Coronavirus Crisis

NEW JERSEY – Gov. Phil Murphy identified three ways New Jersey can effectively reopen — and have children return to schools — as he released new numbers in the coronavirus outbreak during a Friday news conference: 3,250 new cases and 323 more deaths. And that reopening could mean big changes at schools, even if they’re allowed to reopen May 15 (you can watch it here, below).

Murphy addressed whether students will wear masks if they get back to school in May or June: “I would bet the answer’s yes, that we will be masked when kids get back to school. That would be my personal guess.” Read more: Gov. Murphy: Kids May Have To Wear Masks If They Return To School

Murphy said New Jersey now has 78,467 cases and 3,840 deaths. Murphy has announced that schools will remain closed through May 15; but on Friday, the governor left hope that the Garden State “will be in a much better place” by then and he could allow for the buildings to reopen. Read more: NJ Coronavirus Updates: Here’s What You Need To Know

Murphy spoke about President Donald Trump’s plan to reopen America in stages, saying New Jersey will need to make much more progress in testing and contact tracing while also maintaining social distancing, even if the economy reopens and students go back to school in May.

Murphy’s plans may run counter to those of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, which oversees high schools sports and has plans for the current school year. The association said it will roll out plans that would allow for competition starting as late as May 25 if schools reopen, officials said in a statement. Read more: NJSIAA Hopes For Short Spring Sports Season Amid Coronavirus

Here’s what New Jersey needs to do, Murphy said:

Social distancing everywhere, especially at schools: Murphy said New Jersey still needs to “break the back” of the upward curve, and he’s pleased that the state is showing some signs that its new cases are “plateauing.” But even if kids go back to school May 15, Murphy said during a Record question-and-answer session, classroom dynamics will have to be reconfigured — especially in the way children sit — and he “can’t envision large congregations.” And they’ll likely have to wear masks, he said.Testing, testing, testing: Murphy says no reopening can happen without a “robust” testing program. The governor said New Jersey is fourth in the nation in testing, but he told PIX11 during a Friday interview that “we’re not nearly where we need to be, and it needs to be a rapid turnaround.” He expressed hope that New Jersey can reach that point now that Rutgers University has new technology that can test as many as tens of thousands of saliva samples in one day for coronavirus. Read more: Rutgers Launches Fast-Results Saliva Testing For CoronavirusContact tracing: If testing can be ramped up, Murphy told PIX11, New Jersey can work more quickly to identify “hot spots” and quarantine and treat people who test positive. He told the Record that New Jersey is interested in Massachusetts’ contact tracing program, which is “low-tech” and basically involves “hiring 1,000 people at $20 an hour and they’re going to work the phones.”

“And then we can begin to reopen the economy,” Murphy said. “We would love nothing more than to get this place back on its feet.”

Murphy said he has appointed people to take the lead and work with other states in reopening the state’s economy.

Murphy, speaking during a Thursday news conference, said schools will remain shut through May 15. Read more: Gov. Murphy: NJ Schools Shut Through May 15 In Coronavirus Crisis

During the Friday news conference, Murphy once again displayed a map showing the rate of cases slowing in almost every county, now doubling in 20 counties every seven days. Just two weeks ago, cases were doubling every day in at least half of the state’s counties:

Murphy also addressed hospitalization numbers and paid tribute to some of those who died:

Here are his tributes:

Watch Murphy here:

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Here’s what else you should know:

Murphy issued a stay-at-home order, closing all non-essential business at 9 p.m. Saturday, March 21. Read more: Gov. Murphy Announces NJ ‘Stay-At-Home’ Order Due To CoronavirusMurphy, speaking during a Thursday, April 16 press conference, said schools will remain closed through May 15. Read more: Gov. Murphy: NJ Schools Shut Through May 15 In Coronavirus CrisisMurphy ordered stores across New Jersey on Wednesday, April 8 to require shoppers to wear face coverings or masks. Here’s how you can get yours, and how the new rule will be enforced. Read more: NJ Shoppers Must Wear Masks: Where To Get Them, How It’s EnforcedHere are 10 resources for you and your family to utilize as you navigate through the outbreak: Unemployment, Tests, Food: 10 NJ Resources In Coronavirus CrisisNew Jersey’s courts suspended all new jury trials until further notice, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner said on Thursday, March 12. Read more: Coronavirus Throws Monkey Wrench Into New Jersey Court SystemMurphy said during a live press conference on Wednesday, March 25 that he’s ordering many day care centers to shut amid the coronavirus outbreak. Read more: Gov. Murphy To Shut Many Day Care Centers Amid Coronavirus CrisisThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory for New Jersey. Read more: CDC Travel Advisory For NJ: No Coronavirus Travel Ban From TrumpNew Jersey residents are expected to start receiving stimulus payments soon. Here’s what you need to do beforehand. Read more: Coronavirus Economic Stimulus Payments: What You Need To Do In NJOn Friday, March 27, Murphy allowed more types of New Jersey businesses – including gun sellers – to operate in the coronavirus outbreak. What’s open and closed now? Read more: What’s Open, Closed? More NJ Business To Operate Amid CoronavirusMurphy announced on Tuesday, April 7 that state and county parks will close. Read more: Gov. Murphy Closes Parks On NJ Coronavirus Crisis’s Deadliest DayHere are four urgent tasks New Jersey wants you to do during the coronavirus outbreak, including wearing a mask. And here’s why. Read more: Wear A Mask! 4 Things NJ Wants You To Do In Coronavirus Outbreak

How It Spreads

The virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person. Someone who is actively sick with COVID-19 can spread the illness to others. That is why CDC recommends that these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others.

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