TRENTON, NJ - Governor Phil Murphy used his Saturday press briefing to urge New Jersey residents to limit “knucklehead behavior” so that the state can continue on a road to recovery following the extended battle against COVID-19.

The plea came the same day state and county parks were reopened amid warnings that if visitors failed to comply with social distancing and other health safety measures they would be shuttered again.

Running through the latest statistics, Murphy shared that another 2,912 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and 205 more have lost their lives, bringing that total to 7,742 “blessed souls lost.”

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New Jersey Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli used her time to share that hospital admissions continue to decrease, in both the northern and central regions of the state, down 41 percent and 26 percent from their peak on April 14, and that there appears to be a “leveling off” in South Jersey’s hospitals. Hospitals are also, by and large, transitioning back from operating under a “crisis standard of care” model to “standard measures.”

That fact, Murphy would add later, is a key component of the six key principles and benchmarks to guide the process for restoring the state’s economic health by ensuring public health that he announced Monday

Murphy also announced that 53 New Jersey hospitals would split $1.7 billion allocated to them as part of the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. The funding, Murphy said, will be deposited next week and be critical in efforts to advance access and treatment for COVID-19 cases, as well to help meet one of the key metrics for recovery- the health of hospitals.

Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-09) spoke about the allocation earlier this week saying that what was originally delivered through a “screwy, utterly unfair formula” was “a bad joke for our state."

“This support will protect our medical providers and save our neighbors’ lives. We will keep making sure New Jersey is prioritized in Washington until this terrible crisis has mercifully passed,” Pascrell said.

Murphy concluded his briefing by saying that he intends to share additional guidance regarding the handling of the remainder of the academic year at his Monday briefing.

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