TRENTON, NJ — The COVID-19 pandemic has not relented on New Jerseyans since March, claiming loved-ones, putting families in financial ruts and set to change the fabric of the holiday season to come. With three days to go until Thanksgiving, Gov. Phil Murphy shared resources for those feeling overwhelmed.

“We recognize that with everything that we have already endured, plus the fact that our holidays have to look differently this year to protect ourselves, our families and our communities … the stress may become too much for some to bear,” Murphy said during his November 23 coronavirus press briefing. “Please know that help is available.”

To reach out for resources, call 1-866-202-4357, text “NJHOPE” to 51684 or video conference at 973-870-0677 (for the deaf and hard-of-hearing).

Sign Up for Belmar/Lake Como Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

“I would stress absolutely the ability to be anonymous, as it relates to those numbers,” Murphy said, noting that state workers will keep your personal information secure. “Again, they're professionals, and they’re live. So this is not press one, if you want X, press two if you want Y.”

The governor continued to caution residents against holding “multi-generational gatherings” on Thanksgiving, saying they are prone to exceed the indoor limits and put people at risk. State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli noted that since October the highest coronavirus positivity rate has been in people between age 19 and 49 years .

“It appears that younger individuals are exposing older, more vulnerable loved-ones … your grandmother, your grandfather, a vulnerable older neighbor. This has to stop," Persichilli said before pausing. “You need to be more careful. You need to be safe, not only for yourself, but also for your loved-ones.”

She provided the following Thanksgiving Day tips:

  • You should celebrate only with members of your immediate household.
  • If you gather with others, please limit the number of attendees to allow people from different households to remain at least six feet apart.
  • The best option is to host outdoors rather than indoors as much as possible.
  • Even if you are outdoors, require guests to wear face masks when not eating or drinking.
  • If you do host indoors, increase the ventilation by opening the windows and the doors or by placing central air and heating on continuous circulation.
  • If you are hosting, provide attendees with supplies to help everyone to stay healthy and safe.
    • Have extra hand sanitizer that contain at least 60 percent alcohol, stock bathrooms with enough hand soap and single-use towels and remind attendees about washing their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Vaccine Distribution Plan Unveiled 

Persichilli said New Jersey expects to receive about 460,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, once they have been approved for dissemination, courtesy of Moderna and Pfizer. By their estimates, Moderna’s first stock of 130,000 doses of vaccine would arrive as early as the third week of December, followed by another 130,000 doses the following week. Meanwhile, 100,000 doses of Pfizer’s vaccine could be available to New Jersey residents by the end of 2020 — again followed by the same amount two weeks later.

“If we look at all the paid and unpaid workers, health care workers — not only within a hospital but in our communities — it really is about 650,000 individuals. So we have a professional advisory and health equity committee that has met (mostly) twice a week since March, and one of their tasks was to put together a prioritization framework that could be followed by all of the vaccine sites,” Persichilli said.

During the briefing, Murphy said that starting Tuesday small businesses are eligible for a total discount of nearly 70 percent off personal-protective-equipment (PPE) purchases. Learn more at

New Cases, Deaths and Hospitalizations 

The caseload in New Jersey reached 309,588 on November 23, with 3,592 new positive patients. There were also 11 new deaths — 14,960 total confirmed and 1,812 “probable” deaths.

Although 247 people were discharged from hospitals, officials said another 333 patients were admitted for a total of 2,693 hospitalizations. Of those, 537 people are in intensive care and 240 requiring ventilators. The positivity rate stands at 8.65 percent and the rate of transmission is 1.31.

In Monmouth County as of November 24, there were 277 new positive cases of COVID-19 — placing the county seventh among all 21 counties — and two new deaths related to the virus. 

Belmar has a cumulative total of 115, with officials on November 21 reporting 47 current cases after recoveries and individuals who live in other municipalities but share the Belmar 07719 zip code are removed from the borough’s total. Lake Como's cumulative total is 50. Click here for the full breakdown of cumulative cases by municipality.

  • Click here for the New Jersey COVID-19 Dashboard.
  • Click here for Monmouth County’s latest coronavirus information.
  • Click here for COVID-19 testing information.
  • Click here for statewide and national trends for the coronavirus. 


Below is Gov. Murphy's November 23 press briefing: 


TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como is the official electronic newspaper of both municipalities. As a locally owned and operated news organization, TAPinto through its advertisers is able to publish online, objective news 24/7 — free of charge.

Sign up for its free daily e-News, and follow it on Facebook. Download the free TAPinto App: Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.

Have a news tip or a story idea? Email editor and publisher Cathy Goetz at