NEW JERSEY — It won’t be safe to re-open New Jersey schools until at least another four weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday afternoon during the state’s daily press conference. 

“We need to be guided by where the facts on the ground, science, and public health take us,” Murphy said.

Ahead of the new cut-off on May 15, the state will reassess whether institutions and school sports — which were ordered to pause in-person operations exactly a month ago — will have the capability to resume as normal.

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Murphy said State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet were consulted when making the decision.

“Nobody wants to open the schools as much as I do,” Murphy said, noting that he himself has a senior in college eager to get back. “[However,] we cannot be guided by emotion.”

The latest tally in the Garden State includes at least 4,391 positive cases (75,317 total) and at least 362 more deaths (3,518 total). Of the 8,224 patients hospitalized, Murphy noted that 2,014 are requiring critical or intensive care, and 1,645 require ventilators services. 

The "3,518 deaths is already 3,518 too many. We know we’re going to lose more of our blessed residents," Murphy said. "But, how many more New Jerseyans we lose to COVID19 depends on you maintaining your practice of social distance."

Between Tuesday at 10 p.m. and Wednesday at 10 p.m. 802 individuals were discharged from hospitals. 

"If we all continue to stay the course for the next four weeks," Murphy said, "we may have a different message at that point.”

Since March 31, over 8,000 patients have been discharged, according to Persichilli.

More details on the lives impacted by the virus will be revealed on the state’s dashboard.

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