CAMDEN, NJ — In a move that was foreshadowed last week, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday he will pause the state in Stage 2 of its restart and recovery plan. The same day, Camden County's health department is reporting 122 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), confirmed between Saturday and this afternoon.

"I want us to be able to reopen more businesses, and to get to Stage 3 and beyond," Murphy said on Twitter in conjunction with his coronavirus press conference. "We cannot do that unless we keep up with wearing face coverings, keeping a social distance, and getting tested."

Stage 2 consisted of limited reopening of businesses and allowances of outdoor gatherings, while Stage 3 would extend what's permitted indoors. That it's paused also comes on the heels of the governor mandating that face masks be worn when social distancing is not possible.

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Of the Garden State's now 175,522 cases (231 more) and 15,560 deaths (22 more), Camden County now accounts for at least 8,211 cases and 501 fatalities (no additional deaths were reported over the weekend).

“Although our region’s COVID-19 numbers remain relatively steady, we have to be extremely careful as much of the country experiences profound levels of viral transmission," said Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli. "Just this weekend, at least 20 states set records for new cases in a single day. We cannot afford to lose the months of progress that we have made in beating back coronavirus."

The state's rate of transmission (Rt) is currently .91, dropping from .98 late last week. 

“Our Rt is in a good place today,” Murphy said. “But only a week ago, it was above 1. And if we change course too soon, it’s going to not only going to rise but so will the number of positive test results. So will the number of hospitalizations, and so will the number of residents who will die.”

To read more about Camden's new cases click here.

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