TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 138, which extends the Public Health Emergency declared on March 9 (Executive Order No. 103), and extended on April 7 (Executive Order No. 119). Under the Emergency Health Powers Act, a declared public health emergency expires after 30 days unless renewed, which is what the governor did today.
“Extending this declaration ensures that we can continue using every resource at our disposal to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Murphy said at his daily COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday, May 6. “I want to ensure that this extension is not interpreted to mean that we are reconsidering our path forward or changing course on the principles I laid out last week in the Road Back plan. We will continue to stand by these principles and protect public health as we responsibly take steps to get the economy moving again.”
Executive Order No. 138 extends all Executive Orders issued under the Governor’s authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act. It also extends all actions taken by any Executive Branch departments and agencies in response to the Public Health Emergency presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.
"If this extension signals one thing, it is this – we can’t give up one bit on the one thing that we know is working in this fight: social distancing," Gov. Murphy said. "Remember, in the absence of a vaccine, or even proven therapeutics for COVID19, our only cure is social distancing."
The governor also announced that the state as 1,513 new positive #COVID19 cases, bringing New Jersey's total to 131,890. He also reported another 308 deaths, bringing the state's total of loss of life to 8,549.
"We continue to see the daily counts of new cases leveling, even as more testing sites continue to come online. The rate of positivity among those who are tested also continues to decrease," Gov. Murphy said. "Even with the good news we see from our health systems, we cannot forget that there are families across this state who are receiving the worst possible news."
Other statistics: 1,549 patients were reported in either critical or intensive care – down by roughly 25% from just three weeks ago. 1,146 ventilators are currently in use, a number that continues to decline.
Responding to the high toll that the coronavirus has taken on the elderly, Gov. Murphy announced that the state is bringing on a nationally experienced team of experts to help us tackle the challenges at our long-term care facilities, and protect the residents and staff at these facilities. Leading the team will be Cindy Mann, a 30-year expert in health policy and former Deputy Administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under President Obama, and Carole Raphael, former CEO and President of Visiting Nurse Service of New York and the former Board Chair of AARP.
"Their focus: to provide immediate support to the NJ Department of Health, to conduct a two-to-three week review to address immediate concerns related to protecting long-term care facility residents and staffs as we look to restart our economy, and to make long-term, systemic reform recommendations," the governor said.
Additionally, on Wednesday, Gov. Murphy continued lobbying for federal aid for New Jersey.
"We need expansive and direct federal funding for states to help support the heroes getting us through COVID19 – from the police, EMS, and health care workers on the front lines, to the educators keeping our kids on track," Gov. Murphy tweeted.
"While numbers are pointing us in the right direction, they still mean that thousands of our fellow New Jerseyans are still in the hospital battling COVID19," Murphy said. "This is why I needed to extend the public health emergency."
During the press conference, Gov. Murphy also gave a shout-put to the students of St. Joseph High School in Metuchen who raised more than $20,000 in just two days for PPE for our health care heroes at JFK Medical Center in Edison.
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