TRENTON, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy announced at his daily COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday that he has extended New Jersey's public health emergency another 30 days due to the coronavirus, although the spread of the disease has slowed significantly by certain measures within the state. 

According to Murphy, hospitalizations are down 94 percent from New Jersey's peak and 12 percent from June 17, and the number of patients in intensive care units (ICU) has declined 89 percent from the peak and 38 percent from June 17.

Likewise, patients on ventilators have dropped by 90 percent from the peak and 31 percent since June 17.

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The extension of the public health emergency means the state will have the authority to remain vigilant and be prepared to act should there be an increased outbreak of COVID-19, Murphy explained.

"Even though we have lots of positive data to see, we still have challenges ahead," he said.

As of Thursday, the state figures showed 1,027 patients in New Jersey hospitals, with 216 patients in either critical or intensive care and 170 ventilators in use.

The governor also reported 51 new COVID-19 patients admitted and 83 live discharges.

As of 6 a.m. on Friday, the governor has raised the limit on crowd size for outdoor gatherings from 250 to 500 people. Limits on all indoor gatherings—25 percent of capacity, but with a maximum of 100 people—remain unchanged.

“Increasing the outdoor capacity limit has been made possible by continued progress against COVID-19,” Murphy said. “The hard work of the residents of our state is allowing us to make this move, and will make it much easier to hold important events like graduation ceremonies in the coming months.”

In honor of the 4th of July holiday weekend and "as a sign of rebirth for our state," the governor announced that "all flags will return to full-staff" after being at half-staff for the last 90 days in recognition of New Jersey's COVID-19 victims.

Help for Business Owners

During the Thursday press conference, Murphy also announced that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) has created the Entrepreneur Support Program to help support emerging businesses and startups.

"By working alongside investors, we’re strengthening the system through which these businesses receive their capital," said Murphy. "Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the NewJersey EDA has helped assist our business community and position our economy for long-term health as we continue our restart and recovery."

He added that 96 percent of all people who have been deemed monetarily eligible to received benefits have gotten their payments. In total, the NJ Labor Department has distributed $9.1 billion into the accounts of New Jersey families, according to the governor.

Help for Renters

Additionally, Murphy announced that emergency rental assistance is available for New Jersey renters who have experienced a substantial loss of income due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Applications will be accepted by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs beginning Monday, July 6. Learn more by clicking here

"We have to keep up with the practices that have gotten us this far in the past three months," Murphy said. "We are a model for the nation on how to responsibly restart. Let’s keep it that way."