TRENTON, NJ — With New Jersey’s rate of transmission of the coronavirus nearly doubling in a month, Gov. Phil Murphy has placed a 25-person limit for indoor gatherings once again. 

“We believe that some of this increase is attributable to the number of indoor house parties and other events which we have been seeing across the stat. As we warned on Friday we would not hesitate to take direction to further clamp down on indoor gatherings,” Murphy said during his coronavirus press briefing on August 3.

Indoor congregations must remain at 25 percent of a room’s capacity — with an overall 25-person limit. Capacity has been set at 100 persons since July 2. Outdoor gatherings remain capped at 500 people — with safety mainstays like social distancing and face masks still in place for all settings. 

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“This change importantly will not apply to weddings, funerals and memorial services, (as well as) religious and political activities protected under the First Amendment, which may continue under the current rules," he continued.

Murphy stressed that indoor parties or gatherings must not exceed 25 people.

The Rt rate has climbed from 0.87 in early July to 1.48 on August 3. The last time the Rt was this high was early April when there were roughly 300 to 400 probable coronavirus deaths every day. The state’s Rt indicates that every positive case of COVID-19 is currently leading to more than one additional case. 

It would need to “drop appreciably” over at least seven consecutive days in order for restrictions to be lifted, officials said. Would the transmission rate remain at this level for a lengthened period of time, Murphy said it would "lead to more action." Although he did not go into detail, he said he imagines it would lean toward enforcement instead of policy. 

An additional 10 coronavirus-related deaths as of August 3 brings New Jersey’s death toll to 13,971 (1,875 probable). The governor also announced 264 more positive test screenings, bringing the total to 182,614. 

“Over the last week, we saw numbers of new cases that we hadn’t seen in eight weeks. Our rate of transmission is now more than double where it was a few weeks ago,” the governor’s Twitter page posted during the press conference. “Everyone needs to get it together — and fast. This is not yet past us.”

According to state health officials, there are 738 hospitalizations, with 144 people in intensive care and 49 on ventilators. 

When asked by a reporter whether the latest figures mean the Garden State has entered the second wave of the pandemic, Murphy said, “I don’t think we’ve ever graduated out of the first wave.”

State epidemiologist Christina Tan, M.D., added that although the state may be on the "opposite side” of the first wave, until more data is gathered and the year progresses it is difficult to determine NJ’s COVID-19 baseline.

Other Press Briefing News

In response to steps taken by some restaurants struggling to remain open, the governor said that unless eateries have at least two of four outer walls, “you cannot seat and serve diners inside your premises. You can only serve diners outdoors.”

The governor elsewhere praised Airbnb for suspending and removing 35 “problem properties” linked to house parties.

He also said he intends to sign an executive order allowing public employees to enroll for the State Health Benefits Plan as soon as they’re hired, instead of waiting 60 days. 

Monmouth County's COVID-19 Counts

As of August 3, there were11 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County. There were no new deaths today related to COVID-19 in Monmouth County. The states reported there have been 758 lives lost related to the coronavirus in the county, and another 100 probable deaths. 

The cumulative breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality is as follows:

Aberdeen

266

Allenhurst

12

Allentown

12

Asbury Park

343

Atlantic Highlands

42

Avon-by-the-Sea

18

Belmar*

55

Bradley Beach

67

Brielle

74

Colts Neck

101

Deal

44

Eatontown

330

Englishtown

52

Fair Haven

43

Farmingdale

15

Freehold Borough

447

Freehold Township

759

Hazlet

357

Highlands

42

Holmdel

329

Howell

773

Interlaken

4

Keansburg

218

Keyport:

109

Lake Como

20

Little Silver

45

Loch Arbour

1

Long Branch

660

Manalapan

547

Manasquan

67

Marlboro

543

Matawan

224

Middletown

896

Millstone Township

94

Monmouth Beach

29

Neptune City

78

Neptune Township

671

Ocean

413

Oceanport

74

Red Bank

312

Roosevelt

9

Rumson

64

Sea Bright

13

Sea Girt

35

Shrewsbury Borough

67

Shrewsbury Township

12

Spring Lake

35

Spring Lake Heights

51

Tinton Falls

244

Union Beach

46

Upper Freehold

69

Wall

474

West Long Branch

84

Unknown

11

*Belmar officials reported there are nine current cases after recoveries and individuals who live in other municipalities but share the Belmar 07719 zip code were removed from the borough’s total.)

 

Below is the video of Gov. Murphy's August 3 press briefing: 

 

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