NEW JERSEY — New Jersey reported an additional 3,649 positive cases of COVID-19 and at least 91 more deaths linked to the virus on Wednesday afternoon, maintaining the second-most cases in the country.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced during his daily press conference that the state now has at least 22,255 cases and at least 355 deaths.

Three deaths, and whether the novel coronavirus was the primary diagnosis, are currently under investigation. 

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Among the deaths announced was Janice Preschel (pictured above), the founder of Helping Hands Food Pantry in Teaneck, who died Monday at the age of 60. Preschel was also a past president of the Teaneck Rotary.

Murphy, like many town officials, called her a "true woman of valor" on Wednesday — extending the sentiments to all 355 individuals who have lost their lives to COVID-19 in the state so far. 

“We are in the fight of our lives, let there be no doubt it,” said Murphy, speaking to the media at the War Memorial in Trenton. “Even in mourning, we have to practice our social distancing. The only way to flatten the curve is by taking social distancing to heart.”

A surge of cases in the state, which comprises 9 million residents, that was expected in the second week of April has already started, said State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

“It looks like the surge is beginning in the northern part of the state,” she said, noting that seven hospitals have reached capacity as of Wednesday. “We’re beginning to feel the real stress and strain on the critical care.”

Of the overall 355 cases: 51 percent are male, 42 percent are female, 47 percent are over the age of 80, 39 percent documented pre-existing conditions, and 24 percent were associated with long-term care facilities (including two deaths).

As of this week, the Garden State has some 32 testing sites with more coming online every day. Murphy noted that with an additional 350 ventilators released from the national stockpile last night, the state now has a total of 850 ventilators — and working to acquire more. 

New Jersey has extended the state tax deadline to July 15 due to the ongoing, "hardships, financial strain and disruptions for many New Jerseyans and New Jersey businesses."

The state fiscal year has also been extended to Sept. 30 — allowing state officials and legislature, "to focus fully on leading New Jersey out of this crisis, and to allow for a robust, comprehensive, and well-informed budget process later in the year. "

Anyone interested in volunteering, as the state seeks to extend its medical personnel, can visit covid19.nj.gov/volunteer.

Businesses experiencing hardship due to closures are encouraged to visit cv.business.nj.gov to apply for the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. The site will open Friday at 9 a.m. 

Additional deaths reported:

  • 33 individuals in Bergen County

  • 22 individuals in Essex County

  • 13 individuals in Hudson County

  • 5 individuals in Morris County

  • 5 individuals in Ocean County

  • 5 individuals in Union County

  • 4 individuals in Middlesex County

  • 4 individuals in Passaic County

  • 3 individuals in Monmouth County

  • 3 individuals in Sussex County

County-by-county breakdown of new cases: 

  • Atlantic 10

  • Bergen 338

  • Burlington 51

  • Camden 60

  • Cape May 9

  • Cumberland 8

  • Essex 277

  • Gloucester 34

  • Hudson 200

  • Hunterdon 15

  • Mercer 54

  • Middlesex 190

  • Monmouth 144

  • Morris 64

  • Ocean 126

  • Passaic 130

  • Salem 7

  • Somerset 38

  • Sussex 20

  • Union 138

  • Warren 18