NEW JERSEY — Medical professionals will soon be permitted to resume elective surgeries at hospitals and surgical centers, the governor said Friday.

The elective surgeries, which had been suspended, will restart May 26, Gov. Phil Murphy said at his daily COVID-19 press briefing, where he also outlined details for the upcoming primary election and federal funding for NJ Transit.

“We are clearly, without question, making progress,” Murphy said.

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“Hospitals are no longer on a crisis footing,” he added.

The order permitting elective surgeries will impact 250 facilities statewide, according to Judy Persichilli, commissioner of the state Health Department.

Noting his March 4 procedure to remove a malignant tumor on his kidney, Murphy said, elective procedures are “not just a bunch of folks who want a nose job.”

The executive order will affect procedures for hospital visitors, as well, Murphy said, which was prohibited during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis.

State officials reported 201 new COVID-19 deaths Friday, raising the state total to 10,138 deaths, spanning from March 24 to May 14.

Murphy also detailed procedures for the July 7 primary election, which had been postponed from June 2.

“This will be a predominantly mail-in election,” the governor said. “There will be a limited amount of in-person polling places to ensure everyone can vote.”

Murphy said there will be at least one polling place per municipality with social distancing procedures, with at least 50% of polling places available in each county.

Mail-in votes must be postmarked July 7 but may be received in time to count up to seven days after the election, a change from the previous 48 hours.

“We’re looking to maximize democracy while minimizing the health risk,” Murphy said.

The governor said he spoke with President Donald Trump prior to the press conference to discuss a $50 million grant from the CARES legislation to support NJ Transit.

“This will mean a lot,” Murphy said referring to the state’s shortfall of funds since the COVID-19 shutdown. “We’re still in a world of hurt. We’ll need another big slug of money.”

Murphy promised more details on the opening of municipal pools to come in the coming days.

On Thursday, Murphy had announced that beaches would reopen under a series of social distancing rules beginning May 22.

When asked on Friday about groups of more than 10 people gathering at beach houses, he said, such gatherings give him “cause for concern.”

Murphy also reminded residents to participate in the 2020 Census, saying the count impacts federal funding, even during the COVID-19 crisis and other emergencies.

“We were undercounted in the last Census,” he said.

View the full briefing:

Editor's Note: An initial version of this story incorrectly referenced the status of Gov. Phil Murphy’s now removed tumor. It was malignant.

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