TRENTON, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy today announced that President Trump has issued a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of New Jersey. This declaration will provide federal assistance to supplement statewide recovery efforts affected by the COVID-19 pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020.

“With our major disaster declaration approved, New Jersey will now have access to greater essential federal support to help our residents through this emergency,” said Governor Murphy. “This declaration will allow us to lift remaining bureaucratic barriers to assistance and enhance our statewide response to COVID-19. I am grateful to the Administration and FEMA for their collaboration and coordination in supporting our response and recovery efforts to COVID-19 in New Jersey.”

In his request dated March 23, Gov. Murphy requested two types of statewide assistance, including individual assistance, which provides assistance to individuals and households, and public assistance, which includes assistance for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities.

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The Latest Numbers

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in New Jersey during the past 24 hours. Gov. Murphy reported 2,492 new COVID-19 cases, which raises the state total to 6,876, which ranks second only to New York in the entire nation. Nineteen (19) residents of New Jersey died since yesterday from complications related to the coronavirus, and the state total now stands at 81

"We have the very sad duty to report that another 19 New Jerseyans have now lost their lives and have died from COVID-19 related complications," Gov. Murphy said at his daily press conference. "This brings our total number of lost lives to 81 precious human beings. Every single one of them was an invaluable member, a precious member of our New Jersey family, and we mourn them both individually and as one family."

"The loss of every single one of these residents is why we all need to do what we’re doing, especially to practice social distancing," Gov. Murphy added. "Coronavirus does not spread on its own; it spreads person to person. The more you stay home and the less we absolutely need you in our response efforts, the slower the spread and the flatter the curve gets. And this isn’t a one-day or a two-day thing either. Coronavirus can take up to two weeks, some suggesting possibly longer – I’m practicing without a license there – but at least two weeks to incubate."

It’s going to take several weeks at least for us to begin seeing a real impact in the social distancing measures that we put in place," the governor warned. "Remember a couple things. We have warned folks, we’ve told you these numbers are going up. Sadly, the number of lost lives is going up. Our job is to fight fiercely with unlimited resources to save as many of those lives as possible."

Commissioner of Health Judy Persichilli reported that the trajectory of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey trails slightly behind New York.

"Cases of COVID-19 in New York state are rising exponentially, and Gov. Cuomo has shared that they expect their peak in the next 14 to 21 days," Persichilli said. "Our exponential growth rate, based on the number of positive cases reported daily, is similar in northern New Jersey."

As of Thursday, March 27, Bergen County leads the state with 1,206 positive COVID-19 cases. Teaneck alone has 216 cases. Union County is now at 432 positive cases. The Borough of Fanwood announced one new case reported by the Westfield Regional Health Department.

Mayor Al Smith, in a phone call with TAPintoSPF, said there were 19 total cases in Scotch Plains. Click here to see the Township's COVID-19 web page. In Fanwood, a 79-year-old female resident tested positive and is currently hospitalized. Mayor Mahr asked the entire community to keep her and all those in Fanwood who are struggling with COVID-19 in our hearts and prayers. 

NJ State Epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan said that the overall percent age of positive of tests is about 29%.

"It’s important to note that even though the vast majority of those tested are negative for the virus that causes COVID-19, if you’re sick still stay home because this is still in the middle of respiratory virus season," Dr. Tan said. "We still are, believe it or not, still seeing cases of flu B, flu A and other respiratory pathogens."

During the press conference, Gov. Murphy took time, again, to implore New Jerseyans to comply social distancing measures.

“Everyone please, please, please continue to follow our stay at home directive,” Gov. Murphy said. “Don’t think because you feel fine after a few days that it’s ok to resume your previous normal life style. It is not.”