TRENTON, NJ - Speaking at his COVID-19 daily press briefing on July 29, Governor Phil Murphy -- in addition to providing updated COVID-19 metrics -- again warned against attending crowded house parties, reiterated his recommendation that residents perform Motor Vehicles Commission (MVC) transactions online when possible, discussed the update to the state’s travel advisory regulations, and briefly touched on outlook for high school prep sports to returning this fall.
New Jersey’s travel advisory has been updated, and there are now just 14 states that folks can travel to and from without having to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“This goes equally whether you’re a visitor to our state, or a New Jersey resident returning from one of these states,’ Murphy said.
“We know that there continues to be some long wait times at numerous MVC agencies,” the governor said. “MVC is working hard to mitigate these delays. In less than a month, they’ve worked through more than half of the backlog created by the agency’s three-month closure.”
Murphy urged everyone with business at the MVC to check online to see if your transaction can be done from the comfort of their home. He reiterated, as he has done several times previously, that deadlines for numerous documents have been automatically extended.
Small Business Support
The governor noted that the state is investing an additional $15 million into the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program.
“With this latest investment, we will have now put a total of $70 million into direct assistance for our small business community,” Murphy said.
COVID-19 Numbers Statewide, Summit
Murphy reported 489 new positive COVID-19 test results, pushing the statewide cumulative total to 180,766. The governor announced a total of 761 patients in New Jersey hospitals -- 361 who were known to be COVID-19 positive and 400 listed as “Persons Under Investigation” pending the return of test results.
A total of 116 patients are in either critical or intensive care, and 49 ventilators are in use.
The spot positivity rate for tests from July 25 is 2.42% in New Jersey, while the rate of transmission remains 1.14. The governor said that “We need to keep these numbers down.”
Murphy reported an additional confirmed 18 COVID-19 deaths, which brings the confirmed death total to 13,923. Meanwhile, the governor said that the number of “probable deaths” has been lowered to 1,875.
“All of the metrics in our health care system continue to trend positively. We’re seeing our standing in the national rankings continue to improve,” Murphy said. “But, we’re not out of the woods yet. We still need to practice personal responsibility and common sense.”
“I want to thank each of you for all you are doing, every day, to help us defeat COVID-19. Please don’t let up,” Murphy said. “Keep wearing your masks and practicing social distancing. Don’t attend any crowded house parties.”
“I know it’s been a long four months. But, we cannot become complacent and take irresponsible risks that put our families and communities at risk,” Murphy said. “We’ve worked too hard to get to where we are now – we can’t slide backward. Keep it up.”
Locally, Summit has reported no new cases of the virus on July 28 and 29, meaning that the number of cases in Summit since the pandemic began remains at 226.
Schools and Sports
Fielding questions about the reopening of schools in the fall, Murphy reiterated that each school district has different circumstances and that some districts faced challenges in implementing remote learning because of the "digital divide" -- meaning residents of some communities can afford to have computers and internet access at home, while others cannot.
He restated that his three priorities in battling COVID-19 are: "Health, education, and equity."
Responding to a reporter’s question, he also announced that it’s “more likely than not” that outdoor high school sports would return in the fall. However, he avoided answering a question about whether sports could be played if school was not doing in-class instruction. Murphy said that it will be easier for outdoor sports to return, but winter indoor sports, such as basketball, wrestling, and hockey, face additional challenges.