TRENTON, NJ -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy today announced that alongside Governors Cuomo (NY), Lamont (CT), Wolf (PA), Carney (DE), and Rainmondo (RI), he has formed a regional advisory board to coordinate cooperative mitigation efforts, as well as to help guide our re-opening once the emergency passes. (VIDEO below.)
"We cannot act on our own," Gov. Murphy said during his daily press conference this afternoon. "This must be a truly regional effort, especially in New Jersey with our location between New York and Philadelphia our direct connection to Delaware and or economic connections through Connecticut and Rhode Island. I'm grateful that my fellow governors also understand how vital this is. We are all intertwined. One of the silver linings is our coordination between states."
"We celebrate this with them and their families. Their successful battle gives us continual hope against this enemy," Gov. Murphy said. "To quote a New Jersey icon, Mr. Jon Bon Jovi, 'Who says you can't go home?'."
Bergen County continues to have both the most number of positive tests and the highest number of deaths.
- Bergen County: 10,092 positive test results, 482 deaths
- Hudson County: 7,879 positive test results, 236 deaths
- Essex County: 7,634 positive test results, 433 deaths
- Union County: 6,636 positive test results, 217 deaths
- Middlesex County: 5,987 positive test results, 204 deaths
- Passaic County: 5,950 positive test results, 136 deaths
- Monmouth County: 3,875 positive test results, 127 deaths
- Ocean County: 3,593 positive test results, 141 deaths
- Morris County: 3,225 positive test results, 162 deaths
- Somerset County: 1,809 positive test results, 85 deaths
Gov. Murphy said the COVID-19 death toll is now higher than the number of New Jerseyans who gave their lives in the combination of the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
"To give you some sense of the staggering toll on the loss of life. Every day, no matter what, this number hits us right us square in the gut. These are not abstract figures; these are real people who leave behind families whose hurt cannot be described," the governor said.
"We have to continue practicing our social distancing. We are already weeks into this, and it certainly isn't any more fun," Gov. Murphy said. "We simply cannot get complacent. We can't let our vigilance slip."
The governor said he received an impassioned letter from a mom pleading with us to let kids play sports.
"We are trying to make decisions based on the data and based the science. We don't get to the point of economic and societal recovery unless it is on the back of a healthcare recovery. Our collective job is to put the fire out in the house, and we are still not there yet. Cases are still rising."
"Just stay home. That allows the number of infections to be lower, hospital beds are lower and please God, deaths are lower," Gov. Murphy added. "We cannot take our foot off the gas... I would like nothing more than to look back and say we over-prepared. If we stop, even one bit, COVID-19 can boomerang on us. It is clearly working."
Governor Murphy also announced that he has signed Executive Order No. 126, prohibiting cable and telecommunications providers from terminating Internet and voice service due to nonpayment until 30 days after the current public health emergency has ended. The order also mandates that all service downgrades, service reductions, or late fees due to nonpayment are prohibited unless they are imposed in accordance with a policy approved by the NJ Board of Public Utilities. Additionally, any Internet or voice service that was disconnected after March 16 due to nonpayment must be reconnected.
"People need to stay connected. Our kids need Internet access for remote learning. Individuals need to the ability to telework and seek medical attention electronically. Families need to keep each other informed," Gov. Murphy said. "This is no time for anyone to have their connection to the world severed."
The governor also said he is pushing for ventilators and masks and thanked the people of Taiwan to send PPE to New Jersey. He said 2 million masks have been distributed.
"We will not stop our efforts to get the supply people need," he said.