TRENTON, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy provided an update on remote vs. in-class school districts during his COVID-19 press briefing on Wednesday, Dec. 2. Murphy said that right now there are 89 districts fully open for in-person instruction, 438 offering hybrid of in-person and remote instruction, 246 moving to all-remote learning, and 38 operating a mix.
Four new in-school outbreaks were confirmed over the past week, leading to 16 new cases of coronavirus infection. Overall, there have been 285 total cases of in-school transmission from 70 total outbreaks since start of the school year.
“We remain confident in the protocols in place to protect against in-school transmission,” he said.
He also provided a Digital Divide update. The governor said that approximately 33,851 students currently lack either the proper device or connectivity for remote learning – down 2% from last week and significantly decreased from 231,000 over the summer.
“We continue to work diligently to close the remaining gap,” he said.
Latest COVID Figures
“Everyone wants to know when this is going to be over, and when they can put their masks in a drawer and freely gather again with family and friends. Our daily numbers tell us the answer: not anytime soon,” Murphy said during the briefing. “We are still weeks away from the first doses of a vaccine being ready for distribution to our health care workers. We are months away from a vaccine being readily available for public distribution.”
Murphy reported that as of Wednesday, there were 3,287 patients in NJ hospitals with 599 patients in ICUs and 354 on ventilators. There were 507 COVID-19 positive residents admitted and 51 in-hospital deaths, he said.
“We can never forget that behind every one of the numbers we report each day – new cases, hospital patients, ICU patients, patients on ventilators, new hospital admittances, hospital discharges, deaths – is a human face,” Murphy said. “We’re closely watching the increasing numbers from our hospitals. The fewer people in our hospitals, the less stress and strain on our health care system... the less chance that one of our doctors, nurses, EMTs, and medical professionals contract this virus.”
Murphy called out bar/restaurants, such as Portobello, an outdoor bar in Bergen County, that are not complying with social distancing measures.
“No masks. No social distancing. No personal responsibility. The owners were cited for noncompliance, and municipal officials revoked their outdoor dining permits after 4:00 p.m. for the next 30 days,” Murphy said.
“Across the state, there are hundreds of restaurant owners who are playing by the rules. Outlier owners who think the rules don’t apply to them give the good and hard-working restaurateurs across New Jersey a black eye,” he said. “We will not tolerate knucklehead behavior that puts people at risk.”
The governor also reminded New Jerseyans that all non-essential out-of-state travel is discouraged at the moment.
“Residents and visitors coming to New Jersey, with limited exceptions, are to observe a 14-day self-quarantine. This recommendation excludes transient travel,” he said.