WEST ORANGE, NJ — There were seven additional cases of COVID-19 reported in West Orange on Friday, according to data provided by Mayor Robert Parisi.

The total of COVID-19 related deaths stands at 156 in West Orange. Parisi reported no additional lives lost to the virus on Friday. The seven new cases since Thursday brings the West Orange total intake of cases to 1,265. Deaths are included in this number and remain "active" cases until a full investigation is complete. Fourteen residents remain hospitalized and, of them, three were in intensive care.

There have been 1,977 tests for COVID-19 that have registered as negative in West Orange.

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Essex County reported a total of 16,977 cases of COVID-19 Friday, with 29,566 negative test results. There have been 1,583 deaths in Essex County attributed to the coronavirus.

In time for Memorial Day weekend, Governor Phil Murphy lifted the 10-person outdoor limit on gatherings on Friday, now granting up to 25 to congregate — so long as they adhere to the proper COVID-19 safety protocols. 

“So if you were looking forward to gathering with your neighbors for a Memorial Day cookout you may do so, so long as social distance and personal responsibility remain the order of the day,” Murphy said during a press briefing this morning at the Washington Memorial Ballroom in Trenton. 

When he signs the executive order, Murphy said, the state edges closer to Phase 2 of its six-point plan to re-open the Garden State.

So as long as residents socially distance, the expansion on capacity paves the way for charter fishing, driving ranges and batting cages to operate more easily. 

However, altering the restrictions won’t impact indoor gatherings — which remains capped at 10 people. 

Following the continued easement of safety rules, Murphy said he expects to have guidance on graduations early next week.

“Because you have taken to heart all you’ve asked us to do, to safeguard public health, we can take this step together, metrics from hospitals,” Murphy said. 

There were 152,719 positive individuals with COVID-19 (1,247 more since Thursday), and 10,985 deaths (146 more).

Friday was the fifth straight day state officials announced fewer than 200 additional deaths, and the 16th consecutive day with fewer than 2,000 additional cases.

The latest, including discharges and hospital census, is updated on the state’s health department website.

Steven Rodas contributed to this report.