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LATEST UPDATES: NJ officials announce 2,492 new COVID-19 cases, 19 deaths

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The number of positive cases of COVID-19 has increased by 2,492, bringing the total number of cases to 6,876 across the state, officials said. There have been 19 additional deaths, bringing the total to 81.

“The loss of every single one of these residents is why we all need to do what we’re doing, especially practice social distancing. Coronavirus does not spread on its own,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during a Thursday briefing. “It spreads person to person. The more you stay home, unless we absolutely need you in our response efforts, the slower the spread and the flatter the curve gets.”

The disease could take at least up to two weeks to incubate, he said, adding that “it’s going to take several weeks at least for us to see a real impact from the social distancing measures we’re put in place.”

So far, there are 11 cases in Atlantic County, nine in Cape May County and three in Cumberland County.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

Atlantic County officials on Thursday announced two additional positive cases of COVID-19.

They include a man in his 60s and a man in his 50s, according to a news release on the county's website.

So far, there are 11 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Atlantic County, nine in Cape May counties and three in Cumberland County.

The additional deaths included four in Essex County, three in Bergen County, three in Middlesex County, two in Burlington County, two in Monmouth County, two in Morris County, one in Ocean County, one in Passaic County and one in Somerset County, said state Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli.

Cape May County is the first of the South Jersey counties to identify their positive cases by municipality.

They are:

  • Avalon, 1
  • Cape May City, 1
  • Lower Township, 1
  • Middle Township, 3
  • Ocean City, 1
  • Sea Isle City, 1
  • Upper Township, 1

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

State officials scheduled a 2 p.m. briefing Thursday to update the public on the spread of the COVID-19.

Appearing for the briefing include Gov. Phil Murphy, Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, State Epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan and State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan.

It will be livestreamed here.

The Atlantic County Economic Alliance is making a call for donations of personal protective equipment for the use of area medical personnel in the fight against COVID-19. The following items can be dropped off at AtlanticCare's warehouse at 1406 Doughty Road in Egg Harbor Township from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.:

  • Masks of all kinds
  • Face shields
  • Goggles/safety glasses
  • Isolation gowns
  • Shoe covers
  • Bouffant caps
  • Exam gloves (latex-free)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand soaps
  • Bleach wipes

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Atlantic City Electric warned residents of scammers trying to take advantage of customers during the pandemic.

The company has received reports that scammers are threatening to shut off service, and are offering cash or credit initiatives to get personal or financial information from customers, according to a news release from the company.

"It is unfortunate that scammers are using the public’s concerns around health and financial uncertainty to deceive and further harm our customers,” said Derrick Dickens, senior vice president and chief customer officer for Pepco Holdings, which includes Atlantic City Electric. “We want to provide our customers with tools and information that can help ward off would-be scammers and help put a stop to these ongoing scamming attempts.”   

Any customer who believes they have been the target of a scam can call their local police department and call Atlantic City Electric at 800-642-3780 to report it.

President Donald Trump on Thursday approved a major disaster declaration for New Jersey amid the spread of COVID-19.

The declaration gives the state federal emergency aid for state and local recovery efforts for areas effected by the new coronavirus beginning Jan. 20, according to a news release from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Governor Phil Murphy said that the approval means there will be access to greater, essential federal support to help residents. 

“This declaration will allow us to lift remaining bureaucratic barriers to assistance and enhance our statewide response to COVID-19," Murphy said. "I am grateful to the Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their collaboration and coordination in supporting our response and recovery efforts to COVID-19 in New Jersey.”

Murphy had requested statewide assistance Monday, 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, according to a news release from the governor's office.

During a briefing Wednesday, Murphy announced 736 new positive cases, bringing the state total to 4,402. There were 18 additional deaths, bringing the state total to 62.

A Cape May County auto repair shop and car wash said Thursday it is offering free oil changes and disinfectant cleaning with all car washes for health care workers.

Charles Baker, owner of Shore Clean Express, 452 Route 9 North, Marmora, said health care workers only have to show their work identification and don’t need appointments.

“As a husband of a respiratory therapist, I know this is a crucial time for health care workers,” Baker said in a news release. “My wife works 13-hour shifts, and now more than ever I see the need to give back to these workers and help them out.”

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Governor Phil Murphy today announced a new state website for reporting personal protective equipment, PPE.

In accordance with Executive Order No. 109, any business, non-hospital health care facility, or institution of higher learning in possession of PPE, ventilators, respirators, or anesthesia machines must submit that information to the State by 5 p.m. March 27.

The website created Thursday also gives these entities the ability to donate PPE.

“We have a critical need in New Jersey for personal protective equipment,” said Governor Murphy.

To submit information related to PPE, visit https://covid19.nj.gov/ppereport.

An Amazon employee working at the company’s Middlesex County facility has tested positive for COVID-19, NJ.com reported.

The employee is currently under quarantine, and anyone who was in close contact with the employee was asked to stay home, with pay, for 14 days in self-quarantine, the company said.

Employees at at least 10 of the company’s warehouses across the U.S. have tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Many New Jerseyans who receive food assistance through the NJ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP) will receive an extra benefit payment on March 29 and their benefits will be higher in April to help address critical food needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SNAP supplemental payments were included in the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act. A total of $70 million in extra NJ SNAP benefits will be provided over the next two months to New Jerseyans to help with the purchase of groceries.

On March 29, $35 million in supplemental payments will be provided to approximately 205,000 New Jersey households enrolled in NJ SNAP.

April benefits also will be increased by $35 million for these households.

Supplemental benefits will be directly loaded to NJ SNAP recipients’ Families First EBT cards. NJ SNAP currently serves about 670,000 New Jerseyans in 340,000 households.

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The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has approved a series of programs to support businesses and workers facing economic hardship due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The EDA announced the package of initiatives Thursday around noon. They include a grant program for small businesses, a zero-interest loan program for mid-size companies, support for private-sector lenders and Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), funding for entrepreneurs, and a variety of resources providing technical support and marketplace information.

Taken together, they will provide more than $75 million of State and private financial support, with the opportunity to grow to more than $100 million if additional philanthropic, State, and federal resources become available. The initiatives will support between 3,000 and 5,000 small and midsize enterprises and are meant to complement recently announced federal economic recovery initiatives.

More information about the programs, including eligibility requirements will be available here: https://cv.business.nj.gov.

• Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program – A $5 million program that will provide grants up to $5,000 to small businesses in retail, arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, food service, and other services – such as repair, maintenance, personal, and laundry services – to stabilize their operations and reduce the need for layoffs or furloughs.

• Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program – A $10 million program that will provide working capital loans of up to $100,000 to businesses with less than $5 million in revenues. Loans made through the program will have ten-year terms with zero percent for the first five years, then resetting to the EDA’s prevailing floor rate (capped at 3.00%) for the remaining five years.

• Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) Emergency Loan Loss Reserve Fund – A $10 million capital reserve fund to take a first loss position on CDFI loans that provide low interest working capital to micro businesses. This will allow CDFIs to withstand loan defaults due to the outbreak, which will allow them to provide more loans at lower interest rates to microbusinesses affected by the outbreak.

• CDFI Emergency Assistance Grant Program – A $1.25 million program that will provide grants of up to $250,000 to CDFIs to scale operations or reduce interest rates for the duration of the outbreak.

• NJ Entrepreneur Support Program – A $5 million program that will encourage continued capital flows to new companies, often in the innovation economy, and temporarily support a shaky market by providing 80 percent loan guarantees for working capital loans to entrepreneurs.

• Small Business Emergency Assistance Guarantee Program – A $10 million program that will provide 50 percent guarantees on working capital loans and waive fees on loans made through institutions participating in the NJEDA’s existing Premier Lender or Premier CDFI programs.

• Emergency Technical Assistance Program – A $150,000 program that will support technical assistance to New Jersey-based companies applying for assistance through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The organizations contracted will be paid based on SBA application submissions supported by the technical assistance they provide.

Contact: 609-272-7241

mbilinski@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Source: State of New Jersey Department of Health

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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