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LIVE UPDATES: Cases of COVID-19 increase to 890 in NJ, deaths rise to 11

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The number of positive cases of COVID-19 has increased by 155 cases across New Jersey, bringing the total to 890 cases, state officials said Friday.

The number of deaths from the new coronavirus has also grown by two, bringing the total number to 11.

“The number of positive tests is rising .. in large part because of the expanding capabilities for private labs,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “We expected these numbers and we expect them to keep rising in the short term as greater testing capabilities ... come online.”

The two deaths include a man in his 30s from Essex County and another man in his 50s from Bergen County.

So far, there have been three cases in Atlantic County, two in Cape May County and one in Cumberland County. There have been no deaths reported in South Jersey.

A patient at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Mainland Campus, has tested positive for COVID-19, hospital officials said Friday.

Additional details about the patient were not available, hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Tornetta said, citing patient confidentiality.

“AtlantiCare continues to take all necessary precautions to reduce the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of our patients and their families, our staff and providers, and our community,” Tornetta said. “This includes following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) in caring for patients.

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, health officials have said.

Murphy said that he plans on “tightening the screws” on social distancing Saturday.

All adult day healthcare centers across the state are mandated to close, Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

This week, Gov. Phil Murphy ordered that all casinos, gyms, racetracks, movie theaters, indoor malls and schools close in an effort to stem the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases across the state. He also mandated that restaurants and bars only serve takeout food and banned gatherings of more than 50 people.

Most recently, the mandate extended to all personal care businesses, including barber shops, spas, nail and eyelash salons and tattoo parlors.

There were 600 people tested for the disease at Bergen County Community College Friday, Murphy said, and a second testing site is going to open Monday in the PNC Bank Art Center parking lot, Exit 116 of the Garden State Parkway.

For New Jersey and three neighboring states to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re going to need $100 billion in direct cash assistance from the federal government, Murphy said.

During an afternoon briefing, Murphy said that the state, as well as New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania would need the money for resources connected to the spread of the new coronavirus, including testing, caring for the sick and activating hundreds more critical care beds and units.

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State officials asked for input Friday as they work to develop programs and resources for businesses across the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state Economic Development Authority, along with the Governor’s Office, has put out a financial assistance survey for small to medium enterprise owners and leaders, according to a news release from the authority.

It can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CVSupport, and they requested that business leaders complete it by Saturday night.

In addition, the state is in the process of creating a centralized resource to match talent with opportunities in industries, according to the release. The tool is starting with critical industries like grocery stores, shipping and logistics, healthcare, janitorial services and warehousing, but will expand.

The first step is to gather employers’ immediate hiring needs, which is being done through https://jobs.covid19.nj.gov/intake.

For more information on the intake process, visit https://cv.business.nj.gov.

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The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office is operational, but officials asked that anyone call before coming to the office. They can be reached at 609-909-7800. For emergencies, call 911.

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Three New Jersey Transit employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the Daily Journal reported, citing the agency.

"These individuals are in quarantine, receiving appropriate care and will not return to work until they are cleared to do so by their healthcare provider — all of which will help contain the virus," spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said in a statement, the outlet reported. One of the employees who tested positive is a frontline worker.

As New Jersey Transit adjusts rail service levels during the spread of COVID-19, the Atlantic City Rail Line is running on a normal schedule.

All the rail lines, except Atlantic City, will operate on a weekend schedule with slight modifications starting Friday, according to a news release from the organization.

During the spread of the new coronavirus throughout the state, NJ Transit officials have enhanced its cleaning efforts, including disinfecting vehicles every 24 hours, with hard surface cleaning and disinfecting typically includes handholds, arm rests, seating areas and restrooms, according to their website.

For more information on their efforts, visit njtransit.com/COVID19.

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As Stockton University moves all online instruction for the remainder of the spring semester due to the spread of COVID-19, students will be notified when they can return to campus in order to move out.

Students will receive an email Monday outlining the move-out schedule, which will maintain social distancing protocols, according to a news release from the university. They asked students not to return to campus without a scheduled appointment.

With some exceptions, residential students are being asked to move back home for the rest of the semester.

Students were notified Thursday that Stockton will not hold in-person classes at any of its campuses or instructional sites for the remainder of the spring semester, following state and federal guidelines, according to the release. Spring break ends Tuesday and classes will resume using alternate instructional models on Wednesday.

“I know that this is not the experience any of us thought we would have when the semester began,” said Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Michelle McDonald, in announcing the decision. “We have made these decisions to protect the health and safety of our campus and community while also preserving our core commitment to student learning.”

More information and daily updates are posted on Stockton’s coronavirus page at stockton.edu.

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Customers wanting a coffee at Wawa will no longer be able to get it themselves due to concerns over the COVID-19 spread. Instead, an associate will serve it for them.

Effective Friday, the chain is also suspending all self-service fountain beverage, Icee drinks, cappuccino and iced coffee, according to a news release from the company. In addition, all bakery products will be individually bagged for customers.

It is also adjusting its store hours, implementing an overnight closure between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. at all locations for cleaning, sanitation and stocking, according to the release.

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On Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy mandated that all personal care businesses, including barber shops, spas, nail and eyelash salons and tattoo parlors to close until further notice. He also signed an executive order to suspend the removal of people from their homes due to evictions or foreclosures.

Murphy is scheduled to appear at a news conference at 2 p.m. at Bergen County Community College to mark the opening of the first community-based COVID-19 testing site.

What is closed or canceled as COVID-19 concerns increase?

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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