Latest coronavirus updates in New Jersey: Thursday, October 22, 2020

Virus Outbreak New Jersey

FILE- In this May 18, 2020 file photo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy wears a face mask during a coronavirus press briefing in Trenton, N.J. (Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP, Pool, File)

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NEW JERSEY — Below you will find the most up-to-date information on coronavirus news impacting New Jersey. You can find additional resources and coverage on our coronavirus page.

1 p.m.
Gov. Phil Murphy held a coronavirus briefing one day after learning two of his staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Watch the news conference below.
Voluntary quarantine

  • Murphy said he and his wife, Tammy Murphy, have tested negative for COVID-19 after learning he was exposed to the virus last weekend.
  • The governor and first lady are quarantining until the end of the weekend. They will each be tested again on Saturday and Monday before resuming in-person activity.
  • Murphy said the situation is proof that no one is immune from this virus and he wished his two staffers well.
  • There are “several” people within Murphy’s office who are not only working from home but are self-quarantining.
  • Murphy said he did not have “close contact” with the staffers, as defined by the CDC.
  • “By any measure, I did not have what you would consider or define as having close contact,” he said. “We’re going above what the requirement would be.”

Health data

  • The numbers “are not pretty,” Murphy said.
  • There are 1,182 new cases, pushing the statewide total since March 4 to 224,385.
  • Essex County has 196 new cases.
  • Bergen, Hudson, Union counties each have over 100 new cases.
  • There are 852 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. The last time hospitalizations were over 800 was three months ago, Murphy said.
  • There are 187 patients in intensive care and 74 people are on ventilators.
  • “We need to push these numbers back down. Only you can do that,” Murphy said.
  • An additional 18 deaths have been confirmed to be related to COVID-19. Fifteen of those deaths happened over the past week, Murphy said. The statewide death toll since March is 14,474.
  • The positivity rate on Sunday was 5.28%.
  • The positivity rate was 6.15% in the state’s northern counties, 5.13% in central counties and 3.66% in southern counties.
  • The statewide rate of transmission is 1.17, meaning that each new infection is leading to more than one new infection.
  • There are 28 new cases stemming from three outbreaks related to in-school transmission.
  • Since school began in September, there have been 25 outbreaks related to in-school transmission in 13 counties, totaling 111 cases.
  • Murphy advised all New Jerseyans to avoid unnecessary interstate travel, citing the spike in new cases in the state and neighboring states. “Crossing state lines for work, groceries, or worship is one thing – but otherwise, stay in New Jersey,” Murphy said.
  • The governor also implored residents to not gather indoors with people who do not live in the same household.
  • “We are seeing trouble with gatherings in private homes,” Murphy said. “We urge you to follow CDC guidance and not gather in a private home with anyone outside your immediate family.”
  • The governor said gatherings should be kept outside with masks and social distancing.
  • “We need to combat our pandemic fatigue and remain extra vigilant,” Murphy said. “Wash your hands. Keep a social distance. Wear a mask. Use your commonsense for the common good and for your own good.”

Election updates

  • Over 2.1 million ballots have been cast in New Jersey.
  • With 12 days to go until the Nov. 3 presidential election, New Jersey is already at nearly 55% of its total voter turnout from the 2016 election.

Pandemic response

  • The deadline to apply for the Senior Freeze property tax relief program has been extended to Dec. 31.
  • 28,699 new claims for unemployment were filed last week.
  • Nearly 1.5 million workers have been deemed eligible for benefits since March.
  • More than $16.7 billion has been released to working families, including FEMA Lost Wages Assistance benefits.
  • The CDC has revised its definition for when someone has been in “close contact” with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Read more.
  • Pre-registration for Phase III of the EDA’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant is now open.
  • Businesses need to pre-register by 5 p.m. on Oct. 27.
  • Applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Visit for more information.

Recent numbers
As of Wednesday, there were 223,223 confirmed COVID-19 cases in New Jersey with 14,456 confirmed virus fatalities.

For a list of drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in New Jersey, click here.

Tips to protect yourself and others amid coronavirus outbreaks.

Call New Jersey’s coronavirus hotline at 1-800-222-1222. You can also click here for additional information

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