BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
New Jersey saw an increase of 2,492 new COVID-19 positive cases and 19 deaths from the virus today, Thursday, March 26, the highest single-day increase in both numbers since the crisis began. Tests pending results this afternoon were 755.
Montclair officials announced Thursday that three new residents had tested positive, and three more residents had died from complications from the virus. Montclair has now reported a total of 41 positive cases and nine deaths.
Deaths were all individuals with underlying health conditions; eight of the deceased were in long-term care facilities, according to Montclair’s Health Director Sue Portuese.
Statewide COVID-19 positive totals continued to rise as testing for COVID-19 expands. The statewide totals as of Thursday are 6,876 residents with the virus, resulting in a total of 81 deaths. Essex County now has 609 cases, with four more deaths.
The state has tested about 20,000 residents so far. Officials reported that 31 percent of the test results received today were positive, up from the 29 percent reported yesterday.
State Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said that New York officials predict that cases will peak in 14 to 21 days, which could be an indicator of New Jersey’s path forward.
Gov. Phil Murphy said the New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced several new programs to support small businesses and their workers facing economic hardship due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The initiatives include a grant program for small businesses, a zero-interest loan program for mid-size companies, support for private-sector lenders, funding for entrepreneurs, and a variety of resources providing technical support and marketplace information. Business owners can log onto https://cv.business.nj.gov to find resources.
Last week, New Jersey received 155,000 unemployment benefits applications, Murphy said, 16 times more than the week before.
Since its creation, 230,000 people seeking work have accessed the New Jersey centralized COVID-19 jobs portal. There are currently 35,000 jobs listed on the portal, said Murphy.
Today, March 26, a new drive-thru testing facility opened at Weequahic Park in Newark, open only to Essex County residents showing symptoms, and by appointment only. It will open again on Saturday, March 28. One hundred tests a day will be administered to Essex County residents only, and by appointment only. Residents can visit www.EssexCOVID.org, where they will be required to fill out a survey.
There are now testing centers in Burlington, Essex, Hudson, Monmouth, Passaic, Union and Bergen counties. The two FEMA sites at Bergen Community College and PNC Arts center will be closed this Saturday to all residents with the exception of healthcare workers and first responders. Starting Saturday April 4 and the Saturdays following, PNC Arts Center testing will be open only to healthcare workers and first responders.
In Essex, according to county officials, a number of urgent-care facilities are also administering the test to symptomatic patients. Please call ahead to see if you qualify.
While the state testing sites are offering the tests free of charge; private locations may either charge a co-payment or bill your insurance. The sites are:
American Family Care Urgent Care
480 Pompton Avenue, Suite 6, Cedar Grove, NJ 07009
CityMD Newark Urgent Care
617 Broad Street, Newark, NJ 07102
Walk in, no appointment
The Doctors’ Office Urgent Care of West Caldwell
556 Passaic Avenue, West Caldwell, NJ 07006
walk in, no appointment
American Family Care Urgent Care
464 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite C, West Orange, NJ 07052