By ERIN ROLL
Montclair has five new cases of COVID-19, bringing the township total to 55, as the number of statewide cases passes 11,000. However, there were no additional deaths reported in the township on Saturday, March 28.
As of that day, there were 2,289 new cases of COVID-19 across the state, bringing the statewide total up to 11,124.
Thirty-two more people have died, bringing the total deaths to 140. There were seven deaths each in Bergen and Union counties; five in Middlesex County; three in Morris County; two each in Hudson, Passaic and Essex counties; and one each in Ocean, Somerset, Warren and Sussex counties.
Out of the 10 deaths in Montclair, all had underlying health conditions and nine were in long-term health facilities, according to Montclair’s Health Director Sue Portuese.
Gov. Phil Murphy urged everyone to continue with social distancing. “Let me put it this way. No one is getting graded on a curve for their social distancing. This isn’t an A- or a B+. This is a pass/fail,” he said during a press briefing in Trenton on March 28.
The state has banned weddings, funerals and other gatherings as part of the efforts to stem the outbreak. This week, Murphy said, police in Ewing Township were called to an apartment on a report of a large gathering there.
Essex County has the second-highest number of positive cases in the state. There were 197 new cases reported in Essex County as of March 28, bringing the county total to 1,086 cases.
Bergen County has the highest number of cases. The county saw 250 new cases as of March 28, bringing the county total to 1,838.
The deaths include 20 men and 12 women, and range in age from 30 to 100. Twelve of the deceased patients had underlying medical conditions, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.
None of the 32 deaths were associated with long-term care facilities, she said. Seventy-one of the state’s 375 long-term care facilities now have at least one documented case of COVID-19.
Persichilli acknowledged that workers in long-term care facilities were likely fearful that they would not have sufficient protective equipment. She assured them that the state was working to acquire as many PPEs as possible.
Both Murphy and Persichilli extended their thanks to essential workers, including health care workers, first responders and retail staff.
Murphy urged residents, when going grocery shopping or getting takeout from a restaurant, to be mindful of store staff and of restaurant workers, and to comply with social distancing for everyone’s safety.
Banks and lenders, including state-chartered institutions, are being told to give homeowners affected by the COVID-19 outbreak a 90-day grace period on mortgage payments, and to waive late fees. There is also a moratorium on foreclosures.
Murphy however, called for more to be done, including the lowering of credit card interest rates.
Murphy said the state has heard numerous reports from renters about landlords attempting to evict them, in violation of the state’s order against evictions and removals.
Murphy warned that any landlord attempting to evict tenants would see consequences. “We will not take this lightly, and we will make an example of you for violating this law,” Murphy said.
Similarly, Murphy said, utilities that have not yet suspended cutoffs for non-payment can expect a phone call from the state, including possibly from him directly. “And it will not be pleasant.”
Many hospitals in the state and the region have reported shortages of personal protective equipment (PPEs), most notably N95 masks.
From the national stockpile, New Jersey has received 121,000 N95 masks; 285 surgical masks; 62,000 face shields; 51,000 surgical gowns, 35,000 coveralls, 368,000 surgical gloves, and 1,000 medical beds, State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan said.
The state is accepting donations of PPEs from the public, both from businesses and corporations and from private individuals. Chief Innovation Officer Beth Noveck, whose office helped coordinate the COVID-19 information hub, said on Saturday the state has received 203 donation pledges. “We’re just thrilled. Every little bit helps, whether it’s big or small.”
The press briefing included a discussion of New Jersey’s online hub for COVID-19 information.
Through the site, Noveck said, 2,000 medical personnel have signed up as volunteers in the last 24 hours, The jobs portal, which Noveck said was the first of its kind in the United States, has 43,000 jobs, both hourly and salaried, from 35 different employers.
The COVID-19 portal also has a form where employees can file a complaint against a business that may be in violation of the state’s rules on non-essential businesses.
Hospitals and other acute care facilities will be required, under executive order, to submit daily reports on their supply and usage of PPEs, as well as their bed capacity.
Murphy referred to a recent homily given by Fr. Jim Greenfield, the president of DeSales University in Pennsylvania, which referred to the term “social solidarity.”
“We are, by nature, a social species. Staying apart from our friends and neighbors, and even our own family, is not human nature,” Murphy said. “We are pulling our family and ourselves through this. And that, in every respect, is social solidarity. In those moments of isolation, in those moments of loneliness, remember that we are all in this together.”
TESTING FACILITIES IN ESSEX COUNTY
There are seven facilities where Essex County residents can go to be tested. Residents must be symptomatic in order to be tested. Residents should call ahead to alert staff that they are coming, and to ascertain that tests are available.
*Bergen Community College FEMA
400 Paramus Road
Paramus, NJ 07652
No appointment, drive-in only
*PNC Bank Arts Center FEMA
Garden State Parkway, Exit 116
Holmdel, NJ 07733
No appointment, drive-in only
*On Sunday, the FEMA centers will begin a staggered schedule, increasing the testing to 500 a day. Bergen will be open on Sunday and PNC will open on Monday and so on.
American Family Care Urgent Care
480 Pompton åve., Suite 6, C
Cedar Grove, NJ 07009
CityMD Newark Urgent Care
617 Broad St., Newark, NJ 07102
walk in, no appointment
The Doctors’ Office Urgent Care of West Caldwell
556 Passaic Ave., West Caldwell, NJ 07006
American Family Care Urgent Care
464 Eagle Rock Ave., Suite C,
West Orange, NJ 07052