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COURTESY FUSION MEDICAL ANIMATION ON UNSPLASH

By GWEN OREL
orel@montclairlocal.news

The COVID-19 pandemic continues its growth in New Jersey, as the state reported another 3,381 cases of COVID-19, and 71 resulting deaths, on Sunday afternoon, April 5.

Montclair now has a total of 165 people testing positive for COVID-19, and 20 individuals who did not survive the illness.

To date, 37,505 New Jersey residents have tested positive for the virus, and 917 have died. The state is reporting 4,082 cases in Essex County, an increase of 468 since Saturday, and 172 deaths, an increase of 17.

According to numbers released by Essex County Sunday morning, 10 of the county’s 22 municipalities are reporting at least 100 positive cases. The county’s three most populous municipalities are also the top three in COVID-19 cases, with Newark (1,303) ahead of East Orange (412) and Irvington (330). Additionally, West Orange, Belleville, Bloomfield and Orange were all reporting between 200 and 300 cases, while Livingston, Nutley and Montclair were all between 150 and 200.

Newark’s 44 deaths are the most reported in Essex County, while Montclair and Belleville are reporting the second-most fatalities with 17 each. It is unclear why the county and Montclair Township are reporting different numbers of deaths.

New Jersey is reporting the results of more than 82,000 tests as of Sunday, of which 45.6 percent have come back positive. Only people showing symptoms may receive the coronavirus test at one of the testing locations throughout the state.

Test results are reportedly taking up to two weeks to be processed; Gov. Murphy closed all nonessential businesses and banned gatherings of any size on March 21, 15 days ago.

Bergen County is still home to by far the highest number of cases in the state, 6,187, and also has seen the most deaths in New Jersey, 189.

Essex County (4,082 cases, 172 deaths) and Hudson County (3,924 cases, 87 deaths) follow close behind Bergen, while Passaic (3,227 cases, 42 deaths) and Union (3,216 cases, 71 deaths) counties are the fourth- and fifth-hardest hit.

Government officials have tested positive, including County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo and Sheriff Armando Fontoura. The husband of U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill, whose district includes Montclair, tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, and she said in a briefing yesterday that she has shown symptoms, and will be tested.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.2 million people worldwide have been infected with COVID-19, and more than 67,000 have died. The United States has reported the most cases, with more than 327,000 Americans testing positive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised residents to wear cloth masks or coverings when going out into a community setting; however, even if they can obtain surgical masks or N95s, they are urged not to buy them as healthcare and essential workers need them.

Nine hospitals in Northern New Jersey are on divert status, due to staff shortages and shortages of critical care beds, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said yesterday.

Compliance with state orders and shut-downs is being taken very seriously. A state order to create an effective communications plan with residents and their families is in place for long-term care facilities, who have until Monday to confirm they are in compliance.  If they do not comply, the names of those facilities will be released to the public.

The police have issued 120 summonses and closed seven businesses in Newark, State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan said yesterday.

More than 362,000 New Jersey residents have applied for unemployment benefits in the past two weeks, said Rob Asaro-Angelo, the commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, yesterday.

Gov. Murphy also said yesterday that he had spoken to with Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark, who asked everyone to stay at home.

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