NJ Department of Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli speaks with Gov. Phil Murphy at today’s debriefing.
Courtesy Rich Hundley

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

All public and private schools will be closed for another four weeks, at least until May 15, Gov. Phil Murphy said at his daily briefing today, Thursday, April 16. 

The announcement came as the state reported 4,391 new cases of COVID-19 statewide, and 362 new deaths today. The total number of deaths, at 3,518, now exceeds the total number of deaths of New Jerseyans during World War I, said Murphy. 

The total number of residents to test positive for COVID-19 is now 75,317.

The township Health Department reports that as of today, the confirmed number of COVID-19 cases in Montclair increased from yesterday’s count of 279 to 284; the number of individuals who did not survive the illness increased from 29 to 30.

“We can not be guided by emotion, only by science,” he said about his decision to keep schools closed.

The Montclair Public Schools have been closed, with instruction taking place remotely, since Monday, March 16. Gov. Murphy announced a statewide schools shutdown on March 18.

Yesterday, the state reported 2,625 new positive cases and 351 new deaths, down from Tuesday’s reports of 4,059 new cases and 365 new deaths.

As of last night, 8,224 residents were hospitalized for COVID-19, with 2,014 in critical care and 1,645 on ventilators. The daily growth rate of hospitalizations remained flat said NJ Department of Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli.

New Jersey received 100 additional ventilators today from New York.

Bergen County continues to have the highest number of cases and deaths, at 11,409 and 668 respectively. Hudson has the next highest number of cases at 9,165, while Essex has 9,126. Essex has the second highest rate of deaths at 642, while Hudson has reported 365. 

As of Thursday morning, Essex County was reporting 9,066 cases and 640 deaths, an increase of 505 cases and 51 deaths.

To date, the state has received results on 138,609 COVID-19 tests with a 45.8 positivity rate. 

Test results are no longer backlogged as they were earlier this month, now averaging three days to produce results, and the Bergen Community College and PNC Arts Center testing sites are experiencing less volume. 

The governor showed a map that reflected the doubling rate of infections, which was mainly orange last week – reflecting a doubling of new cases every three days – but is “turning lighter and lighter every day,” meaning that most of the state is now seeing its case rate double every seven days.

Murphy today announced that the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency voted to suspend rent increases at all eligible properties within the agency’s portfolio, which in Montclair includes units at Union Gardens, Matthew Carter Apartments, the Montclair Inn and 22 Fulton St.

The following was reported this morning at 10 a.m. by the county and may not reflect numbers provided today by the state and Montclair: 

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