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COURTESY STATE OF NEW JERSEY Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at a June 30 press briefing in Trenton.

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

The New Jersey Department of Health issued guidance on Tuesday, June 30, opening up visitations to loved ones in hospitals, which have barred visitors since the outbreak began in March.

Patients may only have one visitor at a time, 18 years of age or older. However, if the visitor is a minor, the minor may have both their parents or guardians with them. Hospitals must provide visitors with the appropriate personal protective equipment, and instructions on how to use it, and visitors must practice hand hygiene, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during the June 30 press briefing.

All visitors will be screened with a temperature check upon entrance. Any visitor showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be admitted. Additionally, any visitor who refuses to wear PPE will not be admitted.

In the hospital, visitors must remain in the patient’s room or the emergency room bay at all times, unless directed to leave the area by staff for a specific procedure.

Hospitals will designate their respective visiting hours and additional policies. 

Quarantine and social distancing

Gov. Phil Murphy urged residents to continue social distancing and mask wearing, as the state has had to delay the restart of indoor dining at restaurants after states in which indoor dining had resumed saw more outbreaks of COVID-19.

On Monday, it was announced that New Jersey would delay the resumption of indoor dining in restaurants, which was set to resume on July 2.

“It isn’t just knucklehead behavior. It’s the disturbing amount of indoor growth of this virus,” Murphy said.

New Jersey has dropped out of the top 10 on hospitalizations per capita, but the state still ranks fifth in terms of deaths per capita.

“We have worked so hard for these last three-plus months to get on that road back,” Murphy said.

Murphy referred to a gathering at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri over Memorial Day weekend. Several attendees at that gathering contracted COVID-19. “This is not how we beat back COVID-19. This is how we invite COVID-19. And it would be even worse if it were indoors.”

There are now 16 states that are subject to the self-quarantine guidelines: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Murphy said that he wished all of those states a swift resolution to their COVID-19 flare-ups.

Today’s numbers

On Tuesday, health officials reported 461 new cases, compared to 156 on Monday, bringing the state total to 171,667.

The overall positivity rate for tests taken on June 26 was 1.82 percent, Murphy said, down from 2.1 percent on Monday. However, the virus transmission rate was 0.88, which Murphy said represented a slight increase from 0.86 on Monday.

Health officials also reported 47 new deaths, above the 18 reported on Monday, bringing the state total to 13,181.

Hospitals reported 992 patients on Monday night, with 211 in critical care and 174 ventilators in use, compared to 978 patients, 225 critical care patients and 185 ventilators on Sunday.

On Monday, hospitals admitted 44 new patients and discharged 50 patients, compared to 45 new patients and 70 discharges on Sunday.

Persichilli reported one additional case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, bringing the number of cases to 48.

On Tuesday, Essex County health officials reported 37 new cases, compared to 12 on Monday, bringing the county total to 18,744. The county also added three new deaths, after not reporting any on Monday, bringing the death total to 1,778.

Montclair health officials reported two new cases on Monday, bringing the township total to 445, and the number of deaths remains at 52. Today’s numbers were not available.

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