In a press conference on Wednesday, Murphy said that the state is working hard to spread out the number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey, but also said that the growth rate of cases in the state currently matches New York, and that northern New Jersey will likely see a peak of cases in 14-21 days.
Murphy also announced that a drive-thru testing center would be opening Thursday in Newark's Weequahic Park for Essex County residents. A drive-through facility for Passaic County residents opened Wednesday at William Paterson University.
In Essex, appointments are mandatory, according to a statement from Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo. Residents should go to the county's website to complete a screening form and make an appointment.
In Passaic, county residents must have a referral from a doctor, Gov. Phil Murphy said earlier this week.
The testing centers join other facilities for county-only residents at Kean University in Union and Hudson Regional Hospital in Secaucus. There are two federally operated centers in Bergen and Monmouth counties for residents statewide.
Officials in Camden County in southern New Jersey have said they plan to open a testing center soon.
Murphy also expanded the kinds of businesses that are permitted to operate while the state's COVID-19 emergency orders are in place. The list of businesses considered essential now includes:
- Mobile phone retail and repair shops
- Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair
- Livestock feed stores
- Nurseries and garden centers
- Farming equipment stores
The list also includes groceries and supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations.
In Morris County, 94 residents from St. Joseph’s nursing home in Woodbridge are being moved by county officials to a CareOne facility in Whippany, according to a statement on behalf of CareOne.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Tuesday that workers at the senior center had become ill and the sisters who run the facility were struggling to care for the patients.
Videos and photos posted online showed officials wearing protective gear wheeling the patients from the center to vehicles to transport them to their new residence.
Finally, Murphy said that a hotline for New Jersey workers to report employers for making them come into work despite the COVID-19 emergency declaration got so many calls that it crashed the system.
Murphy said that instead of the number, the state has set up a website form for workers to report any potential violations of an executive order calling on residents to stay at home.
Murphy has called on firms to let employees work from home.
“The very fact there were so many complaints, in itself is a concern and problem. We are not making polite suggestions to your firm. Everybody needs to follow this order.”
With the Associated Press.