Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 3/19/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Don’t go underground.” – Governor Murphy urging residents to respect social distancing measures
TOP STORY: When will Politics as Usual Resume?
Announcing a statewide total of 427 presumptive positive cases of coronavirus, and two additional fatalities for a total of five statewide, Governor Murphy and state officials held their daily briefing yesterday. The virus is ‘increasing at a pretty steep curve as we expected’, said the Governor, who urged residents not to have parties or large gatherings. Noting anxiety, the Governor said ‘our job is to be straight with you’ and told people ‘don’t go underground‘. NJDOH Commissioner Persichilli commented on the increasing strain to the state’s hospital system, noting that they are working to reopen closed hospitals. Murphy sent a letter to President Trump requesting the support of the military and Army Corp of Engineers to expand hospital and ICE capacity. Asked to evaluate President Trump’s response to the virus, Murphy said he’d ‘leave history to the historians‘ and that ‘FEMA has been very good this week’. Murphy also announced expanded call center options for NJ-211 and coronavirus-related information. Earlier this week, following the third death of a resident, Murphy strengthened social distancing measures, including the mandatory closure of all indoor retail shopping centers, following the implementing of initial social distancing measures, calling it the ‘new normal‘.
The cases count by county according to the NJDOH (total at 427 and 5 fatalities as of Wednesday afternoon), with 17 positives are pending further information: Bergen County, was: 114; Essex County: 45; Middlesex County: 40; Hudson County: 34; Monmouth County: 32; Union County: 26; Morris County: 19; Passaic County: 18; Somerset County: 16; Mercer County: 15; Burlington County: 10; Camden County: 8; Ocean County: 8; Hunterdon County: 6; Atlantic County: 3; Gloucester County: 2; Warren County: 1.
Bergen County Executive Tedesco announced he sent his revised executive order to the Murphy Administration for review to be in conjunction with his emergency declaration. Tedesco’s order, which would implement stricter rules in the county, was postponed until 8am Saturday. Last week, Tedesco announced a supplemental executive order to the state of emergency declaration. The county now has 114 presumptive positive cases, the highest in the state, as of Wednesday afternoon.
Sussex County announced three presumptive positive cases, the county’s first cases.
Camden County announced four new presumptive positive cases of coronavirus. The Freeholder Board amended their state of emergency declaration, and will hold a virtual town hall this afternoon. The county has banned self-serve coffee and food, according to the Courier Post.
Passaic County issued an urgent call for volunteer medical personnel to staff its coronavirus screening POD.
Morris County adopted a temporary policy of limited public access in county bulldings.
HUD has suspended foreclosure and eviction proceedings for the next 60 days.
The NJDHS announced new resources the state’s Child Care Subsidy program.
The NJ Treasury Department announced limited closure of various offices.
The NJ Labor Department has closed One-Stop shops.
Senator Booker and several colleagues called for direct cash assistance to help Americans weather the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Senator Menendez and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent a letter to Secretary of State Pompeo raising concerns about the number of Americans stranded abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Pallone held a conference call on the federal government’s coronavirus response.
A WalletHub study ranks NJ the nations’ 4th least federally dependent state.
A WalletHub survey finds 67M Americans say they will have trouble paying credit card bills due to the coronavirus pandemic.
ICYMI: Mercer’s Hughes declared state of emergency; NJDEP: state parks and forests remain open; Murphy says there will be other St. Patrick’s Days, urges residents to ‘please, please, please, stay at home‘; among new cases is five year old; Murphy says weekend was ‘too much business as usual‘ by residents; Murphy refused to slap at feds on CNN; Middlesex declared emergency; Sherrill’s district offices closed to visitors, Malinowski will do the same, Payne’s offices will remain open, Kim announced closure of his DC office COVID case on his floor; NJMVC closed agencies; RWJ Barnabas shuts down visitation; Vitale sent up an urgent alarm for more testing kits in the state, Schepisi: ‘we were way too slow with responding‘; Trump declared state of emergency
Senator Vitale demanded yesterday morning that Governor Murphy close day care centers amid concerns of the vulnerability of Pre-K children to the coronavirus. Expressing confidence, Vitale said ‘ultimately it is the Governor’s call’. Later in the day, Vitale said that it was a ‘double standard‘ for the Governor to close public and private schools, while day care centers remain open.
Senator Sarlo urged banks to grant a ‘payment holiday‘ to restaurants and bars during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
Senator Testa released a statement in support of the coronavirus relief bill package the Senate is set to vote on today.
Assemblyman Bergen urged Governor Murphy to support a sales tax holiday during the coronavirus pandemic.
AG Grewal announced criminal charges against a corrections officer after allegedly striking an inmate. Grewal announced criminal charges against a former Family Services worker for allegedly groping a woman.
The Sierra Club lambasted the NJ Turnpike Authority for holding two hearings on proposed toll hikes during the public health state of emergency, calling it ‘undemocratic and irresponsible’.
The NJ Chamber of Commerce urged the Legislature and Governor Murphy to approve a package of coronavirus relief bills.
The NJ Dental Association approved guidance for dentists addressing coronavirus concerns.
The NJ Institute of Social Justice and several organizations sent a letter to Governor Murphy urging VBMs be made accessible to all residents in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The NJ Time to Care coalition recommended the expansion of the state’s earned sick leave law in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
NJ Policy Perspective unveiled recommendations for COVID-19 tax policy ‘do’s and dont’s’.
ICYMI: Sweeney introduced legislation to create teacher health plan, stemming from agreement reached w/ NJEA; Sweeney urged employers to stand with employees, identified actions for economic relief amid outbreak; Senate postponed and rescheduled proceedings; Singleton sits down w/ Insider NJ; Sweeney and NJEA reach deal on teacher benefits, following years of antagonism; Sarlo amendments show visible cracks in Dem caucus
In Newark, Mayor Baraka announced an 8pm mandatory curfew that started last night except for emergencies and work-related travel. All non-essential businesses are to be closed, and City Hall is staffed at minimum levels. Earlier this week, Baraka announced sweeping measures following the announcement of the city’s first presumptive positive case at a press conference over the weekend.
In Trenton, Mayor Gusciora says the city is spending $1.2M to get 1200 testing kits to test for coronavirus, according to the Trentonian. The city announced its first presumptive positive case of coronavirus on Monday and has set up an Emergency Operations Center, following Mayor Gusciora’s state of emergency declaration.
In Hamilton (Mercer), two residents tested positive for coronavirus.
In Verona, the township announced a presumptive positive case of coronavirus.
In Randolph, the township announced four presumptive positive cases of coronavirus.
In Paterson, not all businesses are obeying the shutdown order, according to the Paterson Press.
In Margate, the town activated an emergency declaration, according to Downbeach.com.
In Jersey City, 14 new police officers were sworn-in by Mayor Fulop and the police chief.
In Raritan, the township declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In Atlantic City, the future of the change of government election could be decided today, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
ICYMI: In Saddle Brook, state’s third death was 90-year old town resident; in East Orange, a woman who tested positive for coronavirus had given a false name and address at hospital; in Jersey City, Fulop pushes Newport to close following state of emergency declaration; in Camden, city has closed municipal buildings; in Middletown, officials declared state of emergency; in Asbury Park, town declared state of emergency; in Red Bank, the town declared state of emergency; in Bridgewater, town declared a state of emergency after presumptive positive case identified; in Paterson, Mayor Sayegh announced presumptive positive cases; in Piscataway, Wahler wants two month extension for census; in Teaneck, Hameduddin requested voluntary self-quarantine by residents; in Woodland Park, Kazmark announced first presumptive positive case; in Montclair, the OEM declared state of emergency
AROUND THE WEB:
Joan Quigley, For The Jersey Journal
- Unlike President Trump, I do take responsibility. I am ultimately responsible for the safety and well-being of 762 people working for North Hudson Community Action Corp. I am responsible to make certain they have a clean place to work, the supplies and equipment needed to do a good job, and the moral support to let them know how much they are needed and appreciated.
Thomas E. Franklin, NJ Spotlight
- New Jersey residents woke up on Tuesday to a strange new normal, as state and local governments implemented sweeping restrictions and widespread shutdowns in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Ryan Hutchins, Politico
- The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is charging ahead with public hearings this week on a proposed toll hike that would raise $525 million a year and create a massive new capital plan it now says will cost $24 billion over the next eight years.
Bill Spadea, NJ1015
- The politicians have largely made a mess of a situation that could have been handled with measured, consistent leadership. Looking at the ACTUAL numbers, instead of the “yellow journalism” projections fueling panic among the general public, things are manageable.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- Declan O’Scanlon has long shown he’s not going to back down from his fight against so-called “anti-vaxxers.” And certainly not now. Not when the world is facing a pandemic that will kill thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — because there is no known vaccine. O’Scanlon, a state senator (R-Holmdel) since 2018 and an assemblyman from 2008 to 2017, feels the current situation proves his point. “The overwhelming, irrefutable-at-this-point evidence is that vaccines are valuable and they’re safe,” he told ROI-NJ. “And that lifesaving information needs to be out there. And particularly while we’re being faced with this next threat, that we ultimately hope to have a vaccine for.”
More Monmouth Musings
- As the COVID-19 pandemic rages, frantic shoppers everywhere are stocking up for the long road ahead. Canned goods, hand sanitizer, cleaning products, bottled water are all hot-ticket items.
Steve Novak, For lehighvalleylive.com
- Residents of the tiny Warren County borough of Alpha don’t have to worry about their water getting shut off during the coronavirus pandemic.
Justine McDaniel, Pranshu Verma and Laura McCrystal, Philadelphia Inquirer
- Officials across Pennsylvania and New Jersey on Tuesday took steps to confront a likely surge in coronavirus cases and the spread of the illness throughout communities despite dramatic new restrictions constraining daily life and limiting human interaction.
Nick Muscavage, Bridgewater Courier News
- The impact the coronavirus is having on the global economy is clear and the New York Stock Exchange is on a wild roller coaster ride, but small businesses are also feeling under the weather. In Somerville, foot traffic downtown has been low since the weekend, multiple small business owners said. And after Gov. Phil Murphy’s announcement Monday that restaurants can only offer delivery or take-out, it’s decreased even more.
Michael L. Diamond, Asbury Park Press
- Jersey Shore hospitals have kept up with the initial round of coronavirus cases, officials say, but they have been frustrated by the slow pace of test results and dwindling supply of protective gear. Left unaddressed, they warn, the obstacles threaten to slow down care, not only for infected patients, but also for others needing health care.
Mike Davis, Asbury Park Press
- As the first positive tests for coronavirus in New Jersey came back, local Orthodox Jews were preparing for Purim. But this year, Purim was different. It’s a Jewish holiday often compared with Halloween or Mardi Gras. In most years during Purim, Lakewood is host to countless parties — the holiday is taught as “days of drinking and rejoicing” — with families going door-to-door in costume, exchanging gifts, food and charity with friends and neighbors.
David Levinsky, Burlington County Times
- Some have questioned if voters should be permitted to cast ballots at traditional polling locations or if New Jersey should either delay its June 2 primary election or require voters to use only vote-by-mail ballots if the outbreak has not abated. Teh governor could make a decision by Thursday.
Michael Hill, NJTV
- Business owners can be forgiven for being confused in this age of COVID-19 and the social distancing that government officials at all levels agree is key to controlling the potential havoc it could wreak on the health care system. In Teaneck, Samantha Saltibus St. Prix is among those trying to sort out a swirl of varying messages coming from officials in Washington, the State House, Bergen County and the township. The issue: whether her daycare center can continue to provide its necessary service.
Maureen Berzok and Malik Lyons, TAPinto
- Franklin Township Mayor, Phil Kramer is joined by his fellow doctor-mayor East Brunswick Mayor, Brad Cohen in entreating Gov. Phillip Murphy to order a statewide closure of daycare centers for children and adults, and to place all of New Jersey on lockdown for the next two weeks to “flatten the curve” in the spread of COVID-19.
Lisa Broadt, Burlington County Times
- Contact tracing for COVID-19 starts even before a patient tests positive. New Jersey coronavirus cases continue to increase daily. Burlington County has 11 coronavirus cases.
Guy Kipp, TAPinto
- Wedding plans for early spring will have to be postponed for anyone planning to be married by the Essex County Clerk’s office.”All weddings have been suspended at this time,” Essex County Clerk Chris Durkin said on Wednesday.
Steve Trevelise, NJ1015
- Sometimes you just have to cross the line, especially when New Jersey is dealing with a pandemic that is costing us a lot of money. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Branmick and Democratic Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin addressed the press Monday about a package of bills aimed at “blunting the economic effects of the Covid-19 crisis.” Bramnick came on my show on Monday to talk about it.
Shore News Network
- Difficult times call for difficult measures and in Evesham Township in New Jersey, police are now making their presence known in supermarkets around town. “The Evesham Police Department has increased our presence at all supermarkets across the township in an attempt to provide Marlton shoppers and staff with an added level of reassurance,” The Department said.
Eric Strauss, roi-nj.com
- As social distancing forces more employees to work remotely during the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are forced to grapple with another issue: cybersecurity. After all, working from home may keep employees productive and companies in business, but operating away from the watchful eye of information technology pros could leave those firms even more vulnerable to technology-related issues.
John Heinis, Hudson County View
- A woman in her 80s with pre-exisiting conditions is the first Hudson County resident to die from COVID-19, the New Jersey Department of Health told HCV.
Colt Shaw, Press of Atlantic City
- The novel coronavirus pandemic has exposed a new fault line in the age-old, typically tongue-in-cheek war between summer residents and locals.
Maddie Hanna, Kristen A. Graham and Melanie Burney, Philadelphia Inquirer
- As school districts from Lower Merion to Cherry Hill prepared to give students Chromebooks this week, Shaxi Ortiz picked up worksheets and reading materials from a Camden elementary school for her two daughters. “I only have one computer,” said Ortiz, as she left the Wiggins School on Tuesday with Shaxielys, a second grader, and Jeanielys, a kindergartner. “If they both need to go online, what would I do?”
(Visited 104,446 times, 56 visits today)