health

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced 3,649 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 22,255.

The governor also announced 91 new deaths as a result of the illness, increasing the state’s death toll to 355 total fatalities.

‘Surge’ of cases begins in North Jersey

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during the state’s daily briefing Wednesday that hospitals in North Jersey were beginning to see a surge in coronavirus cases.

No self-serve gas in N.J., Murphy says, as Camden opens testing site

Mar 31, 2020

On Tuesday, New Jersey officials reported 2,196 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state total to 18,696.

The virus also caused an additional 69 deaths, increasing the overall death toll to 267 residents.

New Jerseyans still can’t pump their own gas — at least not yet

Gov. Phil Murphy said he has “no plans” to suspend New Jersey’s prohibition on self-service gas even as the trade group representing gas stations says the change would make workers and drivers safer.

New Jersey will receive 300 ventilators from the national stockpile, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday, calling it “welcome news” but “far from what we ultimately will need.”

The state is seeking 2,300 of the life-saving breathing machines as a rapid uptick in COVID-19 cases pushes its hospitals to the limit.

Officials said last week they expect a “surge” of patients in mid-April.

On Monday, officials announced 3,347 new cases and 37 new deaths from the virus. That brings the statewide totals to 16,636 cases and 198 deaths.

N.J. Death Toll Tops 100 As Coronavirus Stretches Hospitals Increasingly Thin

Mar 27, 2020

Twenty-seven more New Jerseyans have lost their lives to complications from the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday, bringing the statewide death toll to 108.

“These aren’t abstract numbers,” Murphy said at his daily news briefing. “These are our neighbors, our family, our friends. All of us — we are in this together, and we mourn together.”

Murphy also announced that confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to climb unabated. The 1,982 new cases announced Friday means New Jersey has now seen 8,825 cases total, which is second-highest in the nation after New York.

Coronavirus update: N.J. unemployment claims soar 2,000%

Mar 26, 2020

More than 150,000 New Jerseyans applied for unemployment benefits last week, a staggering 2,000% increase over the same week last year, the state Department of Labor said Thursday.

The numbers on a national level are equally sobering: a record 3.3 million Americans filed for the benefits in a single week — nearly five times the initial claims recorded during the peak of the Great Recession in 2009, according to newly released federal data.

Coronavirus Update: N.J. Gov Slams Idea of Sacrificing Lives For the Economy

Mar 25, 2020

Without naming names, Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday blasted people like the lieutenant governor of Texas who have suggested that reviving the economy is worth the possible tradeoff in human life.

“We completely and utterly reject some pockets — I might add, happily, small pockets — that are suggesting around the country … that certain persons are expendable,” the Democrat said at his daily briefing. “The fact of the matter is everyone is indispensable.”

The 846 new COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday in New Jersey bring the state total to 3,675, higher than any other state in the country except New York.

Gov. Phil Murphy also announced 17 more deaths from the virus. The state death toll is now 44.

“We join their families in mourning these extraordinary lives,” Murphy said Tuesday. “And if anyone is looking to me for a reason to justify the steps that I and we have ordered, I can now give you 44 of those reasons.”

Coronavirus Update: N.J. "Stay-at-Home" Order Now In Effect

Mar 23, 2020

“The time for warnings is over”: AG promises social distancing crackdown

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal promised stiff penalties — from citations to second-degree charges — for any business or individual who violates New Jersey’s retail restrictions or stay-at-home order (more information on those rules below).

“If you’re a retail store or an entertainment center and you stay open, or if you’re a bar and you keep serving patrons in your establishment, consider this as your final warning,” Grewal said.

Haunted by Italy Scenario, N.J. Rushes to Add Hospital Beds

Mar 20, 2020

The experience of northern Italy hangs over New Jersey’s health care workers like a specter. If they can’t create the bed space now to handle an inevitable surge in coronavirus patients, they’ll face the same agonizing decisions as their counterparts in Italy: whom to help and whom to turn away.

But as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Garden State soars above 800 and the death toll ticks up, its leaders are meeting the challenge with the urgency — and creativity — of war.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday he will issue orders to shut down all non-essential businesses in the state and limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people. It’s not clear yet when these rules will start being enforced.

Murphy said details of the plan are still being finalized and would be released within the next 24 hours.

But it’s clear the new rules would be even stricter than the state’s current ban on gatherings over 50 people, sweeping restrictions on business operations, and plea to avoid personal travel after 8 p.m.

The number of known coronavirus cases in New Jersey now total 742, including nine deaths.

Gov. Phil Murphy said in his daily briefing Thursday that there are 318 new cases and four additional deaths. COVID-19 patients’ ages range between 3 and 95 years old.

“The numbers are going up, and they’re going up meaningfully,” said Murphy, who attributed the rise to partial community spread and increased testing capacity.

The number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey jumped to 427 on Wednesday, including five deaths, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

State officials said the increase was not a surprise, given that coronavirus is now spreading in the community and health workers are increasing the number of tests for patients with symptoms of the illness.

“It is a beast,” Murphy said, “no matter how you slice it.”

So many New Jersey residents tried to apply for unemployment insurance on Monday — about 15,000 — that the state website crashed, said Gov. Phil Murphy on Tuesday, the first full day that severe new restrictions on business operations were in place.

It was a strong indicator of the financial stress Americans are feeling as states across the nation restrict individual movement and limit economic activity to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has announced statewide restrictions beginning 8 p.m. Monday that will severely limit business operations and discourage individual travel in an extraordinary effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Democrat also announced that all schools in the state would close indefinitely starting Wednesday, including public, private and parochial schools from grades pre-K to 12, as well as all colleges and universities.

As New Jersey’s official coronavirus count increased to 23 on Wednesday, health officials also warned the state may be starting to see “community spread,” which means the illness is being transmitted among the general population.

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said two of the people with COVID-19 could not be connected to known coronavirus cases and had not recently traveled to areas with community outbreaks, such as Italy.

“Community spread indicates that the coronavirus is amongst us, and we have an expectation that that may be the case,” Persichilli said.

A 69-year-old Bergen County man with a history of health problems has died from the novel coronavirus, the first fatality from the illness in New Jersey, state officials announced Tuesday.

The man did not have a history of traveling outside the U.S. but had traveled to New York, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the family,” Persichilli said.

A second person in New Jersey has tested positive for novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver confirmed during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

The news came less than 24 hours after Gov. Phil Murphy released a statement announcing the first positive coronavirus case — a man in his 30s from Fort Lee, N.J.

Officials have not released the name of that man, who is resting and doing well at Hackensack University Medical Center in Bergen County, according to Ihor Sawczuk, regional president for the northern market for Hackensack Meridian Health.

No Positive Tests for Coronavirus in N.J.

Mar 3, 2020

New Jersey officials said Monday that the state still had no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, which has now been detected in 91 people across the U.S. and claimed six lives in this country.

But top New Jersey health officials warned that it was possible that the virus — which appears to have originated from animals at an outdoor market in Wuhan, China — could make its way to the Garden State.

“I would have to say, given what we’re seeing in some other states, I would not be surprised if that happened,” said Department of Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli.

For Aubrey Navarro-Conway, who has Type 1 diabetes, the constant question of how she will be able to afford insulin made her desperate and self-conscious.

“It took me a long time to understand that the only people who should be embarrassed are the pharmaceutical companies that are getting rich off the desperation of me and patients like me,” she said.

Camden County will get $190,000 to expand access to medication assisted treatment. Hudson County will spend $203,000 on new recovery efforts for young people.

In all, 12 counties across New Jersey will receive a share of nearly $1.7 million in grant funding for programs to combat the opioid crisis.

Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said the “county innovation awards” were a way for Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to be more responsive to the specific needs of local communities.

New Jersey will begin trying to stem the tide of gun violence at a new place: hospitals.

State officials announced Wednesday they were awarding $20 million in federal grant money to nine hospitals to create new violence intervention programs.

“These programs change the current ‘treat-and-release’ policies,” N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said. “Policies that have forced hospitals to discharge vulnerable victims back into the same environment in which they were injured.”

Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate failed again on Monday to rally enough support for a controversial bill that would eliminate the religious exemption for mandatory childhood vaccines.

The monthslong effort inspired raucous protests at the Statehouse in Trenton from opponents who said requiring childhood vaccines would violate their religious beliefs.

Although the Assembly previously passed the measure, there were not enough votes in support of the bill in the state Senate on Monday, the last day of the two-year legislative session.

New Jersey will provide $9.5 million to women’s health organizations across the state, including Planned Parenthood, that have seen a reduction in their federal funding.

The new state funding came in response to a rule imposed by the Trump administration that blocked recipients of Title X funding, such as Planned Parenthood, from referring patients to abortion providers.

Rather than complying with the rule, which some critics viewed as a violation of medical best practices, many organizations gave up their Title X federal funding.

New Jersey prisons and jails may have to offer blood testing for hepatitis B and C to all incarcerated, under a proposal scheduled for a hearing Thursday.

The state Department of Corrections has come under fire from some criminal justice and public health advocates who say its policy of targeted screening for the virus falls short.

“Hepatitis is a scourge. There is no denying that. But thanks to breakthroughs in medicine, it is now a curable scourge,” said Dr. Aakash Shah, an emergency room physician and the medical director of the nonprofit New Jersey Reentry Corporation.

Lawmakers in New Jersey voted to ban the sale of flavored vaping products Thursday, as part of a package of bills aimed at reducing e-cigarette use among youth.

The approval was seen as a blow to the vaping industry in New Jersey, which argued against the prohibition and claimed it could have unintended consequences.

“You’ll create a black market where the products will not necessarily be out of the hands of youth,” said Mark Anton, executive director of the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Cardiology Associates of Morristown hosted their annual “Our Noble 90’s” event to honor patients that have made it to that age.

Cardiologist Dr. David Freilich says the practice has over 300 patients that are age 90 and above.

“I think it’s a reflection of the fact that people are getting older,” Freilich said.  “People are able to keep going, stay out of nursing homes, have a great life and make the best of it.  That’s what we are here to celebrate.”

Dr. Freilich’s mother was his inspiration to host the ‘Our Noble 90’s’ event.

More Latinx and Asian children in New Jersey are living without health insurance, according to a new report.

Researchers with the progressive think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective believe tougher immigration policies from the Trump administration are instilling fear in immigrant communities in New Jersey, where 85% of foreign-born residents hail from Latin America and Asia.

New Jersey’s public schools could better equip themselves to provide mental health services to students, according to a new report.

An analysis from the New Jersey School Boards Association laid out strategies for districts interested in better serving students with mental health issues.

Frank Belluscio, deputy executive director of the New Jersey School Boards Association, said one major factor is getting students to trust staff members.

New Jersey has announced an ambitious plan to replace all of its aging lead-lined water pipes in the next ten years.

The state also wants to help residents rid their homes of lead-based paint, which is the leading cause of lead poisoning.

“It’s a problem that’s been handed to us by years — and in some cases, by generations — of inaction. Well, this is our time for action,” said Gov. Phil Murphy during a Thursday press conference.

New Jersey will begin borrowing $100 million to pay for lead remediation projects in schools across the state and require educational facilities to test for lead contamination more often.

The efforts are Gov. Phil Murphy’s latest attempts to deal with growing public concern about lead contamination in homes and schools across the state.

“Lead contamination is not a Newark problem or an urban problem,” Murphy said at a Monday press conference in Bergenfield. “It’s a problem that has been building in communities up and down our state and, indeed, across the country.”

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