Apr 15, 2020
NJ Gov. Phil Murphy COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 15
Governor Phil Murphy held a coronavirus press conference today, April 15. Read the full transcript here.
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Governor Phil Murphy: (00:01)
Joining me today are three people who now need no introduction. I can say that without reservation. The woman to my right, the Commissioner of the Department of Health, Judy Persichilli. To her right is state epidemiologist, Dr. Christina Tan. And the man to my left, the state police superintendent, Colonel Pat Callahan. Also joining us, per usual, the director of the Office of Homeland Security Preparedness, Jared Maples, Deputy Counsel, Parimal Garg. One quick reminder that is off script, only given the date we find ourselves meeting is, before I go through our discussion, a quick reminder that although today is April 15th, your state tax returns are not due today. Pursuant to the legislation that I signed actually yesterday, you now have until July 15th and the three months extension is automatic. You need to do nothing, so just want to make sure to remind folks of that.
Governor Phil Murphy: (01:06)
Now as we’ve done for the past couple of weeks, we want to get to the numbers upfront if we can. Today we are reporting an additional 2,625 positive test results and a total of 71,030 New Jerseyans have now tested positive. According to our online dashboard, accessible again through covid19. nj.gov, as of 10:00 PM last night, 8,000 and Judy, you’ll correct me if I have this wrong, 8,270 residents were reported hospitalized, of whom 1,980 were listed in either critical or intensive care and 1,705 ventilators were in use. 39 patients are at one of our field medical stations. And between 10:00 PM Monday and 10:00 PM last night, 709 residents were discharged from our hospitals and that’s good news. Additionally, we are now adding daily reports from our three veterans’ homes to our online dashboard. We know these facilities are a specific point of concern as they should be. God bless our veterans and especially obviously for those veterans themselves who are living there. We must remain, at all costs, committed to them.
Governor Phil Murphy: (02:24)
These reports will be updated when the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs receives their data from these homes, I believe at approximately 3:00 PM. So more on that as we get it. As we note every day, all of these numbers are just a snapshot in time, overnight changes or late reports may not yet be reflective in the data that is posted. And remember too, that for our healthcare facilities, this remains a very fluid situation. Sadly, and with the heaviest of hearts, we also have the duty to report another 351 deaths among our extraordinary New Jersey family due to COVID 19 related complications. The overall cost in lives to our state from COVID 19 now sits at 3,156 blessed souls. I do want to put a couple of numbers into a broader perspective and Judy and I have hit this point, but I think it’s worth hitting again.
Governor Phil Murphy: (03:25)
First, the number of deaths that we report on any given day does not mean that we lost that many residents literally in the past 24 hours since we were gathered. In some cases, these are residents who we have lost within the past several days, but the determination into the cause of death means that now we are counting them among our COVID 19 losses. There have been several reports in particular about the number of deaths announced yesterday and while yes, yesterday’s number was our largest single reporting number and today’s is right behind, a significant number of these deaths occurred over the Easter weekend and are only now being reported. Is that fair to say Judy? Additionally, the overall number of positive test results we report is cumulative since our first case was announced on March 4th. Of these, roughly 54,000 of the total of just over 71,000, have been reported in the month of April so far.
Governor Phil Murphy: (04:31)
And given that it’s April 15th and I think the experts to my right would suggest plus or minus a two week incubation period is still the expected reality with coronavirus, that means approximately 17,000 individuals have now exited that two week incubation period. Sadly, we’ve lost some of those folks. Let there be no doubt about it, but it is a fact plus or minus that about 17,000 are outside of that incubation period. As we see the daily overall number of overall positive test results rise, we should also keep in mind that every day there are hundreds if not thousands of residents who had received a prior positive test result who have now likely defeated the virus and may it stay that way. These are just contextual aspects to these numbers that I think we should all bear in mind. They should not however be seen in any way as lessening either the gravity of the situation, the strain in our healthcare system and our state or our need for preparedness.
Governor Phil Murphy: (05:36)
And they in no way ease the pain of the families who have lost loved ones and the communities who have lost people who made life a little better and a little brighter in all of the above cases. I’d like to remember if I may, three such individuals today. First up, Eugene Jean Thomas, there he is on the right. Again, a guy known for his hats and he’s wearing a pretty cool one right there. He was a fixture in his beloved Ridgewood in Bergen County where he lived his whole life and here he is with Ridgewood Mayor Ramon Hache. He had just turned 78 a few weeks ago, I believe on the day that he was admitted to the hospital, as his daughter Jackie put it and I spoke to Jackie earlier today, “Even though some may not have known him personally, they always would see him in town walking down the avenue with his hat on and carrying his beautiful smile.”
Governor Phil Murphy: (06:35)
He was also apparently somewhat famous for baking pound cakes. He worked in a dry cleaning business, but his love was music. Everything from gospel to blues and the music he recorded in the 1960s is still played today. He leaves his daughter, Jackie and her family, three granddaughters and a grandson who is due next month. He’s also survived by his brother, two sisters, nieces and nephews, and a tremendous community of friends. I spoke to Jackie, as I mentioned. She is in Florida and because of all that we’re going through, could not even get up here to be with her dad and so our heart goes out to her and her family and his memory.
Governor Phil Murphy: (07:15)
Next up, Lieutenant Danny Francis. There’s Danny. He worked for nearly 16 years for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. So to Ted Stevens and team at that office, our hearts are with you. After retirement, he kept going as a civilian analyst for the Newark Police Department and to our brothers and sisters in the Newark Police Department, our hearts go out to you there as well. Danny was only 51 years old when we lost him on Monday. To know a little bit about his career, consider this, in 2006 he was recognized by the 200 club of Essex County for Valor in the line of duty for risking his own life to take down a known drug trafficker. He leaves behind his wife, Serita Vega, and I spoke to Serita as well this morning. By the way, she herself is a detective with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. He leaves his wife Serita along with two adult children, another who’s in college and a six year old son. On behalf of our state, we thank Danny for his career of public service and for his long standing excellent work to keep our neighborhoods safe. We will keep him and his family in our thoughts and in our prayers, God rest his soul.
Governor Phil Murphy: (08:34)
And finally we wished to recognize the legacy of Jacquelyn Cruz-Towns. And there she is on the right. Many may know her as the mother of New Jersey basketball legend and NBA star Karl Anthony Towns, but she was much more. She was a family matriarch and an enduring and constant presence, not just in her son’s life, but that of everyone who knew her. She also had spent, by the way, 20 years working at Rutgers University. Her husband, Carl Sr., also contracted COVID 19 but is recovering and we keep him in our prayers as well. One story noted that it may have been Carl Anthony Sr., who taught his son the skills to play ball, but he got his emotional spark from his mom. She was only 58 years old. To Carl Anthony and his dad, and I spoke with each of Carl Anthony and his dad this morning, and their entire family and the broader basketball community, we send our deepest condolences, God rest her soul. And I can say today without any doubt in New Jersey, we are all Timberwolves fans today.
Governor Phil Murphy: (09:43)
These are only three individuals out of what is now 3,156 lives that we have lost to this disease. We don’t take any pride or joy in recounting these stories saying these names and seeing these faces and knowing there are quite literally thousands more we can memorialize, does not make our pain or your…
Governor Phil Murphy: (10:03)
… thousands more we can memorialize does not make our pain or your pain or any of our pain and grief any less. But these lives should be the inspiration we need to keep working to defeat COVID-19 and to lower the toll this enemy is having on our blessed state. I’ve said it many times before, we have taken among the most aggressive positions of any state in America to slow the spread of this illness. We have asked you to make tremendous sacrifices with us in this fight. I know some of them may seem like new nuisances, but every step we have taken has been made out of sheer necessity. I promise you that.
Governor Phil Murphy: (10:42)
I’ll turn to a map that we’ve been looking at every day recently. The lighter the shade of the county, the better it is. We’re getting New Jersey lighter and lighter. That’s a good thing. The less bright orange we see, the slower the spread. That means we’re flattening the curve, which not only means we’re keeping people from getting COVID-19, but that we’re also lessening some of the immense strain on our healthcare systems. We’re continuing to do everything we can to prepare for the absolute worst.
Governor Phil Murphy: (11:14)
As we’ve said, we’ve already been able to increase hospital capacity statewide, Judy, I think by 60%. We’ve set up three field medical stations in partnership with the Army, US Army Corps of Engineers, and we’ve had beds set aside for our residents on the USNS Comfort. By the way, I mentioned this the other day, I want to put a name on this who’s captain and not today, but at some point, Daniel, let’s get Captain Joe O’Brien’s picture up here. He’s a New Jersey native and as my son Sam reminds me, he is a graduate of Red Bank Catholic by the way.
Governor Phil Murphy: (11:47)
Nothing however, and I do mean nothing would make us happier to come out of this realizing that we are over prepared. That would be our new best case scenario, the best mistakes we ever made in our lives. Because if we do, that means that you will have done the hard work of helping us pull through this. It means you took to heart our call to keep a social distance, not just most of the time or sometimes, but at all times. To stay at home unless you absolutely need to go out or unless you are needed as one of the folks who are either an essential worker or helping us fight this virus.
Governor Phil Murphy: (12:26)
This is a war. It is the fight of our lives. Wars are not won by one person or one small group. They’re won when millions of people come together in a common cause. Our cause right now is totally flattening the curve and then seeing it drop down the other side. Then we can begin the process responsibly along with our neighbors of reopening our state and beginning to live life in our new normal. But we only get there if this entire map in front of us gets to its lightest shade and stays there. This is no time to let up. We have got to keep at it.
Governor Phil Murphy: (13:09)
I just have to say this again, although I think the weather for the next few days is not going to be terribly hospitable, but it’s going to be sooner than later. The weather will get better. All of us are anxious to break free. We completely understand that. We accept that completely. We can’t. We have to stay home. Look at the progress we’ve made on that map. This is making a huge difference. That curve of positive test results undeniably 10 days now is increased at 10% are now meaningfully less. We need to keep it that way.
Governor Phil Murphy: (13:44)
We need to flatten that curve, which means fewer people get infected, fewer people in hospitals, fewer people in intensive care, fewer people needing ventilators and please God, fewer people who pass. As we continue to do that, Judy and Christina and Pat and all of their colleagues, are building out that capacity of beds, healthcare workers, ventilators, medicines, personal protective equipment, again, so that those two lines cross at a reasonable level and at a reasonable date.
Governor Phil Murphy: (14:16)
That is the charge to the 9 million of us. So far so good. No state has come close to what we’ve done in New Jersey. We could all not be prouder of the work that everyone is doing. We’ve just got to keep it up. Don’t take your foot off the gas folks, stay on this. I know you’re itching to get out. You’re itching to get back to normal. So am I. Who could blame you? We can’t. We just can’t yet. I promise you the second we think we can, we will let you know that. You have my word, but for now stay home, stay six feet or more apart.
Governor Phil Murphy: (14:52)
By the way, I meant to say this, Judy, there had been some great homages. I saw one [Vingo Paul 00:00:14:58] sent me an homage for healthcare workers gathering. Pat, you were on the text somewhere in Monmouth County over the past couple of days. The good news is everyone had a mask on. The bad news is they weren’t six feet apart. Again, I want to repeat unless you and Dr. Tan disagree, that nothing trumps social distancing, six feet apart at minimum, putting a mask on. Even a crazy one like this does not give you permission to get closer than six feet. So please folks, we want to celebrate our heroes and healthcare workers, first responders, essential workers, warehouse, supply chain, workers, longshoreman. We want to do that with you, but we got to stay apart from each other. We cannot congregate even if we’re wearing a mask. Stay on it, folks. You’ve done an extraordinary job. We will win this war unequivocally, but only if we keep at it. Please folks, stay at it. Stay home, stay apart, keep your face covered and we will beat this damn virus.
Governor Phil Murphy: (16:03)
Okay, switching gears. Good conversation this morning with Secretary Mnuchin talking about again the important need, the overwhelming need for support and financial help from the federal government. He gets it to his credit. We’re just working through. I spoke to Senator Menendez shortly thereafter and reiterated the same point. Individuals need it who are unemployed. We’ve got an extraordinary, over 500,000 people have lost their job. Small businesses need it in a big way. The state of New Jersey needs direct cash assistance from the federal government. It was a good conversation. Again, a good conversation following that with Senator Menendez, comparing notes generally and also mentioning this point specifically.
Governor Phil Murphy: (16:47)
On testing as the slide suggests, of our two FEMA-partnered testing sites both tomorrow, April 16 and Friday, April 17. I want to make sure everyone hears that. Both tomorrow April 16 and Friday, April 17 only the Bergen Community College site will be open from 8:00 AM each day maximum of 500 tests. Again, you’ve got to be a Jersey resident and symptomatic. The PNC Bank Arts Center will open again on Saturday, April 18th and that will be exclusively for symptomatic first responders and healthcare workers. It will reopen to the general public on Monday, April 20. Again, repeat Bergen Community College April 16 and 17, so tomorrow and Friday. PNC Saturday just for symptomatic first responders and healthcare workers. Then they’ll go back to a regular schedule on Monday.
Governor Phil Murphy: (17:42)
I mentioned this yesterday, it has been clear that we have had an imbalance between folks showing up to get tested at the Bergen Community College versus Holmdel at PNC Bank Arts Center. Again words to folks out there as you’re thinking about planning your days, this is really relevant for next week because we’ve got a different schedule for the next couple of days, think through whether or not you can pivot to Holmdel because the lines have been shorter there.
Governor Phil Murphy: (18:11)
There are now roughly two dozen publicly accessible testing sites across the state that are listed on our information hub at covid19.nj.gov/testing. Additionally, there are roughly 40 more privately run sites that your primary care practitioner can send you to for testing if you meet the requirements for testing. I think in total the number remains at about 66 locations in the state.
Governor Phil Murphy: (18:39)
We have been in regular, I would say constant and deep contact for some time with the team at Rutgers, especially with Dr. Brian Strom. Judy mentioned this yesterday, we’ve also been in discussions with the White House. The President mentioned Rutgers in a shout out yesterday which was nice to hear. The White House who notified by the way this past weekend of the FDA approval for the Rutgers-developed saliva test and the potential for this new system to be put in widespread use to help us meet our testing needs. In addition to Brian Strom, I reached out this morning and left a message for Professor Andrew Brooks who is part of that team. We are working intensely with Rutgers and specifically now with Middlesex County today to roll out this new testing system. We will closely monitor how everything goes.
Governor Phil Murphy: (19:29)
Nationally, and you’ve heard this before but it bears repeating, resources and PPE have been limiting factors to the testing regime. We know what we need. We will advance every opportunity to increase mass testing. It is incredibly gratifying, I think it’s a source of great pride for all of us to see New Jersey’s own flagship university stepping up to help fill the testing gap. I am proud of the work at Rutgers and look forward to moving forward with them. I know Judy and her team joins me in that.
Governor Phil Murphy: (20:01)
As I said yesterday, we’re not alone in our desire to …
Phil Murphy: (20:03)
… In that. As I said yesterday, we’re not alone in our desire to have more sites and more tests. We’ve wanted that from moment one. Every state in the entire nation is facing the same issue we are. But as I also know that we also have conducted the fourth most tests of any American state and the only states which have conducted more tests are states whose population are significantly larger, New York, California, Florida. This doesn’t mean however, that I’m not continuing to push for more testing supplies and support at every opportunity. I’ve made this clear to the White House and to our congressional delegation and we’ve seen some successes and we’ve mentioned this. We have received a commitment from FEMA to keep our partnered sites at both Bergen Community College and the PNC Bank Arts Center up and running through at least the end of May. And we are a rare state that got that support.
Phil Murphy: (20:53)
And as I said, I will not let up until we have everything we need to successfully fight COVID-19 whether that be testing supplies, personal protective equipment, ventilators, you name it. We’re going to turn over every stone anywhere literally in the world to get what New Jersey needs and of course, by the way, at the same time, we’re going to continue to ask each of you who can help us to please continue to step forward. If you have any PPE to donate, no matter how large or small your stockpile, please reach out to us at covid19.nj.gov/ ppedonations. You can see the website right there. Or manpower, if you have prior experience as an EMT or a paramedic or as a physician or a nurse or a respiratory therapist or any of the other medical specialties we need you among our volunteer core, please visit covig19.nj.gov/volunteer as you can see, to sign up.
Phil Murphy: (21:57)
Couple more brief items Judy, before I turn things over to you, if I may? First I want to recognize another one of the truly good stories that’s coming out of this emergency. And this one was sent to us by our dear friend and great leader, Senator Loretta Weinberg. And Loretta lives in Teaneck, which we know has been one of the communities most impacted in this state, if not this country. The science director for the Teaneck schools, there he is on the left. Rolando Montserrat, came across the plans online for producing face shields and his first thought was how to make enough to make a difference. Using his own personal 3D printer and borrowing three others from the Teaneck schools and with the support, I might add of the Teaneck PTO and alongside one of his students and that’s the gentleman on the right, sophomore Alias Sanchez. He has been able to turn his home into a mini face shield factory. They just donated their first 340 face shields to Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck and God knows that Mike Marin and his team at Holy Name could use all the help they can get. They’ve been incredible heroes in this fight. Additionally, the Teaneck schools have donated the goggles normally set aside for use in their science labs and gloves from their nurses offices to members of the townships’ ambulances. This is the essence of the community coming together so to the Teaneck public schools, NJ thanks you and we ask you all to continue highlighting the everyday people doing extraordinary things by using the hashtag NJ thanks you on social media and we will keep sharing their stories.
Phil Murphy: (23:55)
Finally, before I close, I want to pay tribute to two folks who did not… Danny, hold on a second, who did not literally die directly from the COVID-19 reality, but they have passed. First one I just spoke to his widow Anne Luzzatto, Gordon Litwin. Gordon was 90 years old. He died again from reasons other than COVID-19. We don’t have his picture because I called an audible at the line of scrimmage. Gordon was the chairman, however, of the Hackensack Meridian health system, which is extraordinary that Gordon left us in the middle of this fight. His widow Ann said to me unequivocally, “He would be right there with Bob Garrett and the rest of the team in the engine room. He was a giant in our state” and Gordon, God bless you and we wish Ann nothing but the best and have her in our prayers.
Phil Murphy: (24:48)
And we lost a dear friend and great leader as well. Yesterday in our state and a dear friend of mine, professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey, President Dominick Marino. Not sure why, but known to many as Don, not withstanding, his name is Dominick. Again, we didn’t lose him to COVID-19 but his loss leaves a huge hole in the hearts of many, including yours truly. I put it last night in a statement as a firefighter, Dominick would run into burning buildings, but he would just as quickly run through walls if it meant helping his fellow firefighters. There’s a reason his members look to him. He never stopped working for them, never stopped thinking about them and never stopped living and breathing the life of a firefighter. Personally, Dominick was a friend whose opinion I greatly valued, especially on matters related to his members. Whenever it is I leave office, one of the greatest days of pride that I will look back on will be the day that I signed the Thomas P. Canzanella 21st Century First Responders Act.
Phil Murphy: (25:57)
That law gives our firefighters and members of law enforcement greater protections when their health is impacted by their line of duty work, like the illnesses that many suffered as a result of their efforts at ground zero following 9/11. Getting that law passed was one of his great passions. It might as well have been named after Dominick, frankly. He was by my side when I signed that bill and I am forever honored to have been the governor to have signed it. But beyond that, wherever a firefighter or a department needed help, you’d find Dominick. He was one of a kind, a firefighters firefighter.
Phil Murphy: (26:35)
To his wife Ellen, with whom I spoke yesterday. And you can only imagine he literally dropped dead yesterday afternoon, and their three children and I also spoke to his daughter Rachel and Pat knows well as a New Jersey state trooper and someone I’ve gotten to know over the past couple of years, he leaves two grandchildren. We thank you all for sharing Dominick with us all these years. He will be deeply missed by many, many, many in this state. And so to you Dominick, God bless you buddy. Thank you for your service. You will never be forgotten. And with that please help me welcome the woman who needs no introduction, the Commissioner of the Department Of Health, Judy Persichilli.
Judy Persichilli: (27:11)
Thank you Governor. Excuse me. The department of health continues to work aggressively with our partners to expand our bed capacity in the state. The field medical stations, as I’ve shared in the past, two have opened Edison and Secaucus. And we expect Atlantic city to open next week. The Secaucus site currently has 47 patients, 25 more will be accepted this afternoon. And overall they have already served a total of 79 patients and discharged 32 of them. The Edison field station currently has 14 patients. 10 more will be admitted this afternoon. Overall, that field station has served 19 patients and discharged five to date. These field medical stations along with the brick and mortar hospitals that we’re bringing up, will provide more than 1600 additional beds in our state. And these beds in addition to the work that all of our hospitals have done to increase their capacity, will help us handle the surge that we are in, in the North and expecting throughout New Jersey.
Judy Persichilli: (28:23)
Last evening, our hospitals reported 1,270 hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19 or persons under investigation. The daily growth rate in hospitalizations is 3%, down from the observed rate of 4% yesterday. There are 1,980 individuals in critical care and 1,705 of those individuals are on ventilators. That’s 21% of the hospitalized patients with COVID-19 or persons under investigation on ventilators. 86% of the ICU patients are on ventilators, slightly down from that peak of 97% a number of days ago. Since April 4th, there have been 6,300 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 or persons under investigation discharged from our hospitals. So while the numbers we report every day are grim, over 6,000 discharges serve as a reminder that people are getting better and they are overcoming this illness. As the Governor said, we are still looking for healthcare professionals to volunteer. The state is in need of EMTs and paramedics to support our current workforce. Individuals whose EMT certifications have expired within the past five years are eligible for COVID-19 EMT re-entry. We’ve also granted a waiver for EMTs from out of state.
We’ve also granted a waiver for EMTs from out of state who want to help us here in New Jersey. To sign up, please visit covid19.nj.gov/volunteer. Additionally, we still need nurses aides for our longterm care facilities, and we’re encouraging all student nurses to sign up.
Today we are reporting 2,625 new cases for a total of 71,030 cases in the state. Sadly, 351 new deaths have been reported to the department for a total of 3,156 fatalities in our state. 55 of these new deaths were residents of longterm care facilities. Of the deaths, 51.7% are documented as white, 21.9% black/ non-Hispanic, 15.5% Hispanic, 5.7% Asian/non-Hispanic, and 5.2% other non-Hispanic. On the underlying conditions, the trends are holding: 60.4% cardiovascular disease, 37% diabetes mellitus, 29.6% other chronic diseases, 20.9% chronic lung disease such as asthma, emphysema or COPD, 15.3% chronic renal disease, 15% neurological or neuro-developmental disability and 11.4% cancer.
There are currently 358 longterm care facilities in the state documenting individuals with COVID-19. 6,815 cases have been reported from longterm care facilities. In our veteran homes, there’s a total census of 800 veterans between the three sites. 160 veterans have tested positive for COVID-19 or are persons under investigation. A total of 45 deaths have been reported. In our psychiatric hospitals, excuse me, out of a census of 1400 patients, 97 have tested positive or 7%. Out of the staff or employees of 4,800, 237 have tested positive or 5%, and six deaths have been reported among our patients.
According to data from this morning, seven laboratories reporting, 131,967 tests have been performed. 58, 976 have returned as positive for a positivity rate of 44.69%.
That concludes my report. Thank you again for staying home and maintaining social distancing. It is making a difference. Stay connected, stay safe, and stay healthy. Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: (33:22)
Judy, thank you. Just a couple of quick follow-ups if I may. The counties are holding the same in terms of where we had the most positive tests. In order, Bergen, Essex now a little bit ahead of Hudson. Hudson is third, Union fourth, Middlesex fifth, Passaic sixth. You didn’t do race and ethnicity, did you or, I was making notes to myself if-
I did. I can do it again.
Governor Phil Murphy: (33:47)
No, no. That’s my bad. No, I don’t want to make you do that. We had a conversation earlier including the Lieutenant Governor and Judy and Pat, myself and others. I know that there was a call last night, I believe, that you, the Lieutenant Governor, Carol Johnson, Senator Rice-
The first lady.
Governor Phil Murphy: (34:13)
Tammy Murphy was on with the Black Doctors Association. I know Sheila is doing a town hall, I think, tonight with Mayor Ted Green in East Orange. Trying to get at this question. It’s been bouncing it around at around 50% higher representation and fatalities among African Americans than we have in society writ large. And just sort of trying to talk through the reasons for that.
Governor Phil Murphy: (34:39)
Judy, the ones that I took away from our call, among others, were the density of the living condition, overall access or lack thereof to health, as you call co-morbidity, an underlying, a disproportionate amount of underlying health challenges on a going-in basis to this crisis, and disproportionate representation in the workforce that is still going to work every day. Nurses, first responders, essential workers, et cetera. Is that a fair …
It’s exactly what we discussed. Yes.
Governor Phil Murphy: (35:19)
And so those are the things that we got to continue, as they say, to unpack. It’s not like we weren’t focused on those on a going-in basis before this crisis ever occurred. But now this, like a lot of other things, this really shines a light on the weaknesses and the inequalities in our society. Again, I want to give the Lieutenant Governor a big shout out. Senator Ron Rice, who’s been a leader on this from from moment one.
Governor Phil Murphy: (35:45)
The veterans you mentioned, 45 lost wives. Just a tip for folks out there with loved ones in those homes. 29 of them, I believe, in Paramus, 16 in Menlo Park, but none so far, and I’m knocking on wood, in Vineland. And that’s something I spoke to the Secretary of Veteran Affairs about yesterday. So again, Judy, thank you for everything including your report.
Governor Phil Murphy: (36:08)
Colonel Pat Callahan, and you’ve got on compliance on PPE and other matters.
Pat C.: (36:13)
Thank you, Governor. Very briefly on compliance on overnight. Hoboken police responded to a burglary reported. Subsequent investigation led them to the arrest and charge of a subject who had broken in through a front window and was found in possession of alcohol and cigarettes. While being processed, that subject coughed at the police, indicating he was COVID-19 positive.
Pat C.: (36:37)
Perth Amboy Police issued two executive order violations. Salem issued one executive order violation in the wake of a motor vehicle accident where the subject provided false information.
Pat C.: (36:53)
In Lodi up on route 80, a Jersey trooper was pursuing a vehicle in excess of 130 miles an hour. Subsequently broke off that pursuit. The subject was later identified at a gas station by another trooper, who then again went up on route 80. They did not pursue him but subsequently had enough to charge that individual who turned himself in up at the [inaudible 00:37:15] barracks with his attorney.
Pat C.: (37:17)
In Elizabeth, three individuals was cited for violation of the executive order. And at Passaic an additional three were cited as well for the EO violation. In Hillside one cited, and in Newark, always leading the charge, 88 executive order violations and five businesses were shut.
Pat C.: (37:39)
Although the commissioner touched upon it, Governor, I just think just one piece that is the stark reality of this is the mortuary affairs. That is a daily discussion for us. It is not an easy discussion between our chief medical examiner, the medical examiners, the funeral directors. A few steps that we’ve taken. DEP this week issued a waiver to allow crematoriums to extend their hours in order to assist with the stress that our systems are under.
Pat C.: (38:09)
The attorney general I spoke with this morning, he is working through Consumer Affairs to try and extend, and I think will be successful in extending the hours that cemeteries can operate. We’re hearing that from our funeral directors. Beyond the mortuary trailers that we have.
Pat C.: (38:24)
One component that I just will stress before I turn it back is the crisis counseling that goes along with the not-normal process to have to deal with that much death. So we want to make sure that we built that crisis counseling into all of those that are working through this mortuary affairs issue. I know we use the term resiliency a lot, and some people think that that’s bouncing back, but in this instance, we’re not sure people can ever bounce back. So we use the term bouncing forward. Because none of us, I don’t think, included us here and around the country and state will ever really be the same. So that resiliency piece, I think, is going to be monumental as we move forward to the other side of this. Governor.
Governor Phil Murphy: (39:06)
Pat, really well said. Let there be no doubt. I don’t think anyone is ever going to be the same, especially folks who have lost loved ones, but even friends and broader community …