N.J. coronavirus public-health emergency extended into 14th month

N.J. coronavirus public-health emergency extended into 14th month

Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday extended New Jersey’s public-health emergency because of the coronavirus into its 14th month.

Murphy’s executive order extends the emergency another 30 days, taking it through mid-May. It expires every 30 days if not extended.

The move comes as more than 1 in 3 New Jersey adults — 2,334,968 people — are now fully vaccinated, and more than half of adults have received at least one vaccine dose. Murphy’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of eligible adults — some 4.7 million people — by the end of June.

“Our vaccination program is expanding vigorously and quickly, but COVID-19 remains a threat to New Jerseyans,” Murphy said in a statement Thursday evening. “As we move to extend vaccine eligibility to all residents of our state, the need for all available resources could not be more important.”

All New Jersey residents will be eligible to book an appointment for a vaccine beginning April 19.

Murphy declared both a state of emergency and a public-health emergency on March 9, 2020 as COVID-19 began to spread in New Jersey. The state of emergency — which is indefinite — gives state authorities certain executive powers and allows the state to receive federal aid.

The public-health emergency allows the governor to take even broader action to protect New Jersey under the state’s Emergency Health Powers Act. Extending the order does not reverse any of the steps Murphy has taken to reopen the state or institute any new restrictions, but it does keep current restrictions in place.

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New Jersey health officials on Thursday reported another 3,411 confirmed cases and an additional 47 confirmed deaths as hospitalizations declined and the seven-day average for new positive tests continued to drop.

The state’s seven-day average for confirmed positive tests declined Thursday to 3,028, down 12% from a week ago and down 3% from a month ago.

In all, New Jersey has now reported 848,566 confirmed coronavirus cases out of more than 12.8 million PCR tests since the state reported its first case on March 4, 2020. There have also been 118,835 positive antigen tests. Those cases are considered probable, and health officials have warned that positive antigen tests could overlap with the confirmed PCR tests because they are sometimes given in tandem.

The state of 9 million people has reported 25,053 people have died from complications related to COVID-19 — including 25,053 confirmed deaths and 2,592 fatalities considered probable. The probable deaths, which are revised weekly, increased by 19 on Wednesday.

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Matt Arco may be reached at [email protected].

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