‘Consider this your final warning’ – Officials to crack down on social distancing violations
New Jersey state officials say that they will be cracking down on state residents who are violating Gov. Phil Murphy’s social distancing directive, as the state deals with the coronavirus pandemic.
“For those who refuse to do their part, I assure you, there will be serious legal consequences,” said state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
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Health officials announced 935 new cases of the virus in New Jersey – a statewide total of nearly 2,900 cases. This makes New Jersey second to only New York in terms of cases of COVID-19.
Officials said that they were disappointed by New Jerseyans’ continued violation of the practices put into place that they say are designed to stem the spread of the virus. They said that violations included non-essential businesses that refused to close and public gatherings of large groups.
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“Consider this your final warning. Your actions are against the law of the state of New Jersey,” Grewal said.
Health officials also reported Monday that there were seven additional deaths from coronavirus-related complications. Testing for the illness has been expanded through the state. Officials said that all 21 counties in New Jersey have at least one case of coronavirus.
“We expected this and we do expect increases in cases to continue as we expand testing,” Murphy said.
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The governor also said that he spoke with President Donald Trump about getting federal funding, four new field hospitals and additional personal protection equipment for health care workers.
“This is about keeping the hospitals open. First responders are a close second…but this is about keeping our hospitals open,” said State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan.
As of Monday, the state has 2,000 critical care beds and just 1,700 ventilators. As of Friday, about 100 coronavirus patients were in hospitals, 600 more people were hospitalized and waiting for the results of COVID-19 testing.
“We do expect with a surge we will have to increase our critical care beds and increase our need for ventilators,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.
The stay at home orders leaves exemptions for people to leave home to get food, medicine or visit family. But the governor emphasized people should be working from home and limiting travel as much as possible for as long as the orders are in place.
"Please be patient...but we are all in this together. We will all get through this together but to do that we will all have to be understanding of one another,” Murphy said.
The governor said that the president approved four field hospitals to be set up in the state by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Officials will be selecting sites soon.