Coronavirus Update: 135,454 Cases, 8,952 Deaths, Including 4-Year-Old; Testing Opening to Asymptomatic People


The first New Jersey child to perish from COVID-19-related complications suffered from an underlying health condition, officials say. New Jersey also creates a Restart and Recovery Advisory Council.

By Matt Skoufalos | May 8, 2020

NJDOH COVID-19 Dashboard – 5-8-20. Credit: NJDOH.

Another 1,985 New Jersey residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the statewide total to 135,454 cases, Governor Phil Murphy reported Friday.

Sadly, 162 more residents have perished from complications related to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 8,952 lives lost during the pandemic.

They include the first New Jersey child to have perished from the virus, a four-year-old, whom New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said also suffered from an underlying medical condition.

“We have now lost nearly 9,000 of our fellow residents,” Murphy said. “In all of World War II we lost 12,600.

“We know we will lose many more, but how many, and whether we mark another solemn milestone we do not wish to pass is again overwhelmingly up to us,” he said, encouraging residents to maintain social distancing, cover their faces, and wash hands frequently.

In a majority of counties, COVID-19 cases are doubling at least every 30 days; in Camden County, cases are doubling every 23 days.

Throughout New Jersey, 4,605 people are hospitalized with a case of COVID-19, or while awaiting confirmation of their symptoms. Of those 4,996 patients, 1,439 are in intensive or critical care, and 1,089 (76 percent) are on ventilators.

In the past 24 hours, hospitals admitted 334 new patients and discharged 464 others, either to a lower-acuity care setting or to their homes. Last evening, two hospitals in Central Jersey were on full divert, Persichilli said.

COVID-19 testing positivity snapshot, May 4, 2020. Credit: NJDOH.

“The data from our hospitals continues to move in the right direction, which is down, but we also cannot overstate enough that even while we are pleased with this progress, our hospital systems are dealing with far more patients than they would otherwise in any other year,” the governor said.

“Only we have the power to push these numbers down further, and we’ve done an extraordinary job to date,” he said.

Thirty-three patients are presently receiving care at one of the state’s field medical stations, which have served 400 people in total. The Meadowlands Expo Center will stand down operations over the weekend, transferring patients to East Orange General Hospital, and warehousing its supplies for future deployments, Murphy said.

Statewide, 513 long-term care (LTC) centers have reported at least one case of COVID-19, and account for 25,254 infected people statewide and 4,691 deaths. Of 673 veterans residing in a state-run home, 362 residents have tested positive for the virus, and 127 have died from complications related to the virus.

At state-run psychiatric facilities, 177 of 1,250 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 and 12 people have died from complications related to the virus.

NJ Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli – COVID-19 Briefing 5-8-20.

Mass testing of asymptomatic residents

Starting this weekend, the North Jersey Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-backed testing sites at Bergen Community College and PNC Bank Arts Center will begin offering COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic residents, Murphy said.

Priority will be given to healthcare workers and first responders, those living in close quarters, and those living with someone who’s tested positive for the virus.

The facilities “were consistently not maxing out of late,” the governor said.

Rite Aid pharmacies throughout the state also have begun offering free COVID-19 testing to asymptomatic individuals as well.

Governor Phil Murphy – COVID-19 Briefing – May 8, 2020. Credit: NJ Pen.

Restart and Recovery Advisory Council

New Jersey also will create a Restart and Recovery Advisory Council comprising several industry, community, and faith-based groups, Murphy said. The council will work with the previously announced Restart and Recovery Commission, he said.

“This is where the various voices of those on the ground, in our small businesses, in our communities of faith, in our educational communities, among many others, will come together to advise us on the issues in various specific and local levels,” the governor said.

“This council is as diverse, smart, and hard-working as New Jersey’s economy was before the pandemic, which is why they can help us get on and stay on the road back.”

The council includes nine subcommittees that will help create “the framework for coping with our new long-term economic realities,” Murphy said.

They are:

  • facilities and construction
  • government
  • healthcare
  • main street
  • manufacturing and supply chain
  • professional services
  • social services and faith
  • tourism and entertainment
  • transportation and infrastructure

Read our ongoing round-up of COVID-19 coverage here.

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