New Jersey Governor to Unveil ‘Blueprint’ for Reopening Economy

April 21, 2020 Updated: April 21, 2020

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday he will soon unveil a plan that will lay out what he called a “broad blueprint” for reopening the state’s economy.

Speaking at his daily COVID-19 briefing in Trenton, Murphy did not specify a timeline for a return to “some new normalcy,” but said, “We’ve got to be in a completely different place in the next four to six weeks.”

On Tuesday, he told a briefing that while hospitalizations had largely leveled off, it would be at least several more weeks before the state could relax social-distancing measures and open up businesses and schools.

“We have a significant flattening of the curve,” Murphy wrote in a tweet Tuesday. “That’s not enough for us to go back to business as usual. Not by a long shot. We need to begin to see this curve finally start its decline.”

Murphy said at the briefing New Jersey also needed to roughly double the number of people it was testing on a daily basis, and that it needed to boost its ability to trace contacts of people who test positive and to isolate them to prevent further spread.

“I’m not marrying myself to 15,000 or 20,000 either. That’s a bare minimum,” Murphy said of the target number of tests per day, adding that he expected a 24-hour turnaround on results. Currently, a COVID-19 test takes between 5 to 7 days.

Andover Subacute and Rehab Center
Paramedics and healthcare officials are seen outside Andover Subacute and Rehab Center, during the CCP virus outbreak, in Andover, N.J., on April 16, 2020. (Stefan Jeremiah/Reuters)

The United States has been working to increase its testing capacity as it contends with an onslaught of infections, with a Johns Hopkins tally on Tuesday noting over 814,000 cases and more than 43,000 deaths.

However, testing in the country has been held back in part by a lack of trained professionals to perform the tests and a shortage of personal protective gear to ensure the safety of the employees collecting samples.

Vice President Mike Pence told “Fox News Sunday” that the current rate of 150,000 tests per day nationwide can be increased to 300,000 per day by “working with governors to activate all of the laboratories in their states around the country that can do coronavirus testing.”

At Monday’s briefing, Murphy said the state has “turned over every stone” in an effort to boost testing. In a tweet Tuesday, Murphy again emphasized New Jersey was doing all it can and called on federal authorities to help.

“We’re punching above our weight and working with all partners–including our state’s flagship university @RutgersU [Rutgers University]. But the federal government must step up in a big way here,” Murphy wrote.

New Jersey is one of the hardest-hit states amid the outbreak of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. Department of Health data released Tuesday shows 92,387 confirmed cases and a death toll of 4,753, with 379 new deaths in the past 24 hours in the state.

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