Gov. Phil Murphy says the state is ready to take the next step in the road back to recovery. Wednesday he said he’ll be allowing for non-essential construction to restart and non-essential retail businesses to reopen for curbside pick-up only. Both orders are effective Monday at 6 a.m. According to the governor, public health data from our social distancing efforts shows the number of new cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are all steadily declining.
In the last 24 hours, health officials reported 1,028 new positive tests putting the statewide total of confirmed coronavirus cases at 141,560. There are 197 new fatalities being reported, with 9,702 lives claimed by the virus since the start of this outbreak.
Another key indicator in the governor’s decision is that the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate dropped again to 22%. Experts have repeatedly pointed to the number as a better way to look at our testing results. For example, the World Health Organization says a 10% positivity rate indicates the government has done enough to capture all of the infected people in a community.
But Murphy warned that any misstep will risk more outbreaks and deaths. The new executive orders means customers won’t be allowed inside stores for pick-up and construction sites will stagger work hours and breaks to avoid overcrowding. He said when public health tells us it’s safe to remove a restriction, he’ll remove it.