Gov. Murphy plans to give 'broad blueprint’ this week for re-opening N.J. from coronavirus lockdown

Posted Apr 20, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday he’ll give New Jerseyans a “broad blueprint” by the end of the week on how the state will begin to reopen from the near-lockdown orders he put in place to combat to the coronavirus and return to “some new normalcy.”

The governor said the announcement won’t include a specific date on when people can expect to have the unprecedented restrictions lifted, but it will include key benchmarks that must be met, including the availability of broader testing.

Murphy said during his daily briefing in Trenton he would unveil “principles” that “will guide us ... as we sort of put the pieces in place to get back to some new normalcy."

He has stressed “personal health creates economic health” and has repeatedly called for people to continue to adhere to the strict orders even as the number of people being hospitalized appears to be slowly dropping off, according to state data.

Officials reported Monday there have been at least 88,806 cases of COVID-19 in the state, with at least 4,377 deaths.

The governor said the state needs to at least double the amount of testing that’s currently done before restrictions to mitigate the spread are lifted.

“It’s gonna have to be before ... we open things up,” Murphy said. “We have to be in a completely different place in four-to-six weeks.”

That means at least 15,000 to 20,000 tests a day, he said.

The time it takes to get test results is just as important, Murphy added.

It currently takes between five-to-seven days to get COVID-19 test results. Murphy said results need to come back within 24 hours so health officials can do contact tracing when people test positive to blunt the spread.

Murphy, who has said the state is seeing hopeful signs of flattening the curve in recent days, has cautioned New Jersey residents that another wave of cases could occur if they don’t stick to stay-at-home orders and business closings.

“We know that if we stop what we’re doing, even one bit, COVID-19 can boomerang on us and bring about the worst-case scenario,” Murphy has said.

He’s also told officials who have been calling for him to relax his strict orders to mitigation the spread that they would have “blood on our hands” if the restrictions are lifted now.

“This is doing the right thing to keep people safe, keep them out of hospitals, and keep them alive,” Murphy said on Saturday. “So anybody out there who thinks, ‘Let’s just open the place up,’ will lead to lower infections, lower hospitalizations, and lower fatalities is being completely, utterly irresponsible.”

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