TRENTON (CBS/AP) — Gov. Phil Murphy is extending New Jersey’s public health emergency as the state’s COVID-19 cases are nearing 132,000. Murphy signed an executive order Wednesday to extend his initial order, which was declared in March, by another 30 days.
He says extending the health emergency does not mean they are seeing any data that would pause the road to reopening the state.
“These declarations, unless extended, expire after 30 days. We’re still in a public health emergency,” Murphy said.
The declaration allows the Democrat to invoke emergency powers, like ordering businesses to close.
Murphy said he decided to extend the declaration because it automatically expires after 30 days and the underlying conditions making it necessary haven’t changed.
An additional 1,513 coronavirus cases were announced today as the statewide total reached 131,890. There were another 308 coronavirus-related deaths, raising the death toll to 8,549.
In an effort to battle COVID-19 at New Jersey’s long-term care facilities, Murphy is bringing in a nationally experienced team of experts. They will help tackle the challenges and protect the residents and staff at the facilities.
➡️Provide immediate support to @NJDeptofHealth
➡️Conduct a two-tp-three week review to address immediate concerns related to protecting long-term care facility residents and staffs as we look to restart our economy
➡️Make long-term, systemic reform recommendations
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) May 6, 2020
Despite the climbing death toll and increase in positive cases, Murphy said the number of people in hospitals with the virus continued to decline, as did the number of patients on ventilators.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.
Murphy continues to emphasize that data shows social distancing is the only cure for COVID-19.
“If this extension signals one thing, it is this, we can’t give up one bit on the one thing that we know is working in this fight: social distancing. Remember, in the absence of a vaccine, or even proven therapeutics for COVID-19, our only cure is social distancing,” Murphy said.
© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.