NJ officials encouraged by overall progress, but increase in hospitalizations a concern

David Madden
May 28, 2020 - 3:19 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  New Jersey officials are encouraged by overall progress in controlling the spread of the virus, but there is concern about one number starting to go up again. 

In New Jersey, 365 people entered hospitals Wednesday for treatment of COVID-19, with most of the cases up in North Jersey. It’s the largest number in a week, giving Gov. Phil Murphy more than a little concern.

“We have expected this increase in new hospitalizations given the weekend, but we are going to watch these numbers closely over the coming days to see if there may be a deeper meaning to them,” he said. 

He said it doesn’t mean that people were misbehaving, although he won’t rule that out. Rather, there could be a statistical lag given the Memorial Day holiday. 

Meanwhile, he’s suggesting people be patient as the state slowly reopens. 

There’s talk of some store owners reopening next week with or without state permission, and Murphy hopes to provide better guidance soon, perhaps with the help of more test results. 

"The last thing we want to do is give a date and then pull back from that date on something or give you a number on capacity and then pull back. I know you’re frustrated folks, and I don’t blame you, but part of the reason is we want to down this one-way street once and we want to get it as right as we possibly can," he said. 

There are now over 200 public and private testing sites across the state, and more information can be found on state's COVID-19 information hub.

On the unemployment front, over 34,000 new claims were filed last week, taking the total to almost 1.2 million. But over 900,000 claims have been processed, which is a sign, Murphy said, that they’re dealing with the backlog.

There are now 157,815 positive cases of coronavirus in New Jersey, with 11,401 fatalities. Over a thousand of the deaths are in South Jersey, where there are well over 18,000 positive test results reported.