NJ Coronavirus Update: All travel discouraged as daily COVID-19 positivity rate climbs

New Jersey coronavirus update

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Hospital workers in NJ getting sidelined by COVID-19
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Anthony Johnson has more on how hospitals are fighting to keep their staff safe from COVID-19.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- The daily coronavirus positivity rate has jumped to 14.35% in New Jersey, and Governor Phil Murphy is urging residents who are planning to travel now or during the holidays to think again.

He's also asking anyone does to self quarantine for 14-days and get tested.

Frontline workers, members of law enforcement, and active duty military on orders or directives to come to New Jersey are among those exempt from the travel advisory.

"We've been saying since September, just don't travel," he said. "No one should be traveling out of state for anything that is not essential for your daily life: commuting to work, seeking medical treatment, for example."

After a dramatic spike in deaths, with 90 from Monday's report, there were 64 additional fatalities reported Thursday.

The statewide total death toll now stands at 15,373.

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As more health care workers are being sidelined by the virus, Palisades Medical Center had some 40 members of its staff out due to COVID-19. And at Ocean Medical Center in Brick, 100 staff members were out because of the coronavirus.

As for the union representing 14,000 nurses and hospital workers statewide, there is a lot of concern over staffing issues and COVID illnesses.

Chief Physician Executive at Hackensack Meridian Health Dr. Dan Varga said staffing levels are more than adequate to handle COVID and other patients, but he is also looking at the models from the state which suggest the peak for hospitalizations in the second surge will come Jan. 1.

"Right now we're only at 1/3 of the overall capacity of COVID patients we were dealing with in April, so we have capacity," Varga said.

In addition, a survey of healthcare workers at University Hospital found only 50% willing to take the vaccine. The head of the hospital hopes to convince his workers the vaccine is safe and effective.

Meanwhile, Hackensack is closing City Hall and shuttering all city offices to the public beginning next week amid growing concerns of the statewide resurgence of COVID-19.

New limits on outdoor gatherings take effect next Monday that reduce the allowable number from 150 to 25. Youth and high school indoor sports will be put on hold from Friday through at least January 2.

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Meanwhile, a photo circulating on social media showed young people cramped together at an Oakland restaurant that had to shut down all outdoor dining operations at 4 p.m.

It happened on Thanksgiving eve at Portobello, where cops responded to several calls.

"Are you kidding me," Murphy said. "I'm trying hard to find a mask anywhere in that crowd and there certainly isn't any effort to socially distance. The entire concept of personal responsibility is completely absent."

The town council passed a unanimous resolution to place restrictions on the restaurant.


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