Coronavirus News: Gov. Murphy unveils New Jersey's plan to reopen state

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Monday, April 27, 2020
Murphy's 6-part plan to reopen New Jersey
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Anthony Johnson explains the real-world implications of the multifaceted plan to restore the state.

TRENTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy detailed his road map to reopening the state as the COVID-19 curve continues to flatten.

He announced that they stay at home order that has been in effect since March 21 will remain in effect in its entirety until further notice and that before the state reopens, Murphy needs to see four factors: a sustained drop in the curve, expanded testing, contact tracing, and safe places for people to isolate.

He also said a newly created Governor's Restart and Recovery Commission will come up with a clear standard of essential and safe, beginning with businesses, industries, and activities that are not only essential to our economy but which provide the lowest risk of disease transmission. Then, the state will bring more businesses and activities online until it achieves a fully functioning and open economy.

Murphy said to expect to see the continuation of social distancing measures, including potential requirements for face coverings in certain locations and for work-from-home directives for employees who do not need to report to a physical location.

The plan to reopen, he said, will be driven by data, science, health progress, and common sense and is designed with only one goal: To restore the health, strength, and well-being of New Jersey for the long term.

Murphy said that national guidance dictates a proper contract tracing program will require anywhere from 15 to 81 persons engaged in contact tracing for every 100,000 residents, and for New Jersey, that means the need for anywhere between roughly 1,300 to more than 7,000 people to take on this work.

He said they are actively engaging a number of tech companies in a search for innovative solutions that can assist in the massive undertaking, and not only make the work of human contact tracers more efficient, but perhaps alleviate the need for so many.

"I want nothing more than to see every Main Street filled with shoppers and diners once again," he said. "I want our construction sites roaring with activity once again. I want to see the shore humming through the summer. We will move as quickly as we can, but as safely as we must."

He also spoke of the need for the state to make preparations to be prepared and self-sufficient for a second wave or any potential future outbreaks, saying this window of opportunity must be used to fill gaps and fortify the healthcare system.

Murphy said he will look to hospitals and any place that healthcare is delivered to have the personal protective equipment they need to provide the highest quality of services, as well as building a robust state stockpile of PPE -- from masks to gloves and everything in-between.

As of Monday morning, New Jersey had 111,188 positive cases and 6,044 deaths.

Murphy's plan includes:

Principle 1: Demonstrate Sustained Reductions in New COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations

--14-day trend lines showing appreciable and sustained drop in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and other metrics reflecting decreasing burden of disease;

--Hospitals stepping down from functioning under crisis standards of care.

Principle 2: Expand Testing Capacity

--At least double current diagnostic testing capacity;

--Prioritize testing for health care workers, essential personnel, and vulnerable populations;

--Create a flexible testing plan accessible to all residents;

--Expand partnerships with institutions of higher education, private-sector labs, and the federal government;

--Ensure that those who test positive are linked to a health care provider.

Principle 3: Implement Robust Contact Tracing

--Recruit and deploy an army of personnel who will identify and follow-up with contacts;

--Leverage technological data and innovative solutions to increase efficiency;

--Coordinate the approach of local and state health officials, which will have a coordinated county/regional component.

Principle 4: Secure Safe Places and Resources for Isolation and Quarantine

-To the greatest extent possible, provide individuals who do test positive in the future with a safe and free place to isolate and protect others from COVID-19;

-Ensure that quarantined contacts are provided supportive services, if needed.

Principle 5: Execute a Responsible Economic Restart

--Create the Governor's Restart and Recovery Commission to advise on the process and recommend responsible and equitable decisions;

--Plan for a methodical and strategic return to work based on level of disease transmission risk and essential classification;

--Continuation of social distancing measures, requirements for face coverings, and work-from-home directions where feasible and appropriate;

--Leverage any available federal funds and programs to support health care, individual, and small business recoveries.

Principle 6: Ensure New Jersey's Resiliency

--Learn from the lessons of COVID-19 and prepare for the possibility of a resurgence;

--Ensure hospitals, health care systems, and other health delivery facilities have inventories of personal protective equipment and ventilators;

--Build our own state personal protective equipment and ventilator stockpile;

--Create a playbook for future administrations for the next pandemic.


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