COVID-19 Update for New Jersey
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Gov. Phil Murphy held his final regularly scheduled COVID briefing on Friday, marking two years since the first case was confirmed in New Jersey.
He announced that the statewide school and day care mask mandate would be lifted on Monday and the statewide public health emergency would come to an end.
"We've persevered and fought," Murphy said. "That's why we're at this point today. With all we have done to ensure the preparedness of our health care system and with the advent of both the vaccines and treatments, we are ready to move forward and to not live our lives in fear."
Murphy said hospitalizations continue to tail off and the number of cases of in-school transmission is also in a good place.
But the state will stay under a normal state of emergency, first declared on March 9, 2020. Murphy noted the state also is still under "the state of emergency that was declared in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy by then Gov. Christie in 2012."
The announcement comes the same day NYC Mayor Eric Adams announced he would drop the mask mandate for public schools and vaccine requirements for businesses, restaurants and bars.
Over the last two years, Murphy has given 257 COVID updates on the state's progress throughout the pandemic.
He said the anniversary is the right time to end the in-person briefings. Even as the briefings end, Murphy said the state will continue to provide updated numbers online and via social media.
Before the end of the update, Murphy paid tribute to the more than 30,000 New Jerseyans who have died of COVID.
HIs voice cracked with emotion as he recalled honoring 646 of them during his briefings over the last two years.
"I have called each and every one of their families, speaking with well more than 1,000 family members," Murphy said. "They told me stories and brought me in on inside family stories and jokes, some calls were lighthearted and we laughed together over happy memories and many were brutal and somber and we cried together over what had been lost. And all are forever in my memory and our memory. We honor them still. We honor each and every single one, hard to believe, of the more than 30,000 lives lost. So for all of them lets do one final moment of silence."
Before concluding his final briefing, Murphy offered the following advice to all New Jerseyans:
"As we move to this next phase, all I can say is this: be safe, be smart, enjoy the oncoming spring, enjoy getting together with family and friends, and don't be a knucklehead."
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