Gov. Murphy: No way to 'sugarcoat' rising COVID-19 numbers in New Jersey

New Jersey COVID-19 live updates, news and information

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Thursday, November 19, 2020
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During a news conference, Gov. Murphy applauded schools in New Jersey for doing their part to stay safe amid the rise in COVID cases.

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has reduced indoor gathering limits because of the COVID-19 resurgence with outdoor limits soon to follow.

Earlier this week, Murphy ordered indoor gatherings to fall from 25 to 10 and outdoor get-togethers from 500 to 150 people. The new indoor limit went into effect 6 a.m. Tuesday, while the outdoor level kicks in Nov. 23.

Religious services, celebrations, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services and performances may continue under the current rules, but are limited to 25% of a room's capacity, up to 150 people, Murphy said in a tweet.

"We think those are steps, coupled with the other steps we have taken, which will hopefully begin to shake these numbers down," he told MSNBC. "This is a lot of fatigue. It's a lot of private setting transmission. Particularly with the holidays coming up, we've got to plead with people to not let their hair down, to be vigilant, social distance, face coverings, all the basic stuff we know works."

The lower levels come just before Thanksgiving and ahead of the winter holidays.

Murphy said he understood that the new limits would lead to frustration, but said little about this year has been normal.

"I must again pull back the reins," he said. "It gives me no joy."

New Jersey's coronavirus levels have been spiking, which Murphy has said amounts to a "second wave."

On Wednesday, Murphy said there are 4,063 new cases of COVID-19 in the state and 2,446 patients are currently in the hospital

"There is no way to sugarcoat any of these numbers. They are not good and they are trending worse. The only way we can reverse these is to wear masks, social distance, wash hands and not attend any private gatherings outside of our immediate families in our own homes," he said.

There are some exceptions to the limits, the governor said. Among them are religious services, political activities and weddings.

Murphy said the tighter limits are aimed at limiting house parties, which he said contribute to climbing COVID-19 rates.

Last week, new statewide dining restrictions went into effect, putting a late-night curfew on indoor dining and eliminating barside seating at all times.

Camden County has been one of the hardest-hit counties in our area recently, reporting 400 new cases Sunday.

Last week, the county opened up a COVID testing site at Camden County College in Cherry Hill because of increased demand.

"I want to be responsible. I want everyone to be safe, so I canceled my party. In terms of Thanksgiving, we're all going to keep it low key," said Dr. Alicea Davis of Camden.

Murphy spoke virtually with governors in surrounding states Sunday night.

"Together, we will follow the science, keep our region safe, and save lives," Murphy said.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report.