Gov. Murphy extends NJ Public Health Emergency, 1,994 more COVID cases reported

"We haven't seen daily case numbers this high since May," Gov. Murphy said.

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Saturday, October 24, 2020
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Essex, Union, Hudson and Bergen counties reported more than 100 new cases overnight, eclipsing recent hot spots in Ocean and Monmouth counties.

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order Saturday to extend the Public Health Emergency in the state that was originally declared on March 9 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor's office said back in March that the Public Health Emergency allows "state agencies and departments to utilize state resources to assist affected communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19 cases."

The state reported 1,994 new positive cases on Saturday, the highest daily count since May, bringing the statewide total to 227,339. There were eight new confirmed COVID-19 deaths for a total of 14,492 lives lost.

"Today's new COVID-19 case count marks our highest daily figure since May," Murphy said in a statement. "As we face a steep increase in cases, it could not be more important to ensure we have access to all available resources. Keeping New Jerseyans safe is our highest priority, today and every day. We are again extending the Public Health Emergency in order to do exactly that."

RELATED: Gov. Murphy: COVID-19 cases are climbing in New Jersey

Murphy has been isolating at home after coming into contact with a COVID-19-positive staffer last weekend. He has said he tested negative Wednesday and plans to take another test before returning to in-person events.

Earlier this week, Murphy said climbing figures seem to stem from gatherings at people's houses, not from meetings in the "public square."

Public health emergencies expire every 30 days unless renewed. The order was previously extended on April 7, May 6, June 4, July 2, August 1, August 27, and September 25.

The latest extension will not reverse any of the gradual reopening steps the state has taken.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.