Gov. Phil Murphy extended New Jersey’s public health emergency declaration Sunday as new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to spike.
The governor’s executive order extends the emergency an additional 30 days. It is the ninth time he has extended the March 9 public health emergency, which gives him the power to combat COVID-19′s spread through executive actions.
“The state has experienced significant upticks in the rate of reported new cases across all counties, demonstrating the need for many of the state’s current measures to remain in place, both to reduce additional new infections and to save lives,” Murphy said in the executive order keeping the emergency in place.
Renewing the public health order, he said, will “ensure the state can swiftly respond to take all appropriate actions should the rate of reported new cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, number of individuals being admitted to hospitals for COVID-19, or rate of reproduction for COVID-19 infections in New Jersey continue to increase.”
Murphy did not announce any new steps or restrictions Sunday to slow the spread of the coronavirus, and existing executive orders, such as those limiting the size of public gatherings or requiring masks be worn, remain in place.
He last extended the public health emergency for 30 days on Oct. 24. At that time, there were more than 225,000 confirmed cases of the virus.
New Jersey reported 3,998 new coronavirus cases and 15 deaths Sunday. The state is experiencing a surge of cases after the pandemic plateaued over the summer.
More than 306,000 people have tested positive since mid-March and 16,761 have died.
“Despite the hope that is on the horizon, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over,” Murphy said in a statement.
About 130,000 doses of Pfizer’s new coronavirus vaccine could be headed to New Jersey by Christmas, and up to 460,000 doses of vaccine could be available by January if Moderna’s version also receives the approval of U.S. regulators for emergency use, state officials said Friday.
“We continue to utilize all resources available and will need the ability to do so as we battle this virus through the second wave that has enveloped our nation and our state,” Murphy said.
He initially declared a public health emergency March 9, five days after the coronavirus was first detected in the Garden State, and extended it in April, May, June, July, twice in August, and in September and October.
NJ Advance Media staff writer Brent Johnson contributed to this report.
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Samantha Marcus may be reached at [email protected].