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Murphy says NJ’s COVID-19 figures ‘setting off alarms’

July 31, 2020 GMT

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s coronavirus caseload and the rate of transmission have climbed higher and are “setting off alarms,” Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday.

There were 699 new positive cases reported Friday, up from 261 on Thursday, Murphy said. The rate of transmission, which indicates the number of people an infected person passes the virus to, climbed to 1.35 from 1.14.

“The numbers are setting off alarms that we take very seriously,” Murphy said.

Murphy didn’t announce any rollback to the second of three stages of reopening, but he said the administration wouldn’t “sit and take it much longer.”

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The total number of positive cases stands at nearly 182,000. There were 10 new deaths reported overnight, putting the death toll at 13,944, with 1,875 fatalities deemed likely from COVID-19.

Despite those figures headed in the wrong direction, Murphy said the state’s hospital reported zero COVID-19 deaths for the day ending 10 p.m. Thursday. That’s the first time that’s happened since March 10.

Murphy called it an “extraordinary milestone.”

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.

A look at other developments:

MASK LAW?

Two New Jersey lawmakers want to make it a petty disorderly persons offense if people fail to wear masks in stores.

Democratic Assemblyman Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Ralph Caputo have introduced legislation creating such an offense if the store has signs indicating masks are required.

Murphy’s executive order already requires masks to be worn in stores