April 22, 2020

NEW STAR: Coby Auslander unloads the ball this spring during his freshman season for the Christopher Newport University men’s lacrosse team. Princeton Day School alum Auslander made a superb debut for the Captains, scoring 8 goals and 10 assists in six games as the season was halted due to coronavirus pandemic. Last week, he was named as an Inside Lacrosse 2020 Division III All-Freshman midfielder. (Photo provided courtesy of Christopher Newport Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Coby Auslander didn’t know much about Christopher Newport University when he headed down to Newport News, Va., in 2018 to check out the school and its men’s lacrosse program.

It didn’t take long for Auslander, a former boys’ soccer, ice hockey, and lacrosse star at Princeton Day School, to feel at home in the Tidewater area.

“A lot of people up here haven’t heard of Christopher Newport, myself included in the beginning,” said Auslander, a 2019 PDS grad.

“The second I stepped on campus, took the tour, and met with the coach, I knew right away that it was the perfect fit. I looked at my mom and said this school is so beautiful; this campus and the team seems like the culture I want to part of,” he said.

This spring, Auslander emerged as a key part of the team, scoring 8 goals and 10 assists in six games before the season was halted in early March due to coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Auslander was named to the Inside Lacrosse 2020 Division III All-Freshman team. In choosing Auslander, the publication noted that he “ran on the first line midfield, took the wing on face-offs, was a member of the man-up unit, and played a ton of defense for the Captains.”

For the 5’7, 150-pound Auslander, earning such responsibility didn’t come easy. more

April 20, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) announced this afternoon, April 20, the death from coronavirus (COVID-19) of a male in his 90s at Princeton Care Center (PCC). It was the fifth COVID-19 related death in Princeton and the fourth at PCC.

The (PHD) also reported today a total of 83 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Princeton, eight additional cases since Friday. There are currently 36 active positive cases that are in isolation and 44 reported COVID-19 cases recovered, completing isolation.

The PHD has reported a total of nine PCC patients who have tested positive for the coronavirus.  Those residents and any other symptomatic residents are being isolated in a separate wing of PCC. PHD is working with PCC to have all staff tested for COVID-19 and continuing to monitor the facility’s universal masking policy. Staff with existing exposure to confirmed COVID-19 patients have been placed in quarantine.

The New Jersey Department of Health reported today that 2,591 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Mercer County with 122 fatalities, nine additional deaths in the past 24 hours. more

April 17, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department today, April 17, reported just one additional positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Princeton over the past 24 hours, for a total of 75 cases. There are currently 31 active cases, four fewer than yesterday, with a total of three deaths from the virus, and a total of 41 reported COVID-19 cases recovered, completing isolation.

The New Jersey Department of Health’s report today for the rest of the state showed less evidence of significant flattening of the curve, as Mercer County reported a total of 101 COVID-19-related deaths, 14 since Thursday, and 2,123 total cases, 86 new ones in the past 24 hours.

In his daily coronavirus report from Trenton, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy reported 323 new deaths in the state today for a total of 3,840, with 3,250 new positive tests bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 78,467.

New Jersey is the state with the second most cases and COVID-19-related deaths in the country after New York. more

April 16, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) reported today, April 16, five new positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Princeton in the past 24 hours for a total of 74 cases, 35 active and 36 recovered with isolation complete, and three deaths.

The PHD continues to monitor closely the situations at Princeton Care Center and the Acorn Glen assisted living facility. Two of Princeton’s COVID-19-related deaths occurred at the Care Center, where there are currently three active cases, and the PHD announced today that there are two confirmed cases at Acorn Glen, where the PHD is working with the facility’s administration on outbreak management and response, including an isolation plan for those exposed to the confirmed cases.

The PHD also announced today that a Princeton firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19. The firefighter, who began displaying symptoms on Sunday, April 12 and immediately took steps to self-isolate, is not currently hospitalized and continues to show mild symptoms of COVID-19.

The Princeton Fire Department has been employing a continuity of operations plan over the last several weeks, which has limited this exposure to a small group of firefighters, who are self-monitoring for symptoms. more

April 15, 2020

“The Newspaper Reader” does his part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus by wearing a face mask. The bronze sculpture by the late J. Seward Johnson Jr. is set near the Princeton Battle Monument. (Photo by Miranda Short)

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) reported Tuesday, April 14, a total of 64 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Princeton, with 36 active positive cases, 25 cases recovered, and three deaths. The third death in Princeton from COVID-19, a male in his 90s, which was the second death of a Princeton Care Center (PCC) resident, was reported on Monday, April 13.

Princeton Health Officer Jeff Grosser pointed out the vulnerability of communities of older adults susceptible to developing severe complications from COVID-19, and he emphasized rising concerns about asymptomatic spread of the virus. “What is more alarming is how many of these locations incorporated strict infectious disease control and prevention strategies into their daily activities as early as February, prior to confirmed community spread,” he wrote in an email Tuesday. “Many of these strategies incorporated the quarantine or isolation of patients, residents, and or staff when symptomatic.”

He continued, “We are now aware that asymptomatic spread is often more of a concern to the greater community. Fortunately the greater community (and these older adult living facilities) have absorbed universal masking when in public or around others.”

Grosser went on to note “promising signs” that there does seem to be a flattening of the curve throughout the state, but stated, “One of the key priorities should be heightened support to long-term care facilities and ensuring their ability to restrict visitation, test staff, and isolate symptomatic residents.” more

By Anne Levin

With doctors, nurses, and other first responders working around the clock to fight the coronavirus, many hotel chains and independent hostelries are offering free accommodations to health care workers needing a place to stay that is close to medical facilities, and allows them to isolate from their families.

Among them is the Nassau Inn. First responders began checking in to the hotel on Palmer Square over a week ago, and rooms are currently booked through the next month. “We won’t have a good idea of how many medical personnel take advantage of the offer this early on,” said the hotel’s General Manager Lori Rabon in an email. “However we do hope to accommodate as many people from the (Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center) hospital as need it.”

This isn’t the first time the Nassau Inn has provided free rooms for responders. “Historically the hotel team has found ways to give back to the community during crises, such as during Hurricane Sandy and other storms,” said Rabon. “We wanted to be able to help in any way possible during such an unprecedented time.”

A handful of other guests are currently staying at the hotel. The staff has been sanitizing the building on a regular basis since learning of the potential threat of COVID-19. “We’ve instituted additional cleaning and disinfecting protocols for our guest rooms and public spaces,” Rabon said. “Even on the days that the hotel has no guests in house, we adhere to our stringent disinfecting protocols.” more

By Anne Levin

Brothers Manraj Singh and Sunny Singh Sandhu never overlapped during their years at Princeton University. But the two Woodrow Wilson School students — Singh a 2016 graduate, Sandhu from the current senior class — have recently joined forces in a project that tackles social isolation for COVID-19 patients and provides remote access for health care workers on the front line.

Connect for COVID-19, the first venture of their Digital Health Connectivity Project, is a fast-growing initiative that collects used smartphones, tablets, and laptops for hospitalized patients who lack them, so that they can be connected to their families while in isolation. The focus is on vulnerable populations, including senior citizens and the economically disadvantaged.

“We’ve heard these tragic stories about patients who are in their final days, but can’t connect with their families because they don’t have a smart device,” said Singh. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Describing their idea to friends, fellow students, alumni, and colleagues, the brothers immediately developed a national network of support. “Within a week and a half we have gone from a grassroots, Princeton-focused effort to a national campaign in about 10 different states,” said Sandhu. Singh added, “It’s become a team of medical students, human rights advocates, and design technologists, all of whom came together through the broader Princeton network. People in medical school are really driving this campaign. It’s not just us. We recognize the hard work everyone is doing.” more

COMBATING COVID-19: Architects Felix Heidgen, left, and Dustin Bailey work to create face shields for health care workers on the frontlines in caring for coronavirus patients. A Studio Hillier team has come together in the last ten days to create and deliver 280 protective face masks to Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center and a number of other hospitals in the area. (Photo courtesy of Studio Hillier)

By Donald Gilpin

It’s not only the coronavirus that is spreading with astonishing speed. Counter-measures of local officials, health workers, and first responders, and initiatives of local organizations and thousands of individuals have expanded to support communities in battling the virus.

On April 3, Studio Hillier comptroller Jerilyn Angotti read an article about the shortage of face masks, with health care workers on the frontlines facing dangerous shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). She wondered if masks could be made with the firm’s 3D printer. When she asked two architects in the firm, Dustin Bailey and Tsvetelina Churalska, that question, they went into action.

Bailey took the firm’s printer home, where he could program it with his design for the mask’s head clasp and run it nonstop around the clock. Churalska began gathering the plastic supplies, including the acetate for the mask itself. By 11 p.m. on April 3 they had a team and network in place to begin printing the next day.  more

Sakrid Coffee Roasters on Nassau Street, which remains open for pick up, has allocated all revenues from the coffee shop towards purchasing personal protective equipment for local hospitals and organizations. While the shop is new, owners Jonathan Haley and Serge Picard have been in the business for decades, and were able to quickly secure the equipment from overseas contacts. The first shipment of 3,000 medically-approved masks was delivered last week. Pictured are Aaron Vitale, left, and co-owner Serge Picard. (Photo by Erica M. Cardenas)

STRONG VOICE FOR WOMEN IN POLITICS: Ruth B. Mandel, right, on stage at the Rutgers Athletic Center interviewing Hillary Clinton before an audience of more than 5,000 for the Eagleton Institute’s 2018 Case Professorship. (Photo courtesy of Rutgers University)

By Donald Gilpin

The life of Ruth B. Mandel, who died April 11, at age 81, in her Princeton home after a year-long battle with ovarian cancer, was dedicated to overcoming oppression and exclusion. From her escape from the Holocaust as an infant with her parents to her long distinguished career in promoting democracy and civic engagement as head of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, Mandel was a consistently strong voice for women in politics.

“Everybody who is anybody in politics knew and respected Ruth,” said former Princeton Township Mayor Michele Tuck-Ponder. “They may not have always agreed with her, but they certainly respected and understood her impact on the political landscape in New Jersey and nationwide.”

Emphasizing Mandel’s inclusiveness and influence, Tuck-Ponder continued, “She had this holistic view of the role women could play in political leadership, and from her position at Eagleton she constantly moved that agenda forward. It has made a difference in policies across the state. It’s profound. Her impact was profound.” more

By Anne Levin

Princeton Council voted to re-introduce the municipal budget for 2020 at its virtual meeting on Monday, April 13. While the originally announced budget had a modest tax increase, the revised one does not.

The decision to amend the budget was made in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the local economy. “The reason we’ve been able to do it in a responsible way is the prudent financial planning that has been done by [Municipal Administrator] Marc Dashield, [Chief Financial Officer] Sandy Webb, and CFAC [the Citizens Financial Advisory Committee],” said Mayor Liz Lempert.

CFAC Chairman Scott Sillars delivered a presentation on the budget. The presentation can be viewed on the municipality’s YouTube channel, and details can be found at princetonnj.gov.

The budget will come back to Council for a public hearing and adoption at the next meeting on Monday, April 27.

Lempert provided details on efforts to delay the May 1 deadline to file taxes to help those experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus shutdown. The town has not able to get an extension of 30 days to the existing 10-day grace period, because a bill to allow it is still pending in the Senate. “We will continue to track that, but right now we can’t extend the grace period unless the legislature gives us the ability to do so,” Lempert said. more

Lynne Harkness Retires from JWMS

John Witherspoon Middle School (JWMS) Assistant Principal Lynne Harkness retired last month after 33 years of working in the district. Starting in September 1988 as a physical education teacher at JWMS, Harkness became JWMS assistant principal in August 2001.

Harkness reflected on her many years of service in the Princeton Public Schools. “I will miss the relationships that I have built with everyone here,” she said. “My agenda is to support. I am here to serve and if I serve the staff, they will serve students, who will be happy and then I’m happy.”

“Many of us have had the pleasure of knowing Lynne Harkness for many years,” said JWMS Principal Jason Burr. “In the decade that I worked with Lynne, I can fully attest that she was particularly proud of the opportunity she had each day to help students and staff members.”

Harkness had just one piece of advice for her successor: “Be patient, develop a level of trust, and things will fall in line for you.”  more

By Anne Levin

A virtual community meeting will be held on Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22 at 7 p.m., to discuss the energy aggregation project recently launched by the municipality. The town has contracted with Constellation NewEnergy to provide a supply of electricity that is cheaper and has more renewable energy than power supplied by PSE&G.

Information about the Princeton Community Renewable Energy (PCRE) was mailed to Princeton residents this week. “We’re really excited about this,” Mayor Liz Lempert said on Monday. “It means a much cleaner stream of energy.”

Constellation NewEnergy, in business for more than 20 years, already serves residential customers in New Jersey through similar energy aggregation programs. It was selected through a public procurement process as the qualified supplier with the lowest price.

Sustainable Princeton is a proponent of the project. “The program aligns with our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with our energy sources, a top priority strategy of the Princeton Climate Action Plan,” the organization’s website reads. more

By Stuart Mitchner

I first used the e-word in print to describe the mood during the aftermath of the September 11 attacks when New York had become the “emotional epicenter” of the nation, “America’s city.” So it seemed when passing strangers met your gaze, you connected, as if you were sharing the same loss, and every firehouse had a shrine, firemen were warriors, and cops were heroes.

The subject of that September 7, 2011 column was Portraits: 9/11/01 (Times Books/Holt 2002), the journalistic landmark that New York Times executive editor Howell Raines introduced by way of Walt Whitman’s claim that “the United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem.” Looking at the faces and reading “the 1,910 stories it took 143 reporters to research and write,” I was reminded of the “Human and Heroic New York” chapter in Whitman’s Specimen Days in America (1881), where “after three weeks walking the streets,” he observes “ endless humanity in all its phases,” and finds “the brief total of the impressions, the human qualities … comforting, even heroic beyond statement.” For Whitman, the “daily contact and rapport” with the city’s “myriad people” provides “the best, most effective medicine my soul has yet partaken.”

Whether or not New York remains the “epicenter” of the pandemic, Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York: Stories (St. Martin’s Press 2015) makes a “most effective” over-the-counter remedy. In contrast to the thumbnail sketches and snapshots of specifically documented individuals in Portraits, the people in Stanton’s book appear to us in the quick of the moment without names, or biographical specifics, and few clues about who they are beyond the photographer’s gift for matching uniquely expressive faces and backdrops with the choicest, most expressive comments gleaned from each encounter. more

By Nancy Plum

This past January, singer Alicia Keys opened the Grammy awards telecast reminding the audience that “music changes the world.” What has changed the world since then is the coronavirus (COVID-19), and music has transformed how people are coping with the pandemic.

Across the board, Princeton area music-makers have canceled the balance of their 2019-20 seasons, and area universities have sent their students home to finish the semester by virtual instruction, canceling musical and theatrical productions. However, musicians are never ones to sit idle, and area performers have found creative ways to get their musical fix in these days of staying home.

Needless to say, area critics now have nothing to review; besides all the great concerts which were scheduled, here’s what this writer has missed this spring: I was scheduled to play in a national tennis tournament in Florida the first week in April, and when that was canceled, I was fortunate to “hop into” a series of performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Westminster Symphonic Choir in Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and New York’s Carnegie Hall. These performances were also canceled, as were church choir and a performance of John Rutter’s Gloria in South Jersey. My program notes for The Philadelphia Orchestra have gone unread by a non-existent audience, and summer performances remain in doubt throughout the area. more

With no end in sight for this forced time away from rehearsals, the members of VOICES Chorale NJ are missing singing together. Until they can perform again, they will be sharing music from their previous concerts online to stay connected with their audiences, each other, and the sounds of choral music. This performance of “Can We Sing the Darkness to Light” by Kyle Pederson, performed in December 2019, features accompanist Akiko Hosaki at the piano and music director Dr. David A. McConnell conducting. This piece is available above, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvgapCKmtHk, or by visiting voiceschoralenj.org.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) has canceled its concerts, education and community engagement activities, and donor events through June 7 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global health pandemic. This announcement follows the NJSO’s previous postponement of its concerts and activities through mid-May.

“We are deeply saddened to cancel the remainder of our 2019–20 season, but the health and safety of our communities is at the heart of the NJSO’s concerns right now,” said NJSO President and CEO Gabriel van Aalst. “When a season begins with so much promise and excitement, it is hard to imagine it could be closing out this way; but these are uncertain times, and we believe our decision is the only one we could make.

“Serving the communities of New Jersey is at the core of the NJSO’s mission. In this challenging time, we are more committed than ever to fulfilling that mission. We look forward to resuming our concerts and activities once this unprecedented threat has passed.” more

“WHERE THE ELEPHANTS ROAM”: This work by Lydia Keenan, a student at The Cambridge School, is featured in the 2019-2020 PSO BRAVO! “Listen Up!” virtual gallery at princetonsymphony.org. The exhibit features visual art and writings from 35 students from seven area middle schools.

Area student artists and writers participating in the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO) 2019-2020 PSO BRAVO! Listen Up! program have created an array of visual art and writings in response to composer Saad Haddad’s Clarinet Concerto, a new work co-commissioned by the PSO with the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University.

The work received its world premiere at the PSO’s January 18-19 Scheherazade concerts and featured soloist Kinan Azmeh, to whom the work was dedicated. The results and range of responses to the music include colorful works in a variety of media, as well as thoughtfully worded poetry and prose. Viewing the works is possible with a few clicks through the PSO’s new online gallery, which offers a virtual walk-thru experience.

In January, the students attended a creativity workshop led by the Arts Council of Princeton instructor Susan Hoenig and the live performances of Haddad’s work by the orchestra under the direction of Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov. At the workshop, Hoenig highlighted well-known visual artists who created works in response to music and guided the students in the process of artistic reflection. The composer provided the students with some background on the creation of his concerto, and Milanov talked about bringing a new work to life with a live orchestral performance. more

CALL FOR ART: The Princeton Family YMCA’s Donor Man (aka ACE Project Director Michael Roseborough) is requesting artwork from local youth to create banners to cheer on Princeton’s many hometown superheroes.

The Princeton Family YMCA is collecting artwork from local youth of all ages for the purpose of creating banners that will cheer on and recognize our community’s many local superheroes who, at their own risk, are helping others in the COVID-19 crisis.

Artwork should be on 8 ½ x 11 paper and may be submitted electronically in image formats (.jpeg, .png) or as a .PDF and emailed to contactus@princetonymca.org; or artwork may be dropped off in the Drop Box set up in front of the YMCA’s front doors. The art should be submitted by Friday, April 17 at 4 p.m. more

STORMY MONDAY: Princeton University wrestler Quincy Monday, top, controls a foe during a match this winter. Although the 2019-20 season ended prematurely in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, sophomore Monday made a lot of progress, going 23-4 at 157 pounds and getting seeded fifth for the NCAA Championships. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

One day at practice this season, Princeton University wrestling head coach Chris Ayres mused out loud in amazement to his team, rattling off the opponent rankings faced by one of his charges.

The wrestler in question, Quincy Monday, battled a gauntlet of foes ranked at No. 7, No. 4, No. 6, No. 10, No. 9, and No. 20.

Undeterred by that challenge, Monday beat them all during a sophomore year that thrust him into the top five nationally for most of the year and helped push the Tigers team to new heights. He helped Princeton dethrone Cornell for the Ivy League crown to earn the program’s first league title since 1986 and put himself squarely in the picture for a national title at 157 pounds.

“It felt like we were setting new records every week we competed,” said Monday. “It was really exciting to be a part of something like that. It felt like we had momentum building up every week. We were always making headlines. It was fun to be a part of.”

Monday enjoyed a great debut season last winter that saw him earn first-team All-Ivy League as the only Princeton wrestler to go unbeaten in the conference, finish third in the EIWA, and qualify for the NCAA Championships.  more

By Bill Alden

While the NCAA announced in late March that member schools could extend an extra year of eligibility to all spring sport athletes, Princeton University has decided that it will not allow student athletes who withdraw from school this spring to get that additional season.

As reported in the Daily Princetonian on April 9, Princeton Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan ’91 sent an email that day to spring sport athletes advising them of the University’s position on the issue.

In her email to the athletes, Samaan noted that “due to the University’s strong belief that all students should remain in school now more than ever, Princeton has decided that it will not approve the necessary waivers for students who withdraw from the Spring ’20 semester to use their 5th year of eligibility at Princeton.”

The Ivy League had previously announced that it would not be changing its policy that prevents graduate students from competing in athletic events, thereby limiting athletes to four years of undergraduate athletics.

Ivy schools learned last Thursday that “withdraw and re-enroll” eligibility would be an institutional decision, with Yale and Princeton administrations electing to disallow a loophole that would have created an option for Ivy seniors to play during the spring of 2021 semester through withdrawing from school now and returning next year with the necessary waivers. more

BY GEORGE: Pat George enjoys the moment after helping to coach Jackson Memorial High baseball team to a Group IV South sectional title in 2018. Earlier this year, George took the helm of the Princeton Day School baseball program, succeeding Brian Dudeck.

By Bill Alden

Pat George is only 31 years old, but he has paid his dues when it comes to coaching baseball.

After playing for the St. John Vianney High School baseball program and then going on to Rutgers where he took a break from the game to focus on his studies, George had stints as an assistant coach at St. John Vianney, Bishop Eustace, and Jackson Memorial. In addition, he helped coach Hamilton Post 31 of the Mercer County American Legion League (MCALL) to the 2017 state legion title game.

In reflecting on those stops, George said he was influenced by two head coaches in particular, Bishop Eustace’s Sam Tropiano and Jackson Memorial’s Frank Malta.

“Eustace is one of the premier powers in the state; coach Tropiano has been there since the late ’80s,” said George. “It was incredible to learn from a guy like that, all of the knowledge he has of the game helped me boost my knowledge and my career. Jackson is a big power in the state and coach Malta has done great things over there. Being able to see those kids in the hallway every day and talk to coach Malta every day, that was best of all the coaching experiences.”

Growing from those experiences, George got the itch to become a head coach himself.

“Last year, I decided that I wanted to run a program and build my own program,” said George, a history and social studies teacher at Jackson Memorial. more

April 13, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department (PHD) reported today, April 13, the death of a male in his 90s, the third death in Princeton from coronavirus (COVID-19) and the second death of a Princeton Care Center (PCC) resident.

Three additional patients at PCC who have tested positive and those who are symptomatic are being isolated in a separate wing of the facility. Due to the possibility for asymptomatic spread, the PHD is monitoring vital signs for all residents and staff daily, working to have all staff tested, and continuing to reinforce the facility’s universal masking policy. Staff exposed to confirmed COVID-19 patients have been placed in quarantine.

The PHD also reported 62 total cases of COVID-19 in Princeton, with 35 active cases in isolation and 24 cases recovered, with isolation complete.  The PHD attributes the increases to more testing and increased community transmission.

“Because of continued limitations in testing, and because there is growing evidence that the virus can be carried and spread by asymptomatic individuals, we should all presume that the prevalence of coronavirus in our community exceeds those figures,” today’s  PHD update stated. “All residents have been ordered to stay home.” more

April 10, 2020

By Donald Gilpin

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, in his press briefing today, April 10, pointed out some “good early signs, important early signs” of a leveling off in the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state, but the numbers of cases and deaths from the disease continue to rise.

Murphy reported 233 deaths in the past 24 hours for a total of 1,932 COVID-19-related deaths in the state and an additional 3,627 new cases for a total of 54,588 confirmed cases. Murphy urged New Jersey residents to stay apart, stay home, and practice social distancing for this holiday weekend as the only way to get past the peak of this pandemic.

Murphy’s message was echoed in a press release from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan.

“It will be hard this holiday weekend to miss loved ones and forego traditional family get-togethers, but it is absolutely critical that we all stay home and maintain social distance,” Grewal said. “There are indications that these measures are indeed flattening the curve of the pandemic in the U.S., but if we let our guard down now by traveling for holiday gatherings, more lives will be put at risk.” more