May 22, 2020

Memorial Day Weekend Sees Partial Reopening, Outbreak Slowing

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department reported yesterday, May 21, a total of 17 confirmed COVID-19-related deaths in Princeton with seven additional probable (symptomatic but not tested) deaths of COVID-19 complications, 169 positive cases, 65 active positive cases, and 80 individuals recovered and released from isolation.

Recent focus has been on the long-term care facilities, where most of the COVID-19-related deaths in Princeton have occurred. Princeton Care Center has had 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents, 16 among staff members, and seven resident deaths from COVID-19 complications, according to the New Jersey Department of Health’s (NJDOH) report today, with suspected but untested cases excluded from the count. Fifteen residents and four staff members of Acorn Glen have contracted the virus, with seven resident deaths. There have been no reported COVID-related deaths of staff members in either Princeton facility.

In his coronavirus briefing from Trenton today, Gov. Phil Murphy announced 146 COVID-19-related deaths in the past 24 hours for a total of 10,985 deaths in the state, with 1,394 new positive tests and a total of 152,719 cases. New York is the only state with more COVID-19 cases and deaths than New Jersey.

In its 11th week, the pandemic is slowing, Murphy pointed out, with daily cases, deaths, and hospitalizations continuing to drop. He has been gradually lifting restrictions, allowing parks to reopen, non-essential businesses to offer curbside services, and permitting beaches, boardwalks, and lakes to open today, with social distancing guidelines, for the start of the Memorial Day weekend.

Murphy also announced today that up to 25 people could gather outdoors (only 10 indoors), including church gatherings but not outdoor dining or graduation ceremonies. Public and private recreational campgrounds are also permitted to reopen.

In all of the above situations social distancing, personal responsibility, and a strong recommendation of face coverings remain the order of the day, he added.

The NJDOH announced today a total of at least 6,295 Mercer County residents who had tested positive for the virus, with 443 COVID-19-related deaths in the county.

Actual numbers of COVID-19 infections, locally and statewide, probably surpass confirmed case numbers because of testing backlogs and residents who have not been tested.

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