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COVID-19 UPDATE New Jersey: NJ reports highest number of daily cases since start of pandemic; Citing Governor Phil Murphys virus restrictions, Borgata Casino in Atlantic City cutting jobs, hours – WPVI-TV

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Nov 14, 2020
TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) — New Jersey reported Saturday its highest number of daily cases since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy reported 4,395 new positive cases of COVID-19.

The high case count brings the overall total since the start of the pandemic to 274,736.

Saturday’s daily count topped the state’s previous high of 4,391 new cases reported on April 17.

“These numbers are alarming and concerning, to say the least. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe,” Murphy said.

Murphy said there were 26 new confirmed deaths, for a total of 14,747.

Borgata lays off workers, cuts hours

Atlantic City’s top casino is laying off or cutting the hours of 422 workers in what it says is a direct reaction to strict new indoor dining limits imposed by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The Borgata sent a letter to workers Friday afternoon outlining the cuts.

Casino president Melonie Johnson said the cuts were in response to limits that took effect Thursday night under which indoor dining must halt from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The casino is laying off 73 workers and reducing the hours of 349 others.

WATCH: New COVID-19 restrictions begin in New Jersey

Bob McDevitt, president of the main Atlantic City casino workers’ union, said he did not know of any other casino that had done layoffs since the limits were announced on Monday.

“Regrettably, due to the adjusted operations and overall impact of the pandemic on business, we’ve been forced to modify our staffing levels,” Johnson wrote in her letter to workers.

“We are hopeful to return employees to work and increase hours when the executive order is lifted, operations expand and business demand returns,” she wrote. “The governor has not yet announced when the order will be lifted so, unfortunately, we don’t know how long this may last and cannot fully assess any lasting impacts on our business levels.”

Murphy’s order came as the coronavirus rate of infection and number of cases climbs higher in New Jersey and across the country. He said Monday that Health Department officials say indoor settings make it easier for the virus to spread compared with outdoors.

To comply with the order, the casino is closing its restaurants each night at 10 p.m. It also must stop serving beverages on the casino floor, which will remain open around the clock.

In-room dining will be offered all day Saturday and Sunday, and from 4 p.m. to midnight on weekdays.

Laid-off workers will remain on the casino’s health insurance plan through Dec. 31.

Trenton Restrictions Begin Nov. 16

New restrictions will be going into place in Trenton, Mayor W. Reed Gusciora announced Friday.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 16 through Dec. 5, all Trenton businesses, including restaurants, bars and essential grocery stores, must close at 10 p.m.

But restaurants can be open for pickup until 11 p.m. Gas stations don’t have to close, but they will only be allowed to dispense gas.

All residents are urged to wear a mask, and remain at home after 10 p.m.

Trenton officials said Thanksgiving gatherings should be small, and not have people from states that are on Governor Murphy’s travel advisory list.

As of Friday, Mayor Gusciora said Trenton’s transmission rate is 44.2 cases per 100,000 people, which exceeds both the state and county rates at 29.3 and 28.9, respectively. Trenton has had a total of 4,598 COVID-19 cases with 80 related deaths.

“It’s clear the second wave is here and has hit the Capital City especially hard,” said Mayor Gusciora. “Our transmission rates may even be higher now than they were in the spring. While we believe these new restrictions will help, we won’t get past this crisis unless our residents wear their masks and practice social distancing. No more excuses about COVID-19 fatigue: the virus never gets tired, and neither should our residents and businesses when it comes to keeping this city safe.”

Hospitalizations on the rise

As COVID numbers rise throughout New Jersey, hospitals have seen an uptick in patients who can’t fight the virus at home over the past month.

“We really have learned a lot about how to take care of COVID patients over the last nine months,” said Dr. John Matsinger, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Virtua Health.

Matsinger said the hospitals are ready, and much more so than in the spring. Hospitals in New Jersey are now required by the state to have a 90-day stockpile of PPE on hand, and they’ve fully resumed normal hospital operations and surgeries.

His big worry now: COVID fatigue and Thanksgiving.

“We all have fears that people won’t continue with the social distancing and wearing masks. That could cause the spike to be larger,” said Matsinger, who also worries that staff members could become infected around the holidays.

WATCH: How COVID is impacting holiday gatherings, travel

State health officials said several New Jersey hospitals have been on divert status this week – meaning incoming patients are temporarily sent to other hospitals for treatment.

“General increase overall in volume and certainly exacerbated by increase in COVID patients,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli on Thursday during the state’s COVID-19 briefing in Trenton.

St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton was one of those hospitals, on divert eight hours on Wednesday – due to an overall influx in patients and COVID-19.

New Jersey’s hospitalization numbers have risen since the beginning of September, but they’re nowhere near the peak the state saw in the spring, when hospitals were packed and field hospitals staffed by the National Guard were used for overflow.

AtlantiCare officials in Atlantic County said they’re starting to see more COVID patients and people coming in with flu-like symptoms. One of AtlantiCare’s two hospitals was also on divert for a short time this week, but officials said that’s not unusual, even pre-pandemic.

They do say in some cases, people will come to the emergency department when an urgent care or primary doctor would suffice.

“We’re trying to get the patient to the most appropriate place to get their care instead of reflexively coming to the emergency department,” said Dr. Thomas Brabson, Chairman of Emergency Services at AtlantiCare.

“Obviously if we’re at the appropriate level of care that helps with the emergency department capacity and our in-patient capacity,” said AtlantiCare Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Kilmer.

AtlantiCare officials emphasized that you should call ahead if you’re going to a hospital or urgent care with COVID symptoms. But if you’re having a true medical emergency – like a heart attack or stroke – you should not hesitate to head to the ER right away.

Dining restrictions in effect

New restrictions went into effect in New Jersey on Thursday in an attempt to control the COVID-19 resurgence in the Garden State.

All restaurants and bars must close indoor dining from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Bar seating will be prohibited at all hours.

Kevin Meeker, owner of Keg and Kitchen in Haddon Township said for his business, the new restrictions are going to hurt.

“I used to have 50 people on the payroll. It gets smaller and smaller as these restrictions are forced onto us,” said Meeker.

He just doesn’t think it’s fair small businesses continue to suffer.

“We’ve been open and not one employee has been sick. And we’ve been here since May. If he shuts down businesses, who’s going to make the money? Target, Walmart – and the little guy is going to be hurt,” added Meeker.

The new restrictions also impact indoor youth sports. College and professional teams were not covered by the order.

READ MORE: Gov. Phil Murphy imposes new COVID-19 restrictions: Everything you should know

Murphy also signed an executive order to give towns and cities the option to limit hours at non-essential businesses after 8 p.m. Murphy’s decision is a change from the spring when he ordered statewide closures and declined to adopt a regional approach.

“As the governor said, since Monday we have reported more than 10,000 new cases. This is a wake-up call. We need your help,” pleaded Persichilli.

AMC Theatres Closes Hamilton Location

The AMC Hamilton 24 Theatre has permanently shut its doors.
AMC Theatres tells 6abc.com the theater closed at the end of business on Sunday, Nov. 8.

Cherry Hill gets OK to go to hybrid next week

After guidance from the county’s health department,
Cherry Hill Public Schools has announced students will be able to return class in a hybrid model starting next week.

As COVID cases rise, no need to stockpile supplies, expert says

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge, consumers are stocking up, and grocery stores are responding. But
before you go on a spending spree, there are some things to consider.

CDC says masks protect you, not just those around you, in updated guidance

As the U.S. sees a nationwide spike in coronavirus cases, the Centers for Disease Control released new mask guidance. The
latest update says wearing a face-covering doesn’t just protect the people around you, but it also protects the wearer from incoming virus projectiles.

CDC releases updated guidelines for Thanksgiving

The CDC posted its most specific guidance yet on Thanksgiving Monday, which emphasizes that the safest option for the holiday is celebrating only with people in your household or taking extra precautions like wearing masks and keeping your distance if you celebrate with others.

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