Governor Phil Murphy: Good afternoon, everyone. I include myself on this list, we've got a mix of the usual suspects and some special guests today. To my immediate right, the person who needs no introduction, the Commissioner of the Department of Health, Judy Persichilli; Judy, great to have you, as always. In the audience today, Ed, please don't be offended, please don't hold it against us, the Department of Health's Communicable Disease Service Medical Director, Dr. Ed Lifshitz. To my far left, State Police Superintendent, another familiar face, Colonel Pat Callahan. And then we have an additional, we've got Jared Maples here from the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, but we have a couple of particular treats today. I'm honored that we are joined, again by someone who needs no introduction, my partner in government, the woman on my left, Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver. It's an honor to have you back, Sheila. And I think today she's largely wearing her hat as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. As we know, she wears a couple of big hats. And then to the far right, we're also very happy to have back another great leader in our state, the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, Christine Norbut Beyer. Christine, great to have you back.
I'll get to the reason why they're both here in a few minutes, but suffice it to say we're trying to end the week on as much of a high note as we can, and to set the stage for the days to come. In that respect, I will be signing an Executive Order today that will allow for the resumption of childcare services, organized sports practices, and youth day camps over the next several weeks. Under this Order, both Judy in her Department of Health capacity, and Christine representing the Department of Children and Families, will be releasing the health and safety standards which will guide each of these, and we expect to update those standards as the facts on the ground change.
Childcare centers will be allowed to reopen their doors to all clients effective Monday, June 15. Having these centers open throughout this emergency for the children of our essential workers has been a necessity for our doctors and nurses, public health and safety first responders, grocery and other essential workers and their families. But now, as we prepare to take the first true steps of our restart and recovery, and as more and more workers prepare to get back out to their jobs, we must ensure a continuum of care for their children. Today, the Department of Children and Families will release the health and safety standards that must be met at our childcare centers. I will ask Commissioner Beyer to speak more to this in a few minutes.
Organized sports will be able to restart on June 22. However, at that time, activities will be limited to sports activities conducted outdoors, and there can be no contact drills or activities for the time being. Again, for the time being. Especially for the countless kids who have been looking forward to playing baseball or softball or soccer or other sports, we are proud to take this step. We want you to have an active summer with your friends, playing the sport you love, but at the same time while protecting your health. Over the past weeks, we have worked tirelessly with youth sports leaders across the state toward this day, I have every confidence in the ability of our leagues to ensure the health and safety of every athlete.
And then finally, beginning Monday, July 6, youth day camps -- day camps -- including municipal summer recreation programs, will be allowed to operate. As it goes with our decision regarding sports, we want our children to be able to enjoy their summer with friends, participating in the activities that create lifelong memories. And we know day camp is one of those memory-building places. Our camps are also places that give older kids a chance to have their first jobs as counselors. We are pleased that these opportunities for growth and leadership will also be open this summer. In each of these instances, sports leagues and day camps, the Department of Health will be releasing the health and safety standards that will allow for this Order to be properly followed.
Additionally, I am proud to announce today that after weeks of close consultation with our racetracks and our horse breeders, horse racing will also resume, with the first competitive races as early as next weekend. In fact, the first qualifying races happened this morning, and I want to thank the New Jersey Racing Commission and Executive Director Judy Nason for their hard work that allowed this to happen. Now at this time, we will not – and I repeat, we will not – be able to allow fans back into our racetrack grandstands. But online gaming remains open and capable of taking your wagers.
We are able to take these steps because the data we are receiving every day from our hospitals and through testing are allowing us to determine these dates. I have mentioned many times this is exactly what we mean when we say that data determines dates. As we have seen, the data continue to move in the right direction, and continue to be far down from their peak, and especially over the past two critical weeks. Even though we have seen some days with spikes, which are the red balls, we remain confident in our overall direction.
This confidence can be also felt in each region as the metrics generally follow each other across the state. Again, new hospitalizations on the upper left is something that Judy and Ed and their teams and myself look at very closely. Certainly in comparison to some of our peers, we see our continued challenges. However, while this is our reminder that we must continue to practice our social distancing, wear something on our face, to take all precautions, given all else, we are confident in our ability to take these steps for our kids, in our communities, and for our economy. These challenges are surmountable if we stick to it.
And finally, I want to note that throughout this entire emergency, we have remained in close contact with our tremendous communities of faith, the overwhelming number of which have taken truly to heart the need for social distancing to protect the health and safety of their congregations. This has been a hard time for them, to be sure. Our faiths are supposed to, after all, bring us together, and so many of our faith leaders of every religion and denomination have been tremendous in their support for our efforts to save lives. They are the ones who deserve, frankly, the media coverage. As long as our health metrics continue to trend in the right direction, I anticipate being able to raise the limits on indoor gatherings in a way that will allow for greater indoor religious services beginning the weekend of June 12. That's Friday, June 12. That's two weeks from today.
I and my administration will continue our deep partnership with our faith communities as we work through the proper safeguards that will need to be in place before we can welcome our communities back into their houses of worship. We don't want any opening to have an adverse impact on our communities, and we know some faith institutions are not ready to open, and we will work with you and respect when you feel it is safe to do so. Our houses of worship are cornerstones of our communities, often rooted in historical and cultural tradition. Sheila and I have said this often, even if we bat 1,000 as a government, we do everything right, we cannot remotely get to where we need to get to as a state without our faith institutions, both inside their houses of worship and as importantly in their tentacles into the community, and we've seen that throughout this pandemic. We want them, these institutions, to be strong and safe. This is especially meaningful in our communities of color, which have been hit particularly hard.
Next with the Lieutenant Governor here, I am proud to announce that our administration will be applying at least $100 million, primarily in federal CARES Act funding, to stand up a short-term rental assistance program for low and moderate income families who most need it. The Lieutenant Governor will give us this in greater detail as it relates to the department's efforts, but I wanted to give a few broad strokes.
From the moment this emergency took hold, we have made it clear that no family should fear losing their home as a result of financial hardship due to COVID-19. And as another rent day approaches, I want to reiterate that point. Our strong eviction and foreclosure moratoriums remain firmly in place, and will remain in force until weeks after this emergency eventually comes to an end. We continue working closely with our Legislative and community-based partners to further strengthen protections for tenants, and I hope we'll have much more on those plans in the near future.
However, for the short term and under the extraordinary leadership of the Lieutenant Governor, the Department of Community Affairs is putting together our rental assistance program, with the goal of having the first rent assistance checks flowing to landlords later this summer. And throughout this, we will work with landlords to ensure that back rent does not adversely impact any family, and to ensure realistic and empathetic back rent payment plans. I'm grateful not only to my partner in government, the extraordinary Sheila Oliver, but as we say so often, it takes a village and in this case, I'm also grateful, as is Sheila, to the partnership of Senator Brian Stack, who has been a tireless champion for our renters and Assembly Members Raj Mukherji and Annette Quijano in this work. This has been a true team effort on behalf of all of our renters.
With that, let's look at the overnight numbers. Yesterday we had an additional 1,117 positive test results. The current total statewide is 158,844. Here's the trend line of new cases, which goes generally in the right direction. Here's the daily positivity, or what Judy and team call the spot positivity rate. This is for samples collected on Monday, and it's at 6%.
Looking to our long-term care facilities, we continue to see some fluctuations in the trends of new cases being confirmed. As you can see, 32,097 of our cases are in long-term care facilities. Meanwhile, the numbers of lab-confirmed fatalities associated with our long-term care facilities continues its decrease from the peak, but it is still, and let's just all acknowledge, 5,009 precious souls in our long-term care facilities who have been lost. I had a good conversation this morning with the Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and talked about long-term care in specific.
In our hospitals, we closed last night with 2,707 patients being treated for COVID-19. That's down 90 from Wednesday. Our field medical stations reported 21 patients. This is the breakdown of total hospitalizations across regions. The number of patients reported in either critical or intensive care was 720. The number of ventilators in use was 544. For each of these numbers, these are decreases of 20 day over day. There were 183 new hospitalizations yesterday, while 231 live residents left our hospitals. The 183, Judy, you and I discussed earlier, is a welcome decrease, meaningful decrease from yesterday's number. We want to see that to continue to go in the right direction.
And with all of that, we must, with the heaviest of hearts, announce another 131 lives lost of our fellow New Jerseyans due to COVID-19 related complications. I skipped over the regions, that's hospitalizations. Forgive me. Our statewide total stands at the almost unfathomable 11,531 precious lives lost. And as we do every day, let's celebrate a few of those lives that we have lost.
First we remember Sallie Rochford, a longtime resident of West Amwell in Lambertville, in Hunterdon County. Sallie was 78 years old. Sallie had spent 26 as the Office Administrator and Computer Operations Manager with Mobil Oil Corporation in Pennington, and had taken over other administrative positions including with our own Office of Unemployment. But it was Sallie's personal strength that defined her life. At the age of two she contracted polio, but she never let its effects prevent her from living a full and rich life of courage, dignity, and determination. She swam, she rode bicycles and horses, she climbed mountains and became an accomplished woodworker. She never acknowledged the limitations polio was supposed to impose. In fact, she powered through them all.
She was centered in her home life by her treasured late partner, Patricia Foy, and Sallie is survived by Patricia's sister and Sallie's sister-in-law, BJ Foy. I had the great honor of speaking to BJ yesterday who lives in Vero Beach, Florida. And Sallie was also survived by her friend of almost 60 years, Carol Kovacs, in addition to her niece, Kim Petro and many nephews, friends, and acquaintances. God bless you, Sallie.
Next up, we remember West Windsor's Dr. Arthur Sherbin, there's Arthur on the right. A bright child, born in New York, he graduated Long Island University in three years and then earned his master's degree in biochemistry from New York University. He was conducting cancer research at Sloan Kettering when he decided to pursue his medical degree at the University of Louisville. And after graduation, would practice internal medicine for 40 years, much of that time in Highland Park until his retirement in 2000.
He was on staff at both Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center and St. Peter's Hospital in New Brunswick. He also served as Medical Director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority literally, I think, for 35 years and was the school doctor for both North Brunswick Township and the Middlesex County Vocational Technical High Schools. Even in retirement, Arthur kept up on developments in the field of medicine and spent his free time in his garden, spending time with his grandchildren and being by the side of his wife of nearly 60 years, Carolyn, with whom I had the great honor of speaking yesterday. Carolyn survives him as do his son Joseph and his daughters Rhonda and Cindy. I also had the great honor of speaking with Cindy yesterday, and his two grandchildren, Joshua and Kayla Chait.
Cindy asks that her father be remembered for his sweet nature, his ever-present desire to help people, his unconditional and selfless love for his children, and most importantly, his grandchildren, and his immense loyalty to his family. His wife Carolyn reminded me of two sort of themes that defined his time as a doctor. Number one, once a patient, always a patient. And secondly, this was a tough one even to hear, never mind speak to it. If you had lost your job and you were a patient of Dr. Sherbin's, he saw you for free until you got your job back. What an extraordinary guy. He was 90 years old. May his memory bring peace to all who knew him. God bless you, sir.
And finally today we remember the late Mayor of the City of East Orange, Thomas Cooke Jr. who we lost at the age of 90. He was a mentor and friend of the woman to my left, Sheila Oliver, and a mentor and friend to so many. The Mayor was born in South Carolina but his family, like many African American families at the time, came north for opportunity, so-called to the warmth of other suns, and Mayor Cooke made the most of his, leading a life of service to his community. He and his wife Audrey would have three children of their own: Julia, Benita and Thomas III, and they also would adopt Audrey's nephew, Michael.
The family first lived in Montclair. Mayor Cooke received his bachelor's degree from New York University and a master's degree from Montclair State University, and then they settled in East Orange. He served in the United States Navy during the Korean War, and worked in the veterans hospital in East Orange as an assistant psychologist and physical therapist. He would later become an educator in the Newark Public Schools. In 1961, he won a seat in the East Orange City Council, then was elected to the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders before, in 1977, being elected Mayor of the City of East Orange. You talk about a guy who did it all. He would serve two terms as mayor and built a reputation as a champion for public safety and an advocate for tenants. He stabilized taxes and helped bring new senior housing online.
Recognized and respected by his peers, Mayor Cooke served as Vice President of the US Conference of Black Mayors and the Chairman of the Advisory Board of the US Conference of Mayors. He also served as a voluntary chairman of the Passaic Valley Water Coalition. Through his work and his daily walks throughout the city he led, Mayor Cooke is remembered for his kindness, his compassion, and his wisdom. Mayor Cooke is now reunited with his beloved Audrey and two of his children, Benita and Michael. In fact, I believe he lost both Audrey and Benita in the same year, 1995. He is survived by his daughter Julia, with whom I had the great honor of speaking yesterday and by her husband, Michael Gaines, and by Thomas III, who I spoke just literally a few minutes before coming over, as well as by his former daughter-in-law Cynthia and son-in-law Lewis. He also leaves eight grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, and so many other relatives and friends. Mayor Cooke was 90 years old. We bless him and we thank him for his life of service. May God bless you, Mayor.
Three more distinctly New Jersey lives, three from among the more than 11,000 we have lost. Let them never, ever, ever be just numbers. God bless them all.
Let's switch gears for a couple of minutes. As it was announced last night and I alluded to, President Trump has extended what is known as Title 32, which allows our National Guardsmen and Guardswomen to receive pay through the federal government through mid-August. I spoke to the President last night and thanked him, among other topics we discussed. We have mentioned here many times the ways that our Guardsmen and women are working as part of our emergency response. Some are currently assisting in our long-term care facilities, providing much-needed backup for the hard-working staff members who are doing all they can to protect their residents. Other Guard members have been providing assistance at our federally partnered testing sites, at both Bergen Community College and the PNC Bank Arts Center. Regardless of the job they're doing, we thank them for being part of our team, and we are grateful for their continued hard work and service.
Next, I want to once again urge everyone to help us gather the data we need to guide our steps going forward from today. And you can do that by going out and getting tested for COVID-19. On Wednesday, another 26,000 tests were recorded and we have the ability to reach this number now every day. We've worked hard to get our testing program to where it is, and we're going to keep working to make it even stronger. As you can see there, we are number two in the nation per capita up from three, which was, I believe yesterday.
Getting a test is easy, and with CVS bringing 45 more of their stores online to provide tests every day, we now have 208 sites across the state where you could get tested. So this weekend, make a plan. Get tested. Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your community. I encourage you to go to covid19.nj.gov/testing to find a location near you and go out and get tested.
Next, I want to give a huge shout out to the women and men of the Paterson Public Schools. In addition to conducting their classes remotely, many have also been volunteering their time over the past two-plus months to help provide for the greater needs of their students and families. It is this effort that I want to note, as Paterson recently passed the milestone of distributing its 1 millionth student meal since schools closed on March 17. That's right, 1 million student meals have been distributed in Paterson alone since schools closed on March 17. Our educators and support staff are integral parts of their communities, and there is no greater example of their commitment than in Paterson. So to everybody at the Patterson Public Schools, I thank you and I want to give a special shout out to my dear friend, the Coach and Assemblyman Benji Wimberly for getting us the word of this extraordinary accomplishment.
Finally, I think on behalf of Sheila and myself, I want to close with a brief observation about the turmoil we're seeing in Minneapolis. It may seem a half a country away, but we're all in this thing together. There is no doubt that the centuries-old stain of systemic racism is far from being erased from the fabric of this country. We also know that the overwhelming majority of our law enforcement officers believe strongly in the communities they have sworn to protect. But what we are seeing right now in Minneapolis is painful, almost too painful, in fact, to watch. And perhaps that's because it's not the first time we have seen such horrific pictures on our screens.
George Floyd should be alive today, not just as a matter of principle or of justice, but as a matter of human dignity. As a matter of our nation living up to one of our most basic founding ideals, that all are created equal. His life mattered as much as mine, or my wife's or our kids or any of yours. We've seen these images before in New York, in Ferguson, in Baltimore, and in countless other cities, large and small. Too many times have we gotten a national wakeup call, and then gone about doing nothing about it. We cannot just expect someone to be fired and that be the end of it. That's a feel-good action that doesn't solve a systemic problem.
We need to dig a deeper well of accountability and responsibility, and we need to draw from it. Not just in Minneapolis but everywhere, including right here. We can lead this effort, in fact, in New Jersey. We have passed laws to ensure accountability, and I see Attorney General Gurbir Grewal's Excellence in Policing Initiative as how we will stay a leader and a model for smart policies that lead to safer communities, stronger trust and a better future. Pat Callahan knows this as much as anyone. As we are coming together to defeat this pandemic, let us endeavor to come together, to strengthen the bonds that bring us together as New Jerseyans and as Americans. Let us be a part of the solution.
With that, it is my great honor to turn things over to the woman on my left, who needs no introduction, the leader of the DCA, the Commissioner of that extraordinary team, and the Lieutenant Governor, and my partner in government for the Great State of New Jersey, please help me welcome Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver.
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver: Thank you, Governor Murphy, and I want to thank you for those remarks that you gave. I think everyone in New Jersey has heartfelt condolence for the family of George Floyd, and I think that we know that in New Jersey, under the leadership of our various law enforcement professionals, we shudder to think that it would be our state, but thank you for those remarks and good afternoon, everyone.
As we have experienced the pandemic and things were just flying so fast and furiously, from day one we have been concerned in the administration about the economic impact many of the policies we've had to put in place, and there's no more one thing that we have not been focused on, and it is people who have found themselves confronted with not being able to pay their rent. So, we know that many of our residents are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, due to the loss of their jobs or reduced hours. As a result, many of these individuals who have never had to ask for financial help before, but they're finding themselves in a situation where they aren't able to make rent on the first of the month.
We have heard the calls for help from renters loud and clear, and we understand the enormity of the problem. Therefore, we are very pleased today to be able to announce that relief is on the way. The Department of Community Affairs is implementing a new temporary rental assistance program, which will soon be available for households in New Jersey to apply. The COVID-19 Short-Term Rental Assistance Program will provide rental assistance to low and moderate-income households that have had a substantial reduction in income as a result of the pandemic, and that will include those who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless.
A portion of the funding for this program will serve those who are very low income, homeless or at risk of becoming homeless with up to 12 months of rental assistance. Households in this situation will be prioritized. A portion of the funding for this program will serve those who are very low income. The remainder of the participants will be selected through an online lottery system that will open up in July of 2020, and it will provide those individuals with up to six months of rental assistance. The lottery will provide a preference to households that earn less than 80% of the area median income within their county.
It will focus on those that are currently unemployed and can show that employment loss is due to the public health emergency. The COVID-19 Short-Term Rental Assistance Program website will launch on June 15 with additional information. In the meantime, you can check the DCA website for updates about this program at nj.gov/DCA. You can also follow the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for real-time updates about our programs.
In addition to the new rental assistance program, DCA is also urging households in need to apply for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program known as LIHEAP. It helps people pay for their utility costs. It includes cooling, as the summer season is upon us. The LIHEAP program recently received an additional $29 million in funding through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act, known as CARES. To find out if you are eligible for this assistance, you can use DCA's completely anonymous online screening tool called DCAid. The website address is nj.gov/DCA/DCAid.
And Governor, I want to thank you for your trips to Washington and your weekly teleconferences with Vice President Pence. Because of your efforts in securing more financial assistance for our state, HUD has awarded us this $29 million, so thank you very much. It will go a long way to help many households in the state. I want to commend you also for being an advocate for federal relief, and we know that it's not over yet and we will continue on that trajectory. With this additional funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, we will have more control and flexibility as a state in solving the short and long-term impacts that the virus is having on our communities. Simply put, it is going to help us all get through this crisis whole. Thank you, Governor Murphy, and now I'd like to turn it over to, as you know, the woman who needs no introduction, Commissioner Persichilli.
Governor Phil Murphy: Sheila, thank you so much for your leadership throughout, in peace and in war, and today's yet another example of that. Bless you, thank you. Judy.
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver: Thank you, Governor.
Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli: Thank you, Governor and thank you, Lieutenant Governor. Good afternoon. Our journey to reopening starts with testing, as the Governor has shared with you and has been encouraging everyone to get tested. But I want to emphasize that we want individuals to get the diagnostic test, which detects whether you currently have the virus. This information is vitally important for appropriate public health actions to be taken. In addition, this type of test provides insight onto the amount of disease, or the disease burden, currently circulating in our communities. That is important data for informing further easing of restrictions.
While some individuals are interested in antibody testing, at this time, there is still a lot that remains unknown about the value of that testing. A positive result on an antibody test should not be viewed as definitive evidence of immunity or even past infection with COVID-19. It also cannot tell us if you currently have the virus. So I encourage residents to get a diagnostic test, as this is the most valuable tool we have right now to contain the spread of the virus.
For my daily report, last evening, as the Governor shared, our hospitals reported 2,707 hospitalizations. There are 720 individuals in critical care, of which 76% of them are on ventilators. I'm reporting today a total of 26 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, the same as yesterday. There are no deaths reported. The ages of the children affected range from 1 to 18, and 18 of the 26 have tested positive for COVID-19; six are currently still hospitalized. I must draw your attention to the race and ethnicity breakdown of these cases. However. White 19.2%, Black 26.9%, Hispanic, which includes Hispanic ethnicity for all race definitions, 30.8%, and Asian 7.7%. So although the N is quite small, we are seeing a preponderance of disease in communities of color.
The Governor reviewed the new cases and deaths reported today, and in terms of deaths, the breakdown by race and ethnicity is as follows: white 53.2%, Black 18.5%, Hispanic 19.4%, Asian 5.5% and other 3.4%. Our state veteran homes, the numbers remain the same, and they also remain the same in our psychiatric hospitals. The daily percent positivity overall in New Jersey is 6%. In the North, it is 5%, Central 6%, and South 8%. So that concludes my daily statistical report. Stay connected, stay safe and stay healthy. Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: You know, Judy, tying together Minneapolis, which is through a particular lens that Sheila alluded to and I spoke to, the race and ethnicity data, as you said, remember the N, which is the number of the denominator is a very small one, so we all have to acknowledge that. But with a very large number of fatalities, we sadly have over 11,000, there's no question communities of color are showing up in a much higher ratio than their representation in our state as a whole. And as we acknowledge, we have to acknowledge that we can see this through a number of different lenses but the conclusion is the same in this, the first year of the fifth century since slavery first came to our shores, we're still digging out, and let us never forget that we're still digging out. Thank you for your report, and Sheila, thank you for yours as well.
Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver: Thank you, Governor.
Governor Phil Murphy: Again, it's very good to have her back and when Christine was last here, the sobering statistic that stuck with me, Christine, was the reduction in reported abuse, domestic abuse, child abuse. And it was the exact opposite of what you would have hoped, which is that there was actually a reduction. And in fact, it was because kids were less in touch with police officers, Pat, or coaches or teachers or school nurses that a lot of it was going undetected and so that is a reality, folks. That continues to be a reality, particularly as the entire school year has played out and continues to play out remotely. We're honored to have you back, slightly more uplifting news today. This is a series of steps that we've wanted to get to and I know you've worked closely with Judy and her team and other departments as well. So please help me welcome back the Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, Christine Norbert Beyer.
Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer: Thank you. Thanks, Governor Murphy, and good afternoon, everyone. As the Governor referenced in his remarks, childcare centers will be authorized to resume operations and will be open to all New Jersey families under very specific guidelines beginning June 15. And summer youth day camps will be permitted to open beginning July 6, under standards established by the New Jersey Department of Health. This is an important step forward in New Jersey's reopening strategy, ensuring a safe, stable and seamless childcare infrastructure for New Jersey's returning workforce, not just those designated as essential. And it probably comes as a welcome relief for parents who did not know how they were going to juggle summer care or childcare needs with their job responsibilities.
But in order to be able to take this step safely, we have to move forward in a planful and methodical way to support centers and camps in reducing the likelihood of spreading the virus. We must ensure that on a broad scale, the best practices and standards developed by the CDC and other health organizations can and will be followed and enforced. Later today, DCF will be issuing detailed guidance for childcare centers, including processes for screening, sanitation and safe social distancing. Centers will need to let the department know through our Office of Licensing whether they plan to reopen and will need to file an attestation indicating that they will follow the safety protocols in place for New Jersey's childcare centers.
DCF inspectors will begin visiting reopened licensed centers on June 15, in order to support them in keeping children safe. The Department of Health will be developing similar safe standards for summer camps, allowing youth day camps to open under those standards and prohibiting sleepaway and residential camps. Summer camps will have to file an attestation with the Department of Health, acknowledging their agreement to abide by those safety standards.
In order to assist programs with meeting some of these additional costs connected to heightened safety standards, Commissioner Johnson and DHS will be announcing the rollout of up to $20 million in federal CARES Act funds to help programs purchase cleaning supplies and PPE for staff. The current subsidy program managed by DHS for emergency childcare will run through the end of June.
And finally, beginning next week, Commissioner Johnson and I will be cohosting webinars for childcare providers to answer any questions they may have and offer technical assistance as they reopen. While we need to be diligent in maintaining safe operations for childcare and summer care programs, I expect today's announcement is welcome news to so many New Jerseyans. Over the past several weeks, Commissioner Johnson and I have had several conversations with childcare directors, both collectively and individually. We know that this has been a hardship on many of them as they've had to curtail business operations unless certified as an emergency childcare center. We also recognize that these necessary closures were hard on our working families and their children. Childcare centers aren't just a critical part of our state's economy, but they also provide critical social and emotional supports to so many young families. Putting those relationships on hold hasn't been easy for any of them.
New Jersey's childcare centers are among the best in the nation, held to some of the most stringent standards of care. A lot is being asked of them right now, but we really couldn't ask for a community of providers better suited to rise up and meet these challenges head on. Today, we're announcing a path forward as we begin to adapt to the new normal in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So thank you, Governor Murphy, and my fellow cabinet members for your ongoing leadership at this time, and for all of your support in keeping New Jersey residents safe, healthy and connected. Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: Christine, thanks to you and your leadership. I know Sheila joins me in thanking you, and also you mentioned Carol Johnson, who deserves another shout out as well, the Commissioner of Human Services, who's been your partner in these endeavors and so many others, Judy's been right in there with you at every step of the way. And again, God willing, folks can take some relief here that we're going to, we're only within now shouting distance of daycare getting back up, participative sports, with some restrictions obviously, back up; summer camps, day camps, we're beginning to see the light that we have promised based on the data. I can't thank you enough for your leadership., so thank you.
With that, for compliance and other matters, Pat, it probably goes without saying, but the Community Relations right now between law enforcement and the community, the example that you and the Attorney General and the Police Chiefs Union and the police chiefs themselves and the rank and file union represent, needed now more than ever as a nation, and certainly in our state. So, as always, great to have you. Please.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: Thank you so much, Governor and Lieutenant Governor, good to have you here. Good afternoon, everybody. Just three incidents on the overnight. A nail salon in Lakewood, owner was cited for being non-essential and open. Two subjects were cited for holding a church service in Berlin. That was their second offense. And in Paterson, a thrift store owner was cited for having a non-essential business open.
And to your point, Governor, rather than wonder if I would be asked about it, I just am always deeply troubled at the tragic loss of life, especially when law enforcement's involved, and in-custody deaths and officer-involved shootings are some of the most complex, intense investigations that need to be rooted in accountability and in justice and in transparency. Not many people know it, but I know maybe the Governor and Lieutenant Governor know, for the last 11 weeks, seven days a week, I get on a prayer call every morning with clergy, a very diverse group of clergy of all denominations from throughout New Jersey, 11 weeks in a row now. The pain in the prayer that I heard on this week's call is disturbing to me. But we're together on blue sky days, as we say, for a reason, so when we come up against an incident that draws on that reservoir of trust and that well that the Governor was talking about, that we can lock arms so we can foster trust, maintain it, and really rebuild it where it's been completely diminished.
And to your point about the Attorney General, he also hosted a call with the major city police chiefs and their respective county prosecutors today to talk about the relationships that they have. They're not going to meet their clergy and their pastors around yellow crime scene tape in the State of New Jersey. We're doing it at barbecues, we're doing it at church basements, at town halls, knowing that something that happens halfway across the country or on the other side of the country impacts us right here in Trenton, New Jersey and throughout our communities.
And I'll end to your point about our Attorney General, what he has done in the fostering of professionalism, accountability and transparency, whether that was through initiatives, legislation, directives, he is a leader in making sure that New Jersey stands at the forefront and as an example for instilling public trust between our communities and law enforcement. So thank you, Governor.
Governor Phil Murphy: Pat, thank you and amen to all, and I know Sheila joins me and we rise and fall as one family in this, the most diverse state in America. I think I'll get to details on the coming days in a minute. I think we'll start over here. Dustin, I think you're first up on this side. Thank you. If you could get a little closer with the microphone, thank you. Without causing dental work.
Dustin Racioppi, Bergen Record: Well, you might want to. Do you have any second thoughts or concerns on vote-by-mail elections, given that 19% of the ballots in Paterson have been rejected? And do you think that undermines the faith in the election results?
On school funding, you proposed an additional $336 million for next year, and districts were notified yesterday that wouldn't happen because of the virus, which means some will have to account for millions less coming in. Why cut school funding since that's been a priority for you?
And I've learned that your office has been interviewing people in the Department of Health in an attempt to find the source of leaks. What do you have to say about that? And is that an appropriate use of resources at any time, but especially in the middle of a pandemic?
Governor Phil Murphy: Vote-by-mail is your first question, and your question Dustin is, do we do any differently based on your example cited of 19%?
Dustin Racioppi, Bergen Record: Yeah, do you have any concerns about that or does it undermine your faith in the elections?
Governor Phil Murphy: Listen, we want to get it right. We want to get it right. And so for folks who may not have been watching a couple of weeks ago, we announced this, we moved our primary from June 2 to July 7. If you're registered in one of the two big parties, Democratic or Republican, you'll get your ballot that you are welcome either to mail in. If you're not affiliated, you'll get an application for a ballot, and there will be at least, I think, 50% of the polling locations in each county will be open, including one minimum in each municipality. So our job is to learn from, you know, we're traveling a journey that none of us have ever traveled before. Every vote counting is a sacred element of our democracy and learning from where it may have fallen down, to some extent, is part of the process.
You could add a lot more than just school funding that's important to me, that's right now in the budget we submitted that's either deferred or cut. It's a long list, and we made that point to the Legislative leaders in both parties that it isn't just things that they wanted, it was things that I and Sheila and we wanted, that we're not going to get to. In the absence of our ability to bond, which is a decision we could take in New Jersey, and we need the legislature to step forward. Again, I want to give a big shout out to the Speaker who put a nice editorial out about it, and a lot of other voices that are coming out. Pat Colligan by example, of the Police Benevolent Association, put a strong statement out today. There's a strong statement coming out of Essex County, across the aisle, by the way. But in the absence of bonding and/or, and probably and, federal cash assistance, a lot of the things that we hold dear, we will not be able to fund. And a lot of the positions of the very people we need right now in the state that we hold dear we will not be able to hold on to. So education funding is on that list for sure. It's high on the list, but it's a long list.
Listen, I don't -- people leaking things and giving the outside world some sense of how the sausage is made, as it were, you know, I've got no time for that and that's got to stop. The fact of the matter is Judy, and I and Pat are up here literally every day; Sheila, who's with us in spirit, Christine, all of us. We're going through stuff that we've never gone through before, as a state and as a nation. And the last thing we need are people speaking out of school about it. So frankly, enough already, let's move on. These are tough decisions at every step of the way. We could not have a better leader in the Department of Health. She's the best in the country, and that's all I have to say about that. Nikita, over to you.
Nikita Biryukov, New Jersey Globe: Hi, Governor. I'll actually surprise you today by asking a question first of the Colonel. On the early morning of May 23, state police shot and killed Maurice Gordon on the parkway in Bass River. We've received reports that Gordon had been stopped by, or otherwise interacted with, law enforcement multiple times during that same evening and morning. Could you confirm that and give any details about those interactions?
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: You know --
Governor Phil Murphy: Hold on, Pat. What else, Nikita?
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: Sorry.
Nikita Biryukov, New Jersey Globe: Yeah, and then I have some questions for you about Chris Neuwirth. Were you aware of his part-time consulting gig? Why didn't you announce his firing? Do you have a response to his claims about being made a scapegoat? Lastly, are there any other senior members of your administration that have private, part-time jobs?
Governor Phil Murphy: Okay. May I say something Pat, just ahead of you on this? Just to say, this is an ongoing investigation and the very good news, working with a whole range of communities including law enforcement, faith communities, community activists and our legislators. I signed a law for this very potential, that there's an independent process that is underway, and that's the way it should be. Until that process surfaces in some form or fashion, I have no visibility into it, nor should I, and that's the way it should be. So I don't think we've got a whole lot to report on it, Pat.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: I would just add the same. The legislation that you signed, Governor, intentionally walls me off from any aspects of that investigation. It is done through the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability under the Attorney General and as of right now, I have not been briefed in any aspects of that investigation, intentionally.
Governor Phil Murphy: And by the way, this was a law that Sheila and I felt passionately about, and we heard from lots of folks and frankly, it's a nation-leading law in terms of independent process. I've got no comment on any personnel –64,000 people I believe work for me, not counting the authority, so people come and go a fair amount, actually when you've got 64,000 people. I've got no comment on Chris's situation. But I will say this, that folks are not – it's par for the course that you're not supposed to have another source of income, that's just as a general matter. We'll leave it there. Thank you. Do you have anything, sir?
Reporter: Yeah, just two quick questions. First one is, what is your law regarding street fairs? If they are allowed, is there restrictions on them? And two, there's people that are saying that for months now, their unemployment says, "Not payable at this time." Is that like a computer thing, or can you shine some light on that?
Governor Phil Murphy: So on street fairs, the outdoor limit of gatherings remains at 25 persons, properly socially distant. So theoretically, you can have a street fair, I suppose, but that's the limit for the time being. I would hope, as I alluded to the other day when we talked about graduations being allowed to take place, at earliest July 6 and outside, I would hope that number goes up, as long as Judy and her team, with Ed and others, continue to say that the metrics are going in the right direction. I've said this before, and it turns out, it's almost been 1,000% the case with the exception of a month or six weeks ago when the systems crashed on the weekend. These are handmade suits, so if you've got a person on that, if I can ask you a favor, get the name of the person to somebody on my team. Dan, where are you? Dan Bryan, that guy right there, and we'll follow up because they invariably, and when I say invariably, virtually all of them, the cases turn out to be very specific to the individual. So if you could bear with us on that, I appreciate it. Please.
Reporter: Governor, are you concerned about the multiple vacancies in leadership positions at the Department of Health, and has that impacted the state's coronavirus response? And have we been able to parse out where new cases are coming from in the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you know what the survival rate has been in New Jersey for those that have been put on ventilators?
Some counties and towns now are reporting numbers for those recovered. Do we have statewide totals for those recovered, or is there a way to estimate that? And finally, is the Department of Motor Vehicles working on getting more activities online, such as for registration or anything that is just paper based?
Governor Phil Murphy: I'm going to go quickly just to start at the back, the DMV, we will have, I suspect, some guidance on the DMV next week, I would think Matt, right? Does that sound about right to you? So bear with us on that, both online and as well as physical presence.
At any moment in time, in any department in our state, there's going to be vacancies. The most important health people are the ones that you see every day, beginning with that woman right there. This is the ultimate it takes a village, Christine speaks to that with her presence today, with Carol Johnson on daycare, Sheila, not just as Lieutenant Governor, DCA, Pat, we're all in this together. Where are either Judy, you or Ed is with us, where are new cases coming from, and survivor rate on vents? I think we've, just on that second point, I think we've said this in prior sessions. Judy, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I'll hand it to you with this. I think there was a view that two months ago, if you went on a vent, the chances were 70% or 80% not good. The general sense is, as folks have more experience with this, that that number has come down to at least a 50-50 proposition, but I don't want to, as I've just done, practice without a license.
Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli: It's such an individual circumstance given that the person who's on the ventilator and their underlying conditions, so it varies. It was pretty high in the beginning, but it was also, at one point, 97% of the patients in intensive care were on ventilators, so it has improved significantly, but it's anecdotal. And it really relates very strongly to the underlying conditions of the person on the ventilator.
Governor Phil Murphy: And I think your other question was, do we have a sense of where new cases are coming from, new hospitalizations are coming from? Ed, do you mind getting that?
DOH Communicable Disease Service Medical Director Dr. Ed Lifshitz: Sure. We don't get quite as much information as we would like on all the new cases. With cases well over 100,000 at this point, not every one has been investigated. So we have a general sense, and the general sense is where most people would be expecting it. That certainly an awful lot of them are coming from places like long-term care facilities, healthcare workers, correctional facilities, those sorts of places. But if you ask me put an exact number as to what percentage, I can't do that.
As to your second question, by the way, about the recovered numbers. That's actually something that also sounds simple, but is really very difficult to do because again, we don't follow every one of these people forward and ask them six weeks later, "Hey, how are you feeling today, sir? Are you feeling all better?" And this is a general discussion that comes up in many places, how do we count the recovered? And what a lot of people just do is they basically say, well, if it's been more than two weeks or a month, and you're not dead, you're probably recovered. We haven't done that because we're not quite comfortable with that definition. So until either there is a more formal definition that everybody can agree on, or some other way to better count them, at this point, we wouldn't feel comfortable guessing at those numbers.
Governor Phil Murphy: Appreciate it. Thank you. Let's go to the back and we'll swing around front here. Please.
Reporter: Awesome, thank you. The first question is about contact tracing. New Jersey is still a couple weeks away from being able to supplement county and local health departments with additional contact tracers. Will the steps you've taken over the last few weeks, beaches, parks, outdoor gatherings, will that place even more pressure on those departments in advance of those reinforcements arriving? It seemed like many of those departments were swamped early in the crisis.
And then I wanted to follow up on Dustin's question. You just said you have no time for leaks in this time of crisis, but your administration has also not really had time to respond to basic OPRA requests as well. Do you think making time for the latter might help with the former?
Governor Phil Murphy: I've got nothing to add on the latter. On the former, is there pressure on contact tracers? You betcha. This is a 500-year flood. The question I think, though, which is a good one is as we continue to open up, will that opening, will it take place before we can amp the army up? And the answer is, it won't. I can't promise you when, but if you could give me plus or minus 10 days from now, so sort of in the June 8 neighborhood. I think we want to go through with you and Judy, tell me if you disagree, but I think we've talked about it. We want to go through with you a similar discussion in granular detail about contact tracing, as we have done with testing.
And again, let's remind folks why this is important. Forget about what we say. The one striking thing that hits me when you look at when the American people are polled, what's going to get you to get back into the water? At the bottom is government, you know, okay, we're open, good luck. At the top of the list are things like the healthcare infrastructure that you have in place as a state. So forget about what I think or Judy or Sheila or any of us think. The fact of the matter is, you all out there have to have confidence that we've got a system in place that would immediately spot any flare up, and have a strategy to deal with it, that's real, that you all can believe.
So when you're clocking in as we are at 25,000 tests a day and that number feels like it could go up every day, you're gonna see a similar heft of robustness in contact tracing and isolation. Folks need that so they can say, you know what? I'm going to be okay getting back on that boardwalk or in that park or worshiping indoors in a couple of weeks, or putting my kid into daycare, or sending my kid to summer camp. Because folks will then say, you know what? They've got this thing. That's not to say it won't flare up. I mean, the fact of the matter is, it will flare up. The question is, what are we going to do about it when it does flare up? Will we have the infrastructure in place to aggressively attack it, to give folks the confidence that they can get back out there? And that's our objective. On your very good question, bear with us, because we're going to come back to you with that at some point. Elise, good afternoon.
Elise Young, Bloomberg: Good afternoon. Regarding your call with the President last night, who initiated the conversation and what did you discuss? Did you get any sense of support for federal cash grants to states for budget shortfalls? Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: The call was initiated before we had gotten, Elise, the 32-F extension of paying for the National Guard. And it was also to ask and reiterate, so I did not speak about federal cash coming from a new bill but I spoke explicitly and I asked the President again to consider and to grant us the 100-zero cost share on all the related expenses that we've got. Right now, it's a 75-25 cost share, feds-state, and we need that desperately to be 100-zero.
I also raised the fact, because he and I had spoken last Friday about indoor worship, I gave him a heads up that we were going to today announce that in a number of days hence, in this case it'll be June 12, that we're going to begin to open up things carefully, carefully and responsibly, indoor for faith gatherings. Thank you. Hello.
Stephanie Faughnan, TAPInto Barnegat/Waretown: Hi, Stephanie Faughnan, from TAPInto Barnegat/Waretown. Down by us, we have a lot of over-55 communities that are being very cautious about opening their pools, their clubhouses. Liability carriers are saying they will not cover things to do with the pandemic. That's one question I have.
Another is in reviewing the long-term care facility list, the sub-acute facilities were removed. I understand why they were removed, but they still did have cases. And I'm wondering if you could create a separate category for them.
I'm happy to hear about the childcare centers, and one of the questions I have about that is, are we going to be asking children to wear masks? How is that going to be handled? Because of course, going forward with school, that's going to be another important part of that.
Governor Phil Murphy: Yep, all good questions. I'll hit at least one of those and maybe ask both Judy and Christine to come in. If over-55 communities are being careful about pools and clubhouses, they should be. That's a good thing, and I don't say that with any morbidity. It's quite clear, it's really not over 55 as much as it's over, Judy, we've got the numbers. I always check before I come in, I did today. 65 and up continue to be 79.5% of the fatalities. I don't have it at 55, but the caution there continues to be advised. I mean, it's devastating for older folks, we've seen that. Vulnerable communities, long-term care is an example of that; folks with comorbidities, communities of color, density, all of that creates, sadly, a petri dish for this virus.
I don't have any color but Judy may on sub-cutes being removed and also, I've become, I hope one of America's biggest mask guys, face covering guys. I'll defer to Christine, however, on the guidance on daycare. Do you want to hit sub-acute, Judy?
Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli: Sure. You know, we're looking at all the levels of post-acute care. I expect that we'll get some recommendations from the consultant about how best to handle all post-acute. So at this point, it stays the way it is.
Governor Phil Murphy: Christine, masks?
Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer: Yeah, thank you. So right now, it's not recommended for children under the age of two to wear masks. It's not safe. And we're also thinking about toddlers and trying to keep a toddler in a mask. They will be recommended for children over two that they wear masks, but one of the things that we're also concerned about and we'll be talking with you care providers about is if children are continuing to remove them, and then the staff have to keep touching them and replacing them, that could be riskier. And so it will be recommended and I think it's going to be individual children, and whether or not they have the capacity to keep it on. And then not during nap time, because that's certainly not safe.
Governor Phil Murphy: You know, no one has – do you have -- very quick, please.
Stephanie Faughnan, TAPInto Barnegat/Waretown: Yeah, real quick. There was one other question, the courts. People are asking when the courts are going to be opening up.
Governor Phil Murphy: Matt?
Chief Counsel Matt Platkin: That's a question for the courts. We work with them regularly. They're part of the Coronavirus Task Force but they'll make that decision.
Governor Phil Murphy: Don't have any guidance for you on that one. You know, I'm going to practice without a license. Christine and if Lamont Repollet is watching, Sheila, forgive me for this. One of the benefits of daycare and summer camp and sports, in addition to the specific we need it, both literally parents that are working need daycare beyond just our essential workers. We want to give kids the opportunity to make those memories and mental health and all of that. We're going to learn a fair amount fairly quickly about what's working and what's not working as it relates to our wargaming back to school. And so that's not the reason we're doing it, but it is a side benefit from that. Thank you. Brent, take us home.
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: So can you at least confirm that Chris Neuwirth was fired? How confident are you that you won't have to go back to the original pool of school aid and cut further now? Do today's announcements include summer swim camps, and where are we on high school and college sports? I'm assuming that's not included.
Municipalities can extend property tax payments to June 1, will that be extended again? Some renters who haven't been able to pay rent have seen legal fees and late fees tacked on. They can't already afford their rent, so what can they do with these additional hundreds of dollars in fees?
Last one for the Colonel, would how the officers restrained George Floyd in Minnesota be allowed under police protocol in New Jersey?
Governor Phil Murphy: We don't comment on personnel matters and we still don't. School aid, everything's on the table, Brent. Everything is on the table, sadly. If we don't get the borrowing and we don't get the federal cash, there's nothing that's sacred. Summer swim camp, did you ask about?
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: Yeah, summer swim camps and someone had asked if this involves high school and college sports. I assume that's not the case.
Governor Phil Murphy: Yeah, well, it in fact does really, but we haven't made the call on pools. Pools are turning out to be more challenging than we thought they were. And again, I want to roll the tape back. When it first came up in terms of pools, it was a suggestion from a couple of Shore mayors saying if you want to get more geography to spread people over, if you open pools up that were in a club or something near the beach, you'd have a better, broader footprint and you'd have a better social distancing reality.
Having said that, you then look at a community pool and we've heard from a lot of communities that don't want us to open them, with the intensity of interaction. But Matt, on either summer swim camps or high school and college?
Chief Counsel Matt Platkin: On high school and college it would apply. The order will say 25 people or fewer, non-contact outdoor activities, but it's not limited to youth. As you know, we've made clear last week that professional sports teams can practice and this would apply to all sports, non-contact sports. And then I'll defer to the guidance that the department's putting together on summer camps which will be forthcoming, as to exactly what types of activities. I don't want to speak for them.
Governor Phil Murphy: Good answer. When do we promise that guidance? I know I said it earlier, it's in the next week or two, I guess.
Chief Counsel Matt Platkin: The date is July 6, so in the coming weeks they'll have to put out guidance.
Governor Phil Murphy: So bear with us on that. You asked also about property tax payments that are due?
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: June 1 is when the extension was until, and that's Tuesday, so.
Governor Phil Murphy: Yep. Any news on that? No news yet on that. And you asked about rental back -- I think --
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: Yeah, people say legal and late fees have been tacked on. Is there anything they can --
Governor Phil Murphy: I think we addressed this, didn't we? Let me come back to you, because I don't want to get it wrong. But the one thing we want to prevent is somebody getting crushed by the late fees. You know, it's a little bit of the inverse of the mortgage holiday. It's not just a holiday; we don't want the three months to be due on day 91. The whole spirit of this was to put it at the back of a mortgage and it's the same spirit that would define rental.
Pat, you were asked the question on use of force.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: Similar to, I'm unable to comment on an investigation in New Jersey in my own agency, and I would take that same position with regard to an investigation in another city, in another state.
Governor Phil Murphy: Okay, this is more complicated than normal because I've got a real mask today, so I'm going to spare -- everyone please bear with me here while I make a fool of myself. Thank you, everybody. We started this last weekend, and we will continue this week as well, which is we will not be with you tomorrow. We'll be with you electronically unless, where's Dan? Unless Dan or Mahen come to us and tell us there was a need to be on the phone or in person. Electronically both tomorrow and Saturday, Martel, I see you back there. Thank you again for being here, number one.
Number two, Monday is going to be a little bit later, we're got a White House VTC, I think, at 11:00 a.m., so I think Monday is going to be in the 2:30 range, is that correct? 2:30 on Monday.
Third point I want to make is we're going to begin to, we've already clearly begun today with indoor faith and signaling a lot of stuff, we're going to continue to do that on Monday as it relates to what phase two will look like and should look like, so bear with us on that. That'll be a fairly deep dive.
I want to thank Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver for not just being here today and the leadership on this Rent Relief Program, but extraordinary leadership every day. Thank you. Likewise, Judy, to you, Christine, great to have you back. And likewise, Ed, as always, apologies. Please don't hold it against me that we bumped you. Pat, same to you and yours, Jared, Matt, Dan and the whole team. I just want to wish everybody, obviously, a good safe weekend. Keep it up, folks. I don't think the weather is going to be great again, we'd all like 85, no humidity, sunny and I don't think we're going to get that. It's going to be better this weekend than last weekend, but please keep doing the basics.