Coronavirus update: Pa., N.J., Del. to buy supplies with other states; ‘Too soon to tell’ when N.J. beaches will open

Island Beach State Park

Island Beach State Park in April 2016. (Justin Auciello/WHYY)

Updated at 4:40 p.m.

Are you on the front lines of the coronavirus? Help us report on the pandemic.

To date, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has reported 51,615 COVID-19 cases (including confirmed and probable cases). There are 126,744 cases in New Jersey and 5,208 cases in Delaware. Philadelphia has 15,854 cases.

Pennsylvania’s death toll stands at 2,748, New Jersey’s is at 7,871, and Delaware’s is at 177. Philadelphia’s death toll is 727.

Note: Pa. no longer includes probable COVID-19 deaths in its official count, only deaths that have been confirmed through testing.

Northeast states to work together to buy supplies, expand testing

Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are part of a consortium of seven Northeast states that will now work together to buy billions in critical supplies to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including personal protective equipment and ventilators.

Rather than competing with each other for these supplies, working together will increase each state’s “purchasing power,” said Delaware Gov. John Carney, during a briefing Sunday hosted by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf also took part.

“This particular initiative … is so incredibly important for a small state like ours,” Carney said.

“If we’re going head-to-head with New York, we’re not going to get it,” the governor added. “If we’re along shoulder-to-shoulder with you and with Gov. Murphy and Gov. Wolf, we have a good chance of getting a better price and getting the product that we need.”

The governors said working together will make them more competitive in the international marketplace, and that they also plan to tap local manufacturers in those states.

Wolf said it will also allow the states involved to expand their testing capacity, which is critical to another initiative the consortium is working on: evaluating how and when to lift business restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

“We really need to work together to build the capacity to test or we’re not going to be able to give our citizens the confidence they need to go back to work,” he said. “They’re not going to have the confidence we need them to have to go back to school or go back to the store or go back to worship.”

New website for Philly food and meal sites

Philadelphia has launched a new “food finder” website where residents can search for sites offering food and meals. The website is available in six languages and features an interactive map of food pantries, meal sites for students and seniors, as well as places offering outdoor meals. To check it out, visit phila.gov/food.

‘Too early to tell’ if N.J. beaches will open for Memorial Day

Gov. Phil Murphy says it’s “too early to tell” whether Jersey Shore beaches will be open for Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer.

Murphy told “Fox News Sunday” that early reports on the reopening of state and county parks this weekend indicated “compliance was very high in social distancing.”  Although the State Park Service said eight parks were “overrun” on Saturday and park officials had to urge some visitors to go elsewhere.

Island Beach State Park in Ocean County drew hundreds of people to the sand on Saturday, according to NBC10.

“As we push these curves down and folks continue to comply and keep social distancing, that’s the best weapon we’ve got to get the best outcome by the time we do get to Memorial Day,” the governor said.

Ocean City has said it hopes to partially reopen businesses in time for the holiday weekend. Leaders in Atlantic and Cape May counties said they are working on a regional proposal for the Jersey Shore.

New Jersey continues to have the second highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. behind New York. While Murphy noted that hospitalizations and ventilator use are down in the state, there is still a long way to go before New Jersey is ready to reopen, and it will continue to coordinate with neighboring Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York. Murphy has outlined his approach to reopening, but has not yet set a firm date.

“As much as I want to open things back up tomorrow, we’re not there yet and we’ve got to make these calls, particularly given our density, based on facts.”

Final day of virtual Philly music festival

Sunday is the final day of Love From Philly, the free online music festival featuring local musicians. The virtual event is raising money for 30 Amp Circuit, which distributes grants to individual musicians unable to earn a living during the pandemic shutdown.

Today’s theme is “Sounds of Philadelphia,” featuring members from bands like Dr. Dog, The Hooters, Low Cut Connie, Man Man and Hoots and Hellmouth.

Love From Philly got underway here at 3 p.m.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal