N.J. coronavirus recovery: NJ Transit capacity limit to lift Wednesday night

NJ Transit

(Edwin J. Torres/Office of Gov. Phil Murphy)

Updated 4 p.m.

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New Jersey reported 231 new cases on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 175,522. The state also reported 22 new deaths, raising the mortality count to 13,613. The number of probable deaths remained at 1,947. The latest figures from the state hospital association showed 892 COVID-19 patients across the state; 166 patients were in intensive/critical care, as of Sunday night.

NJ Transit capacity to be lifted Wednesday evening

Gov. Phil Murphy signed Monday an executive order that lifts the 50% capacity limit on NJ Transit, along with private-carrier buses, trains, light rail, and AccessLink vehicles.

The limit will be lifted at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

As people are starting to return to work, Murphy said, officials are seeing vehicle capacities reach the current 50% limit.

“We want to ensure that people are able to get to their jobs, and that the system continues operating as efficiently as possible,” the governor said.

All other executive orders guiding mitigation of COVID-19 spread remain in effect, including the requirement that employees and riders wear face coverings. Murphy’s executive order also requires that face coverings be worn at all indoor stations, as well as at outdoor stations where social distancing is not possible.

The governor asked people to be courteous toward transit employees who ask them to mask up.

“They’re doing their jobs,” Murphy said. “Please be respectful to them and your fellow passengers.”

Public awareness campaign to launch next week

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli announced that a public awareness campaign will be launched next week, with young adults among the targeted audience.

She reiterated during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing that young adults in the Garden State are the fastest-growing group testing positive for the coronavirus because of parties being held among the 18-29 age group.

“I want to especially emphasize to our young people that they are not invincible or immune to COVID-19,” she said.

Persichilli offered a reminder about numbers shared last month that showed young adults went from being 12% of all New Jersey cases in April to 22% of total cases in June; that accounts for about 24,000 cases.

“More than 730 residents between the ages of 18 and 29 have been hospitalized because of complications from the virus,” she added. “Sadly, there have been 53 deaths among this age group.”

Persichilli said it was vital for young people to understand that “they are part of the solution to the slowing of the transmission of COVID-19.”

The campaign will also target people who are at high risk for infection and minority populations that have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Persichilli added that it will underscore the importance of getting tested and taking the phone call from a contact tracer.

Summer workouts begin as high school sports are pushed back one month

As summer workouts for high school athletes were allowed to begin Monday, the official start of fall sports was pushed back one month.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) made the announcement Friday.

Under the plan billed “Return To Play,” workouts will continue through Aug. 28, followed by a two-week hiatus during which only virtual meetings related to in-season play will be permitted.  Official practice for all fall sports will be allowed starting Sept. 14.

Competition will begin on Sept. 28 with girls’ tennis. All other sports will start on Oct. 1 except for football, which will commence the next day.

Limited postseason play will begin on Oct. 24 with girls’ tennis. All fall sports competition will end on Nov. 22.

The NJSIAA Sports Advisory Task Force advised member schools in a memo that this is the first in a series of models that will be in place for the upcoming school year.

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