Governor Phil Murphy

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TRANSCRIPT: June 12th, 2020 Coronavirus Briefing Media


Governor Phil Murphy: Good afternoon I'm joined by the woman to my right, the woman who needs no introduction, the Commissioner the Department of Health Judy Persichilli. To her right another familiar face the Department of Health's Communicable Disease Service Medical Director, Dr. Ed Lifshitz, good to have you both. As always, the guy to my left who needs no introduction. Likewise, Superintendent of the State Police Pat Callahan. Colonel, great to have you. Jared Maples, Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness is also with us.

On Monday, three days from now, as we have been discussing and preparing for over the past couple of weeks, New Jersey will be entering phase two of our restart and recovery. Our restaurants will be able to reopen for outdoor dining and our nonessential retail stores will be able to, once again, welcome customers back inside. And I know many of these business owners are anxious to get back to serving their customers and being part of their communities. And we put the health and safety protocols in place to give you confidence that you can go back out for dinner or back to a favorite shop.

And as we discussed yesterday, we know that consumer confidence is by far the greatest concern for our business owners. We are all in this together as we move into this next phase of our restart and recovery. And with regard to restaurants, we have worked with the governing body of Asbury Park to try to amicably resolve the issue of their rescue. Solution regarding indoor dining. Unfortunately, they have not done so. We have one set of rules and they are based on one principle and that is ensuring public health.

The Attorney General will be bringing a lawsuit as we speak against Asbury Park to enforce our orders. Tomorrow, Colonel Callahan will be issuing an administrative order, clarifying that libraries are permitted to do curbside pickup starting Monday, June 15. While library buildings will remain close to patrons at this time, we hope to get there and I hope sooner than later. We are working closely with our libraries as our state gradually and steadily reopens. Then in 10 days from now on Monday, June 22, personal care services will resume and today I'll be signing an Executive Order to formally allow them to do so, with an enormous amount of input from Judy and her team. So here are the businesses that will be able to reopen again. This is on Monday, June 22. Beauty salons, barbershops, cosmetic, cosmetology shops, day spas, but within day spas not please saunas, steam rooms or shared bathing facilities. Medical spas which solely perform elective and cosmetic medical procedures are welcome to open as are electrology facilities, hair-braiding shops, massage parlors, nail salons, tanning salons, and tattoo parlors.

Simultaneous with this order, the Division of Consumer Affairs, under the extraordinary leadership of their team, will be putting out an administrative order containing comprehensive standards and protocols that these businesses must abide by. These include services by appointment only, prescreening and temperature checks of both clients, staff and staff-client pairs remaining at least six feet apart, unless separated by some form of physical barrier. Everyone inside a personal care business will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times, unless the client is receiving a service that requires them to remove it. And should that happen, staff providing services must not only wear a mask, but also utilize a face shield, goggles, or table shield to provide additional protection.

Additionally, there will be strict sanitation and disinfection requirements across a whole host of areas. Judy, I would just say none of this should be a surprise and it's consistent with what we think are best practices not just within our realm, but as we look across the country and around the world.

This weekend, the Department of Health, again under Judy's leadership, will also be putting out the guidance necessary for organized sports to also resume as we have already mentioned on Monday. June 22. As I've said before, those will start with outdoor no-contact drills and practices and we look forward to allowing additional activities. And today, the Department of Education is releasing the guidance that will allow school districts to conduct in-person summer educational programs, including extended school year and special education services, all beginning on July 6. This guidance will allow districts to provide robust programs in a safe environment while preparing students for the school year ahead of us. It will also address concerns we have heard from countless parents and educators who know how critical in-person services are for those students who need it the most.

And to be clear, it is left to districts to decide the best way to meet their students' educational needs in a safe environment, whether that be in-person, remote, or some form of hybrid we're able to make these announcements today and set these programs in motion because our health metrics tell us that we can. First, our transmission rate has dropped to among the lowest in the United States. Right now, the national loses reporting about other states witnessing spikes and COVID-19 cases and states, by the way, which rushed to reopen without taking time to put protocols in place, or even waiting for the wave to subside. The full hardiness of their actions is now being seen.

Take a look at this map of our country, going to brag for a minute here because you all deserve it. It's you who have gotten this done. This is prepared by an independent group of healthcare experts. You can see the list of them there at the bottom, and analysts who have been tracking COVID-19. Notice the states in green, there are only five of them, and one of them is New Jersey. This tells us that we're better prepared at this time to move forward than many, frankly most, of our peers. But we're not going to take this as a sign to be hasty and reckless. By the way, it's New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and I'm proud to say those are the three states, although we have a broader coalition, that have coordinated the most, as well as our friends in Illinois and Wisconsin.

As I've said many times, not only does public health create economic health, and not only does data determine dates, but we will move as quickly as we can, but as safely as we must. Here's how we got here. Because so many of you joined us in the effort to push our curves down, the numbers of patients being treated for COVID-19 overall and the number of those entering our hospitals has been steadily decreasing. The number of patients requiring intensive care has plummeted, as has the number of ventilators that we have currently in use. And think back to just six short weeks ago. We were afraid, Judy, you and I spoke to it every single day and Pat, that we might run out of either beds, ventilators or both.

The past two weeks have seen these trends sustained, and sustained statewide, I might add. And that's why we've remained confident over this time that we can safely move into stage two on Monday. We still have to be careful, though, and that's why we're not throwing the doors of our state all the way open on Monday, and why even in stage two, will continue to slowly expand our restart. You see our rankings dropping, but we're still way too near the top of the pack in both patients in hospitals and lost lives per day.

We still see ourselves on lists that we don't want to be on as compared to our sister states and we must still be vigilant, and we still must keep social distancing, wearing face coverings, washing our hands with soap and water, cleaning surfaces with vigilance, our top priorities. But in just three days, we are going to take a big Step on our road back. We're ready because we've pulled together to pull down the curves. Let's keep it up folks, because the more we do, the more we can reopen, and the sooner we can do it. So with that, let's quickly turn to the overnight numbers.

Yesterday we received an additional 495 positive test results, and the statewide cumulative total is now 166,164. Here are the new cases graphed in relation to the past several weeks. The daily positivity or spot positivity rate for test samples from this Monday June 8, Judy, roughly 2.5%. I think that may be among our lowest tics in a long time.

Moving to our long-term care facilities, 35,041 positive cases, as well as 5,768 lost brothers and sisters, blessed souls in our long-term care facilities. We are continuing to throw everything we can at getting that number as low as we can. In our hospitals last night, the total number of patients being treated for COVID-19 slipped below 1,500 to 1,480, and the number of residents in our field medical stations has decreased to six.

And this is the breakdown of total hospitalizations across region. The number of patients reported in either critical or intensive care is now down to 415, and ventilator use dropped yet again down to 300. Yesterday, 117 – this we have some confidence in, unlike yesterday -- 117 new patients entered our hospitals, but another 133 live residents left our hospitals. And here are yesterday's hospital admittance and discharge numbers charted across the regions.

Across the board, we continue to see progress, and our goal must be to keep this progress up as we take the next step in our restart on Monday and then beyond that. One of the surest ways you can help us keep moving forward is, by the way, getting tested for COVID-19, and I'll have more on that in just a few minutes.

Before I get there, however, we must report today the loss of another 48 blessed souls in our New Jersey family to COVID-19 related complications. We have now lost a total of 12,489 New Jerseyans, and let's recall a few more of these precious lives.

We'll start today, and this one is a tough one. They're all tough, but this one is particularly tough, with Obinna Eke from Irvington. He was a patient care technician at University Hospital in Newark, and Obinna was only 42 years old. Obinna was an immigrant from Nigeria, first coming to America when he was 22 years old and he had called New Jersey home since 2012. A certified nursing assistant, he was pursuing his degree in sociology and pre-nursing at Bloomfield College while continuing to work at University Hospital, and this spring was to be his final semester. He was awaiting his mother's arrival from California for his graduation when COVID-19 struck, and sadly, it took Obinna. He had gotten tested for COVID-19 just three days before his passing. Obinna leaves behind his mother Jerry, with whom I had the great honor of speaking yesterday, as well as a son Matthew. Jerry eulogized her son and I quote her, "As one of a kind, a true hero with a brave heart of gold that died doing what he loved, helping others." Our thoughts and prayers remain with her, bless his soul and all who knew and worked with Obinna.

Next, let's go south to Camden, the home of Teresa Sandoval. Teresa was born in Mexico and lost her parents when she was just six years old. She immigrated to the United States 23 years ago with the dream that brought so many to this country and continues to, by the way, to have a better life. As she grew older, Teresa was diagnosed with diabetes, a disease which would eventually take her vision, but not her spirit. And to the end, Teresa continued to cook and take care of herself. Her niece Gabriella, with whom I had the honor of speaking, made sure she got her medications every day. Sadly, though, we lost Teresa to COVID-19. We must remember her spirit, the spirit that runs deep across all of our communities, and which separates our state from so many others. May God bless you, Teresa, and watch over you.

And finally today, we remember Maria Victoria DeJesus-Marquez of Bordentown. She was just nine days shy of her 91st birthday when she passed from COVID-19. Maria and her late husband Miguel came to the mainland United States from Puerto Rico in the 1950s and she found work as a seamstress. But after two decades of struggle against language barriers and discrimination, the family would return to Puerto Rico and she became a public school cafeteria worker.

But Maria would arrive in Bordentown in 2017 as a refugee following the devastation of her native Puerto Rico by Hurricane -- you can't make this up -- Maria, a storm which ultimately claimed her son. This Maria was strong, a breast cancer survivor and an avid salsa dancer. She loved to sing, and to serenade her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Maria leaves behind her daughter, Lillian, with whom I had the great honor of speaking yesterday, a retired social worker for the former Division of Youth and Family Services, and her son-in-law Jose, an employee with the Department of Health.

She's also survived by her six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Let's never forget Maria, and let's never forget our brothers and sisters and fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. May God bless her and her family and our entire American family.

Three more names, three more lives that enriched our state no matter how long they called it home. They're as much members of our family as any of those we have lost to this pandemic, and this weekend, we anticipate passing a solemn milestone in this pandemic, as the death toll from COVID-19 will, in all likelihood, surpass the number of New Jerseyans killed while in service to our nation in World War II. Should we pass this sad milestone we will have more on that on Monday.

Before I switch gears, a guy who passed and I want to just acknowledge him, whether or not related to COVID-19, we lost Jonathan Elliot recently, 38 years old, in New Jersey playwright and a disability rights advocate. He was a star to so many, a role model to so many. I spoke with his mom yesterday herself a medical doctor. God bless you, Jonathan. And I always say my dad used to say, the Alpha and the Omega. Here's another piece of good Alpha news to our ATU family, Ray Greaves just had a granddaughter born, Amelia in Livingston at St. Barnabas, a stout eight pounds, six ounces. So as we mourn all of the loss of life, we can never forget the folks who are coming into their own lives every single day, and will change this great state and this great country for the better for decades, if not centuries to come.

Switching gears I'm proud to announce that on Monday, interfaith Urgent Care and St. Matthew AME church in Orange will open our first church-based COVID-19 testing site at St. Matthew AME. Happy Sabbath early to you folks. I am proud of this partnership. Testing will be available on site from 10 AM to 5 PM. Tests are by appointment only, so please check out St. Matthew AME for more information on setting one up. And I must give a huge shout out to two friends. Both our friend Rabbi Abe Freedman, one of your chaplains, Colonel, of Interfaith Urgent Care and the Reverend Dr. Melvin Wilson and the First Lady from St. Matthew AME, two other dear friends, as well as many more community partners, for working with us to get this site up and running. The AME church has a long legacy of community progress and in removing barriers to access based on historic and systemic racism, and this continues that tradition.

Bringing testing directly into our communities and especially with our partners in the faith community is a huge step forward. COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact, as you hear from us literally every day, Judy, right, on our communities of color and testing is one way we can better safeguard them for the future.

The idea for this testing site came from the daily call our administration holds with our faith leaders, and Pat, I think you're on there literally every day, hosted by the one and only Reverend Derek Green and our colleague Deb Cornavoca, and I'm hopeful that we'll get many more open in houses of worship and community centers across the state.

In fact, one of the most important tools we have at our disposal right now is testing. The more tests we record, the better the data we receive. And the better the data that we receive, the more surely we can take our steps into stage two of our restart and recovery, and then towards stage three. There are now more than, as Judy mentioned yesterday, well over 200 locations around New Jersey to get tested, including it numerous Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies, Walmart stores and state, county and locally organized sites. And you can locate one near you by going to the tried and true website, and using the new test site finder. Then, when you find a place that's convenient, go out and get tested. There is absolutely no reason not to.

Finally today, I would like to close by acknowledging that today is Women's Veterans Day. Across our state, there are more than 25,500 women who have proudly worn our nation's military uniforms. Two of them, by the way, and I reached out to her earlier today, my friend Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez and her daughter. Nilsa is the only, by the way, woman veteran in our entire state Legislature.

However, we recognize that the barriers that still exists for many of our military veterans know no gender, so we recommit to ensuring that our veterans have fuller access to educational and job training programs, to housing and to healthcare services, especially mental health, among so much else. So to every woman veteran in New Jersey, we thank you for your service to our nation, and we honor your commitment to our nation's founding ideals.

With that, please help me welcome the woman who needs no introduction, the Commissioner of the Department of Health, Judy Persichilli.

Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli: Thank you, Governor and good afternoon. Well, contact tracer training begins next week, led by the Rutgers School of Public Health. I've been getting lots of questions about contact tracing, the process and the individuals who will be trained. The training, which is about 15 hours in total, covers a range of topics to best inform individuals who will perform this important job. Already more than 500 individuals, Rutgers students, alumni and others have submitted applications for this work. At the outset, trainees will receive an overview of the public health system in New Jersey, and its structure. This will provide insight on the importance of their roles in the contact tracing corps. They will be educated on confidentiality, and sign a confidentiality agreement during this initial training.

The second phase of the course, trainees will learn about COVID-19 disease and its symptoms. They will also learn the process of case investigation and contact tracing. Next, they'll receive an overview of the social determinants of health, how where we live, work and play affects our health. Trainees will also learn about the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 is having on racial and ethnic groups. Additionally, they will become versed on populations most at risk for severe illness and death. After receiving foundational education, trainees will be educated on cultural competence. For example, how culture influences decision making, and how to practice cultural humility.

When conducting contact tracing, they will learn the tools of effective communication, such as building trust, expressing empathy, using open-ended questions, and active listening. Students will also be trained on considerations for interviewing different age groups, individuals with mental health challenges, as well as undocumented residents. Additionally, they will learn how to connect individuals with social supports in their communities. Social support coordinators will receive special training on case management and referrals, so we can ensure that impact those impacted have access to safe housing, food and other essential needs throughout each training module.

Confidentiality will be emphasized. Contact tracers will only call if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or because you may have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive. If you've tested positive, contact tracers will provide information on how you can protect yourself and those around you from getting sick, such as isolation. Some of the questions they will ask include, what symptoms have you experienced? Did you have contact with someone ill with COVID-19? When did you start having symptoms? Where did you travel in the last 48 hours or 48 hours before you became symptomatic? Who did you have close contact with during that time? What types of health conditions do you have? They will never ask for your social security number, financial information or immigration status.

I want to ask the public to please answer that call. Your participation in that process is essential key to containing the virus in our state. We need your help to identify close contacts, so they can take action to protect the health of their loved ones and slow the spread of COVID-19. And if you need to isolate, we understand the disruption that may cause to you and your family. We will provide social service support to help alleviate your concerns.

Moving on to my daily report, as the Governor shared, our hospitals reported a low of 1,480 hospitalizations of COVID-19 with 450 individuals in critical care and 72% of critical care patients are on ventilators. We are reporting another case, one new case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children for a total of 40 cases in our state. The children affected have either tested positive for COVID-19 infection or had antibodies that were positive, indicating exposure to the virus. Fortunately, there are no deaths reported at this time. The age of the children is from 1 to 18. Three children are currently hospitalized.

The Governor review the new cases and deaths reported in terms of deaths. The breakdown of race and ethnicity is similar to yesterday, and cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus remain as the leading causes of underlying conditions. The state's veteran homes numbers and psychiatric hospital numbers remain the same. On the daily percent positivity as of June 8, overall in New Jersey, it is 2.52%; in the North 2.03%, central 2.36 and south 4.15%. That concludes my daily statistical report. As we continue to work together to restart our state, please continue to take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19. Stay connected, stay safe, stay healthy, and get tested. Thank you.

Governor Phil Murphy: Judy, thank you. I just want to echo your contact tracing not just the description of the program, but also the encouragement for folks to feel it's a safe and secure process. We have to give you that confidence, folks. First of all, it is the truth, that is the case. But you need to feel unburdened and share the information. Again, limited information but important information. We're never going to -- you're never going to get asked about, as Judy said, immigration status, social security number, bank accounts, none of that. And if someone does ask you that, hang the phone up. If any of that comes up, literally hang the phone up.

The questions you're asked though will be extremely important to you personally so selfishly, to your family, friends and community, and more broadly for our ability to surround this virus if it flares up again and drive it back into the ground. So thank you for everything and especially for that, and just want to echo that. Pat, other than all heck breaking loose from your mother's Zoom birthday party last night, anything on the compliance front?

State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: Thanks, Gov. Good afternoon, everybody. Zero EO violations overnight. There's about a dozen demonstrations going on throughout the state today, we're probably looking at, at least the ones that we're aware of over the weekend, 30 or 40. We continue to monitor those through our ROIC and constant -- it's a dynamic situation constantly changing and the only one thing I'll echo Governor is on that faith-based call this morning. The fact that St. Matthews AME Church in Orange is opening up, the excitement and the gratitude In the leadership of Reverend Dr. Wilson, just phenomenal, and I just thank you on behalf of that entire prayer call.

Governor Phil Murphy: That call has been -- thank you, Pat. That call has been extraordinarily important for the soul of the state, for the mental health of so many in the state. And Dr. Wilson and his wife, the First Lady, have been consistently in there and reaching out, what can we do to help? And as I said in my remarks, the AME church, I was down at Mother Bethel in Philadelphia a couple years ago, has an extraordinary history and legacy of breaking through barriers to standing up to systemic racism, doing the right thing. Thank you.

Before we take questions, we'll start with Charlie. Ed, I'm going to practice without a license and I'm not going to comment so you please don't waste your questions on any legal proceedings we have. These are general observations. There's just no question this virus is multiples more lethal inside than outside, the evidence is overwhelming. And then when you add to that lack of ventilation, sedentary, close proximity, there's a reason. There's a method to what we're doing here, folks, in many respects, not just relying on the data and the notion that public health creates economic health. But we're taking steps, first of all in small batches, so that we've got some amount of control variables that Judy and Ed and team can look at and figure out.

If we took 10 steps on Monday and we had a flare up, it would be very hard to figure out which one of those steps had led to that flare up. When we take steps that are sort of in tandem, in small numbers at a time, give you folks a fair amount of runway to get ready for, both as a customer or as a proprietor, it gives us a much better public ability to manage this. On the inside, on the indoors, there's sort of two – and we'll get there, by the way. That's not a question of whether we'll get there, we will get there. But we have to get there at the right time and responsibly.

And there's sort of two dimensions to this, as I see it as a non expert. Number one, the rate of transmission has to continue to be driven toward the ground. And number two, the protocols that must be in place. But I would say this, which is why I gave Ed a shout out. If you go back to three months ago, and you had an RT or rate of transmission that was over five, social distancing, no amount of distance, face covering, sanitation, washing your hands, no amount of that would have been able to overcome that intensity of the potential spread.

But we keep, folks, thanks to you all, we keep that rate of transmission down so that anyone who is infected, comes in contact with others, that less than one other person would get infected and that continues to go to the ground, and then you add to that? And by the way, spot positivity stays low, new hospitalizations stay low, you add to that social distancing, masks, protocols, etc., that allows us ultimately in tandem them to get to the things that we're not quite there on like indoor dining. So this is not for, we didn't wake up one day and put our finger in the air and sort of make a gut decision as to what's the order of events? This is premeditated. This is systematic. There is a method to this and there's a public health underlying reason to all of this.

And I will just speak on behalf of all of us, we will do whatever it takes to save any life we can. It's public health that drives this, first and foremost period, full stop. With that Charlie, welcome.

Q&A Session

Reporter: Good afternoon, Governor. On April 7 in this room, I asked you and the Education Commissioner for a copy of a document that was submitted to the DOE by the New Brunswick Board of Ed, your Commissioner said quote, "We'll make sure we get back to you with that." To date, I still have not received the document. I was directed to file an OPRA with the DOE. They responded by repeatedly delaying the production that record. What do you have to say about your changes to the OPRA law and your administration's commitment to transparency? There's been a lot of pushback on this. I know May 20 the Star-Ledger ran an editorial titled This Week in Shady Governance, Murphy and OPRA, and then Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press called that law one of the worst affronts to transparency in the nation. What's your response to those criticisms of your administration? And what do you have to say about that commitment to transparency?

Governor Phil Murphy: Anything else or is that it?

Reporter: That's all for today.

Governor Phil Murphy: Nothing new to add on OPRA or transparency, but thank you. Sir, do you have anything? Yes, please, right here.

Reporter: Any update on whether or not casinos are going to open on July 4th? What parameters do they need to meet in order for that target date to be met?

Governor Phil Murphy: Yeah, I don't want to make news today, but we are working our tails off to try to get there on casinos. And I would say it is a big team effort, and I want to give both the operators as well as the labor representatives, a huge amount of credit. In addition, obviously, to Department of Health and other players in that. This is a huge element of our economy. It's a particularly huge element of our shore economy in the warm weather season. It's 30,000 plus people who are out of work. We're doing everything we can. I would hope by a week or so from now, we'll be able to give some guidance on that. But I don't have a specific answer for you today, other than we are working our tails off collectively to get there. Please.

Reporter: One other question. Are there plans to dispatch the State Police to Asbury Park next week if they continue to go through with the indoor dining?

Governor Phil Murphy: Yeah, as I say, no comment on that, as it's a subject of a legal proceeding. But thank you. Please. Did you notice we changed, we made the move on curbside pickup of library books?

Reporter: I did, Governor, thank you very much.

Governor Phil Murphy: Just to prove that occasionally something actually -- it's worth it?

Reporter: Governor, what allowances have you made for film and television production to operate?

Governor Phil Murphy: Say the beginning of that again?

Reporter: What allowances have you made for film and television productions to operate? And are they guided by the same restrictions as indoor and outdoor gatherings? When and how can that industry begin to resume larger scale productions?

Do you think there's a risk if there's a resurgence of COVID-19 in the wake of the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests that Trump and others get to shift blame for the outbreak to you and other big city blue state Democrats? Thank you.

Governor Phil Murphy: Thank you. First of all, on the last point, just is there a risk? I don't mean politically, but is there a risk? I think Judy and Ed would agree that when you've got people gathering with the intensity they're gathering, there is an increased risk, which is why we've said to folks, please wear a face cover, try to keep social distance, wash, soap and water if not disinfectant, and by the way, get tested. So there is a public health risk.

But having said that, we're going to have to be able to walk and chew gum. There's also racism in year 401 in our country, and folks need to be able to get out there rightfully and protest that. I'm not worried about the political peace at all. And part of the reason I'm not worried, A, it's the right thing to do to stand up. Secondly, there's an overwhelming, across the spectrum, support at long last. I do think this time is different, to do everything we can in not just our words and protests but actions against being anti-racism, not just against it, but acting on it, and that includes in blue and red states. So if you look, I'm just picking Georgia as an example. You've had an enormous amount of protests, rightfully there, overwhelmingly peaceful, happily. So I'm not worried about that.

Film and Television is subject to the same restrictions on the inside and outside. Matt Platkin is with us, he'll correct me if I'm wrong, and I would hope sooner than later. It's a good question because it's an industry that we have put a lot of faith in, and working with the legislature quite well to put incentives in place directed at that industry and we have big aspirations for it. I mentioned offshore wind the other day as an industry like that. This stuff is not mothballed. We may be in an unusual, frankly, never before seen moment in our country, but it's not permanent. We're going to get back to this. I hope sooner than later, but the specific answer is they are subject to the same indoor and outdoor restrictions. Thank you. Cory, welcome.

Reporter: Thank you. I'm with CBS New York. My question for you is about the educational programs for children who have disabilities. We have spoken to a number of parents who feel that the distance learning is not beneficial for their children. And as a result, they've been regressing. Now that you are allowing the district to allow it either in person or distance learning, will you require and enforce districts to do it for children who have disabilities? And if not, what is your suggestion for those parents?

Governor Phil Murphy: Is that it?

Reporter: Yes.

Governor Phil Murphy: Good to have you. This is something that we have heard, I've personally heard an enormous amount about. Folks have come to me personally. There's the general challenges with distance and remote learning and then there's specifically I've heard some crushing stories about children with disabilities. I don't want to speak for any particular district, and I also don't want to speak for the Department of Education. So beyond that, in the sense that beyond the fact that we get it, we have to do this differently, I want to have someone follow up with you and give you a very specific answer, either from the DOE's perspective or from how we're guiding particular districts.

But most importantly, I want to say we hear parents, and we've got to change this in a way that's responsible. Thank you, Brent. Good afternoon.

Reporter: Good afternoon. Have we seen any spikes at all since beaches have reopened or protests for social justice have increased? Are we expecting to see any spikes that other states have seen recently as they reopen? What do you make of that in general? What else do we know about the Cape May house parties that have now infected more than a dozen people? If you had a say in whether the corrections officer who mocked George Floyd's death should be fired, what would you say? Do we know of any protests scheduled near President Trump's Golf Club this weekend?

Governor Phil Murphy: Do you know that last one, are you aware of any?

State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: I don't know of any scheduled.

Governor Phil Murphy: I don't know of any either, but that's not to say there wouldn't be. I think I've said what I'm going to say on the corrections officer. It's reprehensible, but there is a process, he's been suspended and there's a process that's underway. I am not aware of any. Judy, Ed, any comments on that? I mean, I think this also tells us a lot about outdoors versus indoors personally, but.

DOH Communicable Disease Service Medical Director Dr. Ed Lifshitz: A few things. First off, I'll say now that we reported today 495 new cases, and that now makes two consecutive weeks, 14 days that we've been under 1,000, so certainly we're not seeing any large spikes that are going up as far as anything goes. We are out there listening to our local health departments as they go ahead and they investigate cases and certainly we expect that they would tell us if they hear about any individual spikes related to either of these things. As of now, we have not gotten that information, so I can't tell you that nobody has gotten sick and nothing has happened at all in either of these locations. But I can tell you that there hasn't been any large events or certainly we'd know about that.

Governor Phil Murphy: I also believe, I don't have the particulars on the Cape May house share, but I believe that was largely indoors, and I just want to maybe use that as a jumping off point. Cory, I want to make sure we're going – Mahen, you're going to follow up with Cory on this question. We will get back to you with a more specific comprehensive answer. My pleasure. Thanks for coming to Trenton.

I'm going to mask up as I say this. I just think there is -- we just have to accept there's a big difference between indoors and outdoors. And it's not just indoors only because non-essential retail is open for business on Monday, which we're thrilled about, but that's going to be with protocols and people moving through. You don't spend your day or hours in a retail shop as you would in a restaurant or a bar and I think we have to acknowledge that. So folks, I want to thank Judy and Ed, Pat, Jared, Matt, Mahen, the whole team. Want to thank -- we're going to stick with the same protocols that we've had over the past couple of weekends. We'll be with you electronically, both tomorrow and Sunday, unless there's a reason to be with you otherwise. Monday will be regular time at one o'clock. There is a White House VTC, but I believe it's after our gathering on Monday.

Good weather, frankly, it might be the nicest day of the year. You've been extraordinary so far, folks, please keep it up. So whether you're on a beach or you're protesting or you're worshiping this weekend beginning today, or you're in an outdoor restaurant as I will be Monday night or in a non-essential retail shop or daycare, wherever it might be, just keep doing what you've been doing. Extraordinary compliance, unlike any American state. You've done it peacefully, particularly over the past three weeks of this extraordinary chapter in our nation's history against the stain of racism, please keep all of the above up. There's no state like New Jersey. That has been the case, is the case, and let's together make sure it is always the case. Take care and have a great, safe weekend.