Today, Governor Phil Murphy announced an additional 1,637 positive COVID-19 cases, increasing the statewide total to 1.09 million. An additional 8 deaths were announced, increasing the statewide total to 24,133. There are 5,573,403 fully vaccinated NJ residents, with over 70% of the population receiving vaccinations. Governor Murphy mentioned that booster shots are expected to be administered in NJ in three weeks, pending CDC guidance. It will be recommended for individuals to receive a booster shot 6-8 months after their initial doses. On September 20th, 2.4 million people in NJ could be eligible for a booster shot. Governor Murphy reassured that there is ample supply and a solid delivery mechanism in place to meet the demand for booster shots. The Governor emphasized that most COVID-19 cases in our state are among unvaccinated individuals and encouraged anyone seeking to schedule a vaccine appointment to go to covid19.nj.gov/finder.
Governor Murphy announced during today’s briefing that NJ will not extend the pandemic unemployment benefits beyond the September 4th expiration date. President Joe Biden had suggested for the states to use the their COVID relief funds to prolong the $300 weekly benefit, but Governor Murphy indicated that the move could cost NJ upwards of $1 billion. The Governor explained that he believes the proper way for federal unemployment benefits to be distributed is through federal action because of the high costs. $337 billion has been administered to NJ residents since the beginning of the pandemic, with $25 billion of the funding coming from the federal government. The Governor further explained that those re-entering the workforce are guaranteed at least $12 an hour wages, guaranteed sick leave, childcare and rental assistance, health care affordability programs and other social safety net programs.
The Governor reiterated that all individuals inside a school must wear a mask regardless of vaccination status this upcoming school year. The Office of Emergency Management has a stockpile of 6 million KN95 and surgical masks, along with 500,000 child-sized masks available for school districts ahead of the school year. The masks will be available at no charge.
All flags will remain at half staff in honor of the U.S. service members and innocent civilians killed in last week’s terrorist attack outside the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. On Friday, Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order announcing this measure. Later this week flags will remain at half staff in honor of former Assemblyman Nick Felice who passed away last week. He served in the Legislature for nearly 20 years.