New Jersey governor: 'Several weeks away' from phase one reopening

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said Sunday his state is still weeks away from entering the first phase of gradually reopening its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Murphy said the state has seen some good signs, including a leveling off of new positive COVID-19 cases, but is not nearing a point where public life can restart. 

“We're not out of the woods yet. I think we're several weeks away,” Murphy said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” 

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“The mandate to stay at home and stay away from each other is still very much in effect until we can break the back of this curve,” he added. 

New Jersey, the second-hardest-hit state by the pandemic, has seen the number of positive cases flatten, but fatalities “continue to be significant each and every day,” Murphy said. 

He also said the number of hospitalizations has declined, as have the numbers of ICU beds and ventilators being used, which are “good signs.” 

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Asked whether he expects to issue a statewide order or reopen the economy on a regional basis, Murphy suggested he will likely make a decision for the state as a whole.  

“I suspect ... while we haven't made a decision, we’re going to move as one state, recognizing you've got density issues in the north that you just don't have in the south,” he said. 

He noted that while the metro counties in the northeast part of the state “have been crushed,” every county in the state has had positive cases and fatalities. 

New Jersey has reported 105,523 total COVID-19 cases and 5,863 deaths as of Saturday.