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Malls, amusement parks to close in NJ, governor says

FILE - In this May 25, 2005, file photo, Lovely R. Suanino, a respiratory therapist at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, N.J., demonstrates setting up a ventilator in the intensive care unit of the hospital. U.S. hospitals bracing for a possible onslaught of coronavirus patients with pneumonia and other breathing difficulties could face a critical shortage of mechanical ventilators and health care workers to operate them. (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File)
March 17, 2020 - 1:19 PM

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey's indoor malls and amusement centres across the state must close at 8 p.m. Tuesday as part of the state's efforts to address the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Phil Murphy said.

Murphy spoke Tuesday during his now daily news conference. He also reported that a third person died from the virus, and the state's number of positive cases climbed 50% to 267.

The new closures are just the latest in the state's far-reaching mitigation measures aimed at blunting any spike in the outbreak.

On Tuesday, Murphy barred groups of more than 50 people from gathering. He also ordered the shutdown of some of the state's entertainment and recreational sector, including gyms, theatres and casinos, and the curtailing of dining across the state.

Many restaurants, bars and their patrons coped with mandated takeout and delivery-only service.

All schools in the state will be shut down indefinitely by Wednesday in accordance with Murphy's order, though many have already closed.

For most people, the virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

A closer look at coronavirus developments in New Jersey:

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NUMBERS AND CASES

The man who died was in his 90s and treated at Hackensack University Medical Center in Bergen County, an area that has been particularly hard hit.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said there it's likely that the disease is spreading throughout the community.

She said more than half of the cases are in males and that the median age is 52. Persichilli said 55% of the people who tested positive have been hospitalized.

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WHAT TO DO

State health officials have recommended calling your health care provider if you have symptoms, including fever and shortness of breath. Officials also point people to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which recommends people stay home except to get medical care.

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‘HANG IN THERE’

Business owners and their workers are racked with uncertainty over nearly everything, said Tom Bracken, the head of the state's Chamber of Commerce. Bracken said he's telling business owners who call to keep calm, be flexible and deal with facts, but still things are unsettled.

“Right now there is no plan,” he said.

Costas Kaiafas owns the Princess Maria Diner in Wall. He said that he had planned to shut down completely at 8 p.m. on Monday, but that 10 or 11 customers called to ask about takeout, so he has decided to give it a try.

He says that he's had to have some difficult talks with wait staff, but that he's keeping a cook, dishwasher and hostess on board while he tries out takeout, something new for him.

He said he will continue to support his staff, some of whom have worked for him for more than two decades.

“I told them, ‘Hang in there.’ I told them I'm here for them as long as I can. We're all in this together," he said.

But he wondered how long he could last. Two weeks? OK. But two months? He wasn't sure about that, he said.

Hetty Rosenstein, the area director of the Communications Workers of America union representing state workers, said

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POSITIVE TEST, FALSE NAME

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka said Tuesday that a woman who tested positive for COVID-19 after she went to East Orange General Hospital over the weekend gave a false name and a Newark address. The mayor said health officials went to the address and found no one at the site who knew her. The woman should come forward and report to East Orange General because she poses a health risk to herself and the community, Baraka said.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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