Governor Phil Murphy: Good afternoon. I'm honored to be joined by the woman to my right who needs no introduction, the Commissioner of the Department of Health, Judy Persichilli. To her right, the Department of Health's Communicable Disease Service, Medical Director Dr. Ed Lifshitz, great to have you both, as always. To my far left, another guy who needs no introduction, the Superintendent of the State Police, Colonel Pat Callahan; and to my immediate left we welcome back another great leader, the Chief Executive Officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Tim Sullivan. Also joined by the Director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Jared Maples, and First Lady Tammy Murphy's in the house. Great to have you with us.
A couple of items if you'll bear with me. Today is the last day to register to vote for our July 7 primary election, so if you still need to register to vote, your registration form must be postmarked by today. Go to elections.nj.gov, as you can see on the screen, to find the voter registration form for your county, then fill it out, print it out and drop it in the mail today. You don't even need a stamp.
Now, I want to thank the overwhelming majority of New Jerseyans who made day one of stage two of our restart and recovery a successful one. From business owners to customers, there was overwhelming compliance as Pat will discuss shortly with social distancing and wearing face coverings. I know everyone was anxious to get back out into their communities, including yours truly, by the way, and the weather last night, as it is today, certainly cooperated to make it possible. But that we are able to do so responsibly is because of the work you have done to keep driving down the metrics that dictate our ability to travel down our road back. So tonight is another night, and I encourage you to keep it up. Please continue to follow the practices that we need to secure public health, and to keep moving forward toward economic health. Keeping your distances, wearing a face covering, washing your hands with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer, the basic stuff still matters the most. Let's keep at it and use our common sense for the common good, and as we do, we can look forward to moving deeper into our restart and recovery.
So I've been asked, what did you do? Any lessons learned? So Judy, I'm going to again practice without a license and Ed, see what you think. First of all, Tammy and I and three of our four kids had dinner in Long Branch Outside. We had a short stroll before dinner on the boardwalk there and checked out things. Beautiful evening, a little bit cold, but beautiful. Not a lot of face coverings on the boardwalk, I'd like to see a lot more of that, and I know you would, too. When we got to the restaurant, the restaurant was terrific considering these restaurants, other than for takeout service, a lot of their kitchen and wait staff have clearly been idled, so I've heard the story from many friends, they bounced back, up and down the state, very quickly. Hats off to our restaurant industry.
They were overwhelmingly good. The customers I think were overwhelmingly good, and I've heard this from anyone else who was out last night. Folks were very good about wearing their mask in, wearing their mask as they left, wearing their mask using the restrooms. Hardly anybody wore their masks at their table and so I get asked about that and how do I view that, and I view sort of two different tables differently.
Last night it was Tammy, me and our three kids. We've been holed up with them, plus our daughter Emma, who wasn't with us, for three-and-a-half months. We're in a bubble. But even we, when we eat indoors now, as our kids begin to see their friends, even we keep our distance, even in our own family inside. I have the honor later on of knocking a few back with Judy and Pat and Jared -- on me, by the way, my treat -- but we'll be at a table, and we don't normally get closer than this. So if we are closer than this, we're going to probably have a mask on. So I think that not only does it matter that your table is separated from the other guy's table, It also matters who's at your table. And if they are folks in your bubble, you have more latitude, it seems to me, than folks who have not been in your bubble and you're trying to cross in with each other. So that was my science lesson for the day. I look forward to our beer, Judy.
Now, Tim Sullivan is here with us today for an announcement that while it is not directly related to COVID-19, is something which will be part of our long-term economic recovery and augment our state's long-term resiliency. We are pleased to announce the plans for the nation's first purpose-built marshaling and manufacturing port dedicated to the offshore wind industry. The New Jersey wind port in Lower Alloways Creek in Salem County. The New Jersey wind port is one way that will position our economy for growth as we emerge together from this pandemic. We are committed to this project being inclusive in every aspect, with a focus on a diverse union workforce in its construction and bringing women and minority-owned businesses to the project. This is an exciting partnership, driven by the Economic Development Authority, which is why Tim is here, alongside private sector partners including PSE&G, that will mean an investment of at least $300 million in our infrastructure, in our future, and in thousands of green energy jobs.
We have set one of the nation's most ambitious goals for generating offshore wind energy, a goal of 7,500 megawatts by the year 2035. That's just 15 years from now, by the way, on our way to a 100% clean energy economy by the year 2050. To meet this goal, we must be as ambitious in building out our energy infrastructure as we had been in creating this vision, and the New Jersey wind port is critical to this effort. We aim to begin construction in 2021, next year, with a 25-acre manufacturing site and a 30-acre marshaling and staging site coming online first. Eventually, the wind port will house multiple factories, creating thousands of jobs, where the parts for offshore wind turbines will be built, as well as the staging areas to move them directly from the port to the offshore wind farms that are going to rise not just off our coastline, but up and down the Atlantic seaboard.
We will take full advantage of our world-leading and central geographic location, one that is literally perfectly situated for offshore wind marshaling, to drive the growth of a new industry right here. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. As we restart from the pandemic, I do not want to see our state simply get back to where we were before COVID-19, in almost any respect. I want to see us move far beyond, to a place that we have never been before. And the emerging offshore wind industry is one that gives us this tremendous growth potential and offers this opportunity to position ourselves as a leader in an emerging global industry that will create jobs for years and years to come.
This is how we reemerge stronger, fairer and smarter. It's how we put the economic lessons we have learned to work. And I must also express my sincere appreciation to Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assemblyman and Chairman John Burzichelli, in particular, who had been strong partners in getting us to today. I will ask Tim in a few moments to give more detail and color on the wind port, but it comes down to this. It has been nearly a decade since New Jersey first set its sights on becoming a global leader in wind energy. We've already made huge strides in setting our goals and in bringing in our first partners to help meet those goals, and now we're taking the next step forward.
Before we get to the numbers, I also wish to address two other issues, if I may. First, I joined with the many, many, many, many New Jerseyans celebrating yesterday's landmark Supreme Court ruling protecting our LGBTQ-plus fellow New Jerseyans from being discriminated against in the workplace. That the question of whether an employer could fire an employee, especially one proficient in their jobs, simply because of their identity or orientation even had to go to our highest court was absurd in and of itself. But the fact that the opinion telling us the logical answer -- no, they cannot, by the way -- was one that largely united the court's two wings. That should give us hope for the future. And it's fitting that this ruling came right in the middle of Pride Month, and just shy of the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
Thankfully, what is now the law of the land has already been the law in New Jersey, and we will continue to stand by and up for our LGBTQ-plus family, friends, neighbors and colleagues in all that we do. This is because discrimination in our country is not just something in our history books. We still see it today in all of its heinous forms. And it is this fact that systemic discrimination and racism still exists, it is why so many have taken to the streets over the past number of weeks, and I might add Pat, overwhelmingly peacefully in New Jersey. And we now must add another innocent name to the list which we must remember and repeat, Rayshard Brooks. Just like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and so many others, Rayshard Brooks should be alive today. Period, full stop.
And in New Jersey, we will continue unabated in our efforts to reshape the culture of policing and the restoration of trust between law enforcement and the communities which they serve. Yesterday, we announced that the names of officers cited for serious disciplinary violations will be publicly released. This is an important step toward more transparency and accountability, and we will not stop in our work. We know the frustrations and anger being vented in streets across our state and around our nation had been pent up and ignored for generations, and it is our job to ensure that the pain of today is not the pain of tomorrow.
Now with that said, Judy, let's get to the over overnight numbers, if we can. Yesterday we received an additional 470 positive test results. The statewide total is 167,426. Here are the new cases graphed in relation to the past several weeks. The daily positivity or spot positivity, and Judy will give it to you by region, is 2.46%. These are from specimens collected on June 11. That was last Thursday. And our rate of transmission continues to trend among the very lowest in the country, it is currently at 0.69. Remember, not even three months ago, each new case was spawning, on average, five or more new cases, and now we are well below one. This is how social distancing and wearing face covers and washing your hands with soap and water, that's how it works. We've got to keep it below one and drive this damn virus into the ground.
Moving to our long-term care facilities, the trend of newly identified cases is continuing along its recent downward trend, still over 35,000 positive cases, and we are working hard to stem the loss of residents to COVID-19 related causes in our long-term care facilities. As you can see, we've crossed 6,000; 6,020 blessed souls lost in our long-term care facilities to COVID-19. Hospitals last night below 1,300, Judy, for the first time, certainly in months, to 1,291; number of residents in field medical is now only five. This is a breakdown of hospitalizations by region. The number of patients reported in either critical or intensive care fell by another 10% to 362. Ventilator use is now at 245. We're reporting 33 new hospitalizations yesterday and 53 live residents have left.
Here are the hospital admittance and discharge numbers charted across regions. The metrics being reported from our hospitals, total and new hospitalizations, ICU beds filled and ventilators in use all continue on their long-term paths downward. Here are how these trends have progressed across the past two weeks, and how they've progressed across each region of our state. Every green light is a step forward, and we're making plenty of those of late. This means that our healthcare system is regaining capacity to meet the challenges ahead. We know there will be more COVID-19 cases and more hospitalizations, and our hospitals are in better and stronger positions to care for these New Jerseyans.
And yet, as you can see here, we're not out of the woods. The good news is we have dropped rapidly in number of fellow states rather in number of new cases, which is good news. You can now see we're 32nd. I'd like that to be 50, sooner than later, but we still have too many of our residents in our hospitals, fourth-highest state in the nation per capita, and we again top the list with regard to the numbers of COVID-19 related deaths.
The only thing that will push these numbers down is slowing the spread of COVID-19. That is why social distancing must remain our top priority. I've said it before and it is worth repeating. You may think you look silly wearing something on your face on a fine late spring day, but you'll look even sillier in a hospital gown. And today, we are reporting with the heaviest of hearts the loss of another 51 New Jerseyans to COVID-19 related complications. The statewide total is now 12,727. As we do every day, let's recall the lives of several of those who we have lost.
We begin today in Lakewood in Ocean County, the longtime home of Barbara Clark, and I read about Barbara in the Asbury Park Press last week. What a woman. She was born in the Bronx, but her life in New Jersey began in Westwood in Bergen County, but she moved to Lakewood 43 years ago and never left. Professionally, Barbara was a hairstylist, as you can see, she has got a beautiful do there. But it was her life outside the beauty salon for which she will be most remembered. She and her husband Larry were among the greatest boosters the Lakewood Township School System's basketball and football teams could ever have. Barbra mentored students and would open their home to teens who had nowhere else to turn.
One of those was star football player Chappelle Russell, who moved into the Clark household as a high school sophomore when he was living in a hotel. There he found his grounding, staying through graduation and through his career at Temple University, and it was Barbara who cooked for the Temple coaches who showed up at her door to recruit Chapelle. Barbara was an incredibly strong woman. She recently beat colon cancer, but the treatment weakened her immune system, making her vulnerable to COVID-19.
She leaves behind her beloved Larry, and by the way, their kids were planning next month to be their 50th wedding anniversary, so she leaves behind her guy Larry, God bless you, Larry, her children Christine and LJ, and I had the great honor to speak with LJ yesterday. He in his own right is a big deal. He is the head coach of the Lakewood Piners football team. She also leaves behind, in addition to Christina and LJ, their spouses and seven grandchildren. Also leaves behind a brother and sister, Andrew and Jeanette, and several nieces and nephews. Barbara was a young, strong 72. LJ perhaps put it best and I quote him, "Lakewood lost a mom." It's hard to imagine Lakewood without Barbara Clark, may God bless her and God watch over her and all she did for her community.
Next up, we remember, they're seated in the front there, Rudolph or Rudy and Maryann Prosa. The couple most recently lived in Westwood, after many years in Cresskill. They spent 53 years together, and COVID-19 would take them both within weeks. Rudy was born in Nassau in the Bahamas, the oldest of six children, who found himself as his siblings' main support after they lost both parents when Rudy was a young man. He worked various jobs so the family could get by and he eventually earned his pilot's license, and was soon piloting friends across the islands.
It was on a chance meeting when he ran into a young woman from New York, who was on vacation in Nassau. Her name was Maryann. They shared a long-distance romance before eloping in Connecticut. The couple would move to Nassau, but returned to the Northeast, first in New York, and then Cresskill in New Jersey, and New Jersey was home from then on. The couple made up for having eloped when their retirement community threw them a party to renew their vows, a memory and a gesture that the family will never forget. Rudy would eventually earn a degree in accounting and spent a career on Wall Street. Maryann studied nursing and was a licensed practical nurse, Judy, until she retired seven years ago at the age of 70. Rudy was 86 when he left us and Maryann was 77 and Maryann, sadly, left a few weeks before they lost Rudy.
They leave behind their three children Leslie, who lives in Oradell, with whom I had the great honor of speaking yesterday, Tina who's in New York City, and Jeff is in Parsippany, and their spouses along with six beloved grandchildren Sarah, Zachary, Derek, Luca, Savannah, and Liliana. I spoke with Leslie, as I mentioned. At their retirement community, they were referred to as the Mayor and First Lady. And sadly, Rudy went blind in the last weeks of his life and he was unable to see his blessed Maryann as she went and left us before him. What a story, what a romance, what lives they lived. May God bless them both and their terrific family that they leave behind.
So as you all head out to dinner outside somewhere tonight, or as you walk through your downtown, or even as you head to the DMV, take a minute and remember Barbara, Rudy and Maryann then look at our flags, which remain at half-staff in solemn honor of every single one of the 12,727 New Jerseyans we have lost in this pandemic. And then remember why we must continue to keep up with our social distancing, and remember why personal responsibility, that notion of common sense for the common good is the only thing that is allowing us to undertake our restart and recovery.
It is a beautiful day in New Jersey, but for some families, those in mourning and those fearful for a loved one in the hospital, it is dark and foreboding. Let's take our responsibility to our families and to our neighbors and to our communities seriously, as you have been, by the way, and let's keep working to get ourselves through stage two and then on to stage three. With that, it is my pleasure and honor to turn the briefing over to a terrific leader, the Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Authority of the Great State of New Jersey, Tim Sullivan.
Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan: Thank you, Governor. It's an honor to be here and always great to be with you, Colonel and Commissioner. We're reminded from those beautiful remembrances that you just offered that this is first and foremost a public health crisis. And as we recover from the health crisis, we seek to pursue an economic recovery that brings us back to a better place than we were before. The wind port that we're here to talk about today, we're really excited to be announcing, I think is a central part of how we bounce back stronger and fairer and more resilient in the face of not just COVID-19, but in the face of climate change and so many other things that we're facing.
There's two big reasons to be excited about offshore wind. One of them is the energy and environmental benefits, which the Governor has spoken about at length. The other is for the economic impact, for the jobs. And to really access sort of the sweet spot of the economic impact of offshore wind, you need a big port asset. And across the region, we've seen that there is an under-supply of these big marshalling ports that are purpose built. This is in fact the first purpose-built offshore wind port in North America, and this is the key to unlocking potentially thousands of jobs in manufacturing and assembly and operations in New Jersey.
This is a $500 million annual economic impact project. We expect this to be a $300 million to $400 million investment in the construction and development here. It's part of a rapidly growing industry and really, a once-in-a-generation opportunity, as the Governor described. The states along the North Atlantic from the Carolinas up through Maine have committed to supporting more than 25 gigawatts of offshore wind construction over the next 15 years, $100 billion. New Jersey is 7.5 of those gigawatts are New Jersey's commitment under Governor Murphy's leadership, and I think on a per capita basis, number one by a comfortable margin. This is a huge opportunity not just to capture the manufacturing and job dimensions of New Jersey's investment, but of the entire region's investment and make New Jersey and South Jersey the capital of American offshore wind.
What we're talking about here is enough offshore wind to support 17 million homes being powered. This is the rendering of the site, again this is Lower Alloways Creek in Salem County. This is, as I mentioned, the first purpose-built offshore wind port in the United States. The size and scale of the infrastructure that is required to build these wind farms is staggering. We're talking about infrastructure that is as tall as the Eiffel Tower, in some cases. That means you can't just build them anywhere and assemble them anywhere, because they go out to sea upright. You need to find a site that is not only along water, but it's outside of major bridges and doesn't have electrical wiring and other infrastructure that hangs over it, and can get out to sea pretty quickly.
The site here in Salem County, which is right adjacent to the PSE&G nuclear facility in Lower Alloways Creek is something of a unicorn in that regard. It's 200-plus acres, not particularly close to anyone's house, right on the water, with all the attractive physical infrastructure you'd ever want, and more or less shovel ready and ready to go. This is a really exciting opportunity and we think the economic impact of this is going to be extraordinary. This is $300 million to $400 million of a green infrastructure investment right as we need it most, as we begin to bounce back and continue our bounce back from this terrible pandemic. We're talking about 1,500 permanent jobs in manufacturing, assembly operations. We're talking about hundreds of construction jobs that would start as early as the first quarter of 2021. And we estimate that this port will drive $0.5 billion of annual economic activity every single year.
This is a big deal and we expect to pursue it, again as the Governor mentioned, with the same principles and commitments that have been a centerpiece of the Murphy administration's not just economic development approach, but overall policy approach. This is a port that will be built, every single piece of it, with union labor. We intend to set a new standard for diversity inclusion when it comes to minority and women-owned businesses, particularly contractors and workers. This is green infrastructure that will support clean energy and renewable energy, and will also be built and designed with the best green infrastructure design components, and this will be an open port that enables competition that keeps energy costs lower. That's an incredibly important part of this agenda here is to not just support the projects that will be built through the BPU solicitations and President Fiordaliso and his great team, but also to capture business and capture business opportunities from solicitations and wind farms that are being built by nearby states, because this is a huge opportunity. We think this is the best-situated site in the Northeast and in North America to support the offshore wind industry, and so we're extremely excited about this. We're eager to obviously get going with the next phases of the development and advance this, now that we've announced it, and begin things like permitting and final design as we work to advance this, and again, get construction underway as early as the first quarter of next year.
If I can Governor, I just want to say a couple thank yous. Our team at the EDA led by the Office of Economic Transformation, Brian Sabine, has been captaining this from the get-go. When you first took office, we started talking a lot about how to pursue economic development differently and more broadly. One of the things we did was set up this Office of Economic Transformation. A lot of people said, what does that mean? It means projects like this that are game changers to support brand-new industries. I also want to thank Jim Cowen and Evan Weiss in the Governor's Office and in absentia, Kathleen Frangione who helped lead so much of this before her departing, and of course to you Governor, to you First Lady, and to George and Matt and everybody in the front office. This is a big, big win. This is a big deal, as they say.
Governor Phil Murphy: As Joe Biden would say, right?
Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan: I was going to let you have that one, yes.
Governor Phil Murphy: Yeah, a couple things before Judy, asking you to come on with your daily report. This is a huge deal. If we just generated energy through offshore wind and didn't have any of the supply chain, and didn't have anything other than the construction-related union jobs, it would still be a very bright future in New Jersey. But this is more; it's a lot more. This is both to allow, unlike any place in the East Coast, frankly, in the country, it's to allow not just all of that to happen, but to get as much of the supply chain as we can located in New Jersey. That's one big point that I know you've made and I want to underscore.
Secondly, this is in Salem County. This is a part of the state that needs economic development. We need economic development up and down the state. We desperately need jobs, good-paying union jobs in places like Salem County, and disproportionately in the southern part of the state. One of the first things we did when we came to office was extending the life under certain parameters of our nuclear plants, with the very cold-blooded assessment on the one hand, that that is the cleanest bridge we have to the energy future to which we aspire, wind being a huge element of that future. But also, the economic and jobs impact, especially in that part of Jersey is overwhelming, it's disproportionate. And this is sort of a symmetry to those first steps to keep the nukes up and running and open safely. Please God as always, to then be able to layer on this very important, tangible step forward in offshore wind in the same neighborhood, to me, is as good a step as we've taken not just in energy, but as we've taken in the economy since we've been here. So, Tim, to you and everybody you mentioned, hats off to you, and great work. You'll stick around in case we get some questions, right?
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. The Governor's announcement of the development of a new wind port is an investment in our environment, our economy, and our health. Growing clean energy options is essential to reducing the impacts of air pollution on our state, and helping to combat climate change, which threatens public health globally. Conditions in places where people live, learn, work and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. The environment is an important social determinant of health, because it has the ability to greatly influence a person's health and wellbeing. We know that clearer air means better health.
Air pollution is associated with many health problems, such as diminished lung function, increased hospitalizations, and emergency room visits for asthma, COPD, pneumonia, and increases in premature deaths. We also know that 16.8% of our deaths due to COVID-19 in our state are in individuals with underlying chronic lung conditions like asthma, emphysema, and chronic obstructive lung disease. More than 760,000 New Jersey adults and children suffer from asthma in our state. Their health is impacted daily by the quality of the air they breathe. These conditions, which are exacerbated by air pollution, puts residents at risk for premature death.
Moving to alternative energies will also help reduce health impacts on our minority and multicultural populations. Studies have shown that people living now near refineries are more likely to be exposed to life-endangering pollutants. Increases in global temperatures could cause associated increase in premature deaths related to worsened ozone and particular pollution in the air we breathe. According to the CDC with no change, we can expect thousands more premature deaths nationally per year by 2050, due to declining air quality. And studies have shown that taking global action on climate change could improve public health. Today, New Jersey is taking another step forward in being a clean energy leader, which is also an important investment in the health of our residents.
Moving on to my daily report, as the Governor shared, our hospitalizations reported 1,291 individuals with 362 individuals in critical care and 68% of those critical care patients on ventilators. Unfortunately, we are reporting two new cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children for a total of 42 cases in our state. The children affected have either tested positive for active COVID-19 infections or had antibody tests that were positive, indicating exposure to the virus. In New Jersey, thankfully, there have been no deaths. The ages of children affected range from 1 to 18. Four children are still currently hospitalized. The breakdown of race and ethnicity of these cases is White 19%, Black 33%, Hispanic 36%, Asian 8% and other 3%.
The Governor reviewed the new cases and deaths reported today. In terms of deaths, the breakdown of deaths by race and ethnicity is as follows: White 53.9%, Black 18.5%, Hispanic 20.3%, Asian 5.6% and other 1.7%. As reported previously, the underlying conditions are cardiovascular disease at 56%, diabetes mellitus at 45.3%, other chronic diseases 31.4%, neurological disability 17.8%, and as I just reported, chronic lung disease, asthma, emphysema, COPD 16.8%, renal 14.6%, other 14.4% and cancer 9.7%.
There's one new positive case and one new additional death at the state's veterans homes for a total of 386 residents that have tested positive and 146 deaths of our veterans. Our psychiatric hospital numbers remain the same. Our daily percent positivity as of last Thursday daily is 2.46%, Northern part of the state 1.7%, Central 2.21% and Southern 4.81%. That concludes my daily statistical report. Stay connected, stay safe, stay healthy and get tested. Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: Judy, really compelling. Thank you, by the way, for today and every day, but really compelling on the question of pollution and air quality. You know, we've said this over the past number of years, less specific to COVID-19 but it's related. Asthma rates, just to pick the wards in Newark and say, Elizabeth, that abut the port and all the truck traffic there is a great example of that. The faster we can get to a better reality in terms of how we generate our energy, how we regulate the moving vehicles, the healthier we will be, the better we will be.
And again, the racial disparities, whether it's in the children's inflammatory syndrome or in the fatalities that you announce every day, the gaps, the racial gaps and inequities scream out at us every day in every way. So thank you for always addressing that. Pat, I think we had a good run here on compliance, but would love to get your sense and any other news you've got, and thank you for everything.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: Thanks, Governor. Good afternoon. Yes, again, the protests continue peacefully. It's been that way since May 31. In New Jersey, I believe there were six that the ROIC was informed of today, seven for tomorrow, and certainly everyone's peaceful protests are greatly appreciated by all of us. Last night with regard to compliance, there was one EO violation issued and that was for a restaurant in Paterson, Governor, to your point in your opening remarks, which had hundreds of people both inside and out, and the Patterson police responded to that and cited the mayor -- I mean, excuse me, the manager. And just to your point with regard –
Governor Phil Murphy: Trust me, we'll now hear from the mayor, I promise.
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan: I would have heard from that already. With regard to the offshore wind, regularly New Jersey OEM has exercises with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and FEMA, because we have two of them in New Jersey and it's about as real as it can be in an exercise standpoint, and the relationship that has with New York City and Delaware, depending upon which way the wind is blowing, but I also look forward to wondering what an offshore wind exercise will look like. And New Jersey, I hope, is again one of the first in the nation to write that playbook too, so good to see you, Tim. Thanks, Gov.
Governor Phil Murphy: Well put and well said. That is a playbook we will write, I suspect, ahead of others. We've got a gift as it relates to offshore wind. Not only is it our location, but the shelf under the ocean off our shores comes into a very nice cupping, and sort of plateaus out there for many, many, many miles. At the other end of the spectrum, California, with a much larger coastline has a sort of direct 45 degree drop-off which makes the technology a lot more complicated, for those of you who don't stay up with offshore wind, and I'm no expert for sure. But there are now floating windmill technology, which is a lot more complicated and a lot more expensive, and so we're blessed for many reasons to be where we are.
Folks, just remember, remind everyone after Pat's admonition, and Aswan, we'll start here, it's outdoor dining only. Please bear with us. Indoor is harder. Judy and I talk about this, Ed, Tina. It's just harder when you're indoors, no ventilation, sedentary, in close proximity. We'll get there on indoor dining and casinos, but we are not there. We are not there yet, so this is outdoor only and even then, keep up the great work on social distancing, masking for the wait staff and gloves and whatnot. Again, the experience that we had last night couldn't have been more perfect. I also want to give Marthelle a shout out who's here almost literally every day, Marthelle, we're going to have you come up and make a presentation one of these upcoming conferences. With that, sir, do you have anything? Good afternoon.
Reporter: Governor, do you have any comment on the 500 to 700 ballots mailed to Republicans in Burnsville that were incorrectly printed with only Democratic candidates? Do you have any update on the investigation into voter fraud in Paterson that reportedly includes the FBI and Attorney General's office? Do incidents like these change your confidence in the July 7th primary or change your thinking about whether the November election in the state will be all or mostly vote by mail? Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: I've got nothing specific to add on either. Did you say Burnsville? Burnsville or Paterson. Matt Platkin has joined us. Matt, good to have you. If you want to add anything to that, please feel free. No, I continue to have a high degree of confidence in July 7th, and that's not to say that I'm denying there may or may not have been failures in the system, but we've got a balance and I think we've spoken to this. I want to just reiterate, we're trying to balance two really important objectives.
One is voting is the sacred stone in democracy, and to allow as many folks as possible to vote is a huge imperative to open democracy up as best we can. And the other one, with Judy and Ed beside me, is to keep people safe and healthy. So we have, for those of you who may not have followed it, we have got the following for July 7th, and we are committed to this. If you're a registered Democrat, you're automatically going to get a ballot for the Democratic primary. If you're a registered Republican, you're automatically going to get one for the Republican primary. If you're unaffiliated, you'll get an application, should you choose to vote and I hope you do, in whichever of those two primaries you choose to vote in. And then if that weren't enough, on July 7th, with Judy's input and oversight, we'll have 50% in-person voting capacity in each county, and we will have at least one polling location in each township in each county, and I'm confident that that's the right mix, and that's not making light of any snafus that may have happened.
We have, I'll just say, no guidance on November at this point. We won't give guidance. We'll certainly want to see how July 7th goes, but that guidance, there's no need to do that now. We won't do it now. The more information in history we have, particularly from a health perspective, the better a decision we'll make as we come closer. Thank you. You good? Sir.
Reporter: Governor, can we get an update on the state's efforts to implement short-term recommendations from the Manatt report, like the effort to create an emergency operations center and plan for safe reopening of these facilities? Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: Judy, do you want to hit that? Thank you for that.
Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli: We're having daily meetings within the department to develop the structure for the Emergency Operations Center and who would be staffing it. Additionally, we'll be posting soon an assistant commissioner's position for long-term care, specifically. And we have some really interesting proposals from hospital systems that are willing to help us with what I call a hub-and-spoke system where we'll have the emergency center centrally at the department, and spokes throughout the state to make sure that the long-term care facilities have connectivity to larger systems or facilities that can help with education, ongoing education and training, for donning and doffing and emergency preparedness, etc. So moving as fast as we can and the steps so far look exciting and good for long-term care.
Governor Phil Murphy: Judy, on visitations, you're still analyzing that, is that accurate to say?
Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli: Yeah, we're looking at that this week. As I've said before, this is the most vulnerable population and we want to be really vigilant about how we carry that out, so we are looking at what other states are doing and their experiences and we should have something if not the end of this week, beginning of next week.
Governor Phil Murphy: This is one that a lot of heartstrings are getting tugged on this one, and people rightfully are pointing out they haven't seen a loved one in months, other than FaceTime or through a window and that's not good for anybody's mental health, either the resident or for the family member. But you see the devastation that we summarize every day in terms of both the numbers and the lives lost. And this is without question, Judy, and I'm saying this without a medical license, overwhelmingly our most fragile and in danger, if you will, population. We've got to get this right, so thank you for that. Elise, good afternoon.
Elise Young, Bloomberg: Good afternoon. Last month, the DEA announced $50 million in small business emergency assistant grants. Business owners are asking me how much of that money has gone out? Is it at risk of being returned to the federal government if it isn't all committed by a particular date?
And my next question is from Nikita at NJ Globe. When, Governor, did you find out about Michele Brown's golden parachute at Choose New Jersey, and do you approve or disapprove of severance agreements such as this in quasi-government positions, whose CEO is named at the Governor's recommendation? Thank you.
Governor Phil Murphy: Yeah, I'll take the second one first and then Tim, you should address Elise's first question. You say quasi-government. It is a private, you know, I've described it outside the castle, inside the kingdom organization, but it is privately funded. And while I'm a huge believer and supporter of Jose Lozano, that actual board has to approve, as an example, his position there.
I can't remember when I first heard about it, but I was aware of it. But again, this is not under my control. I don't have a general philosophical view one way or the other on severance payments, other than they have to be deserved. And beyond that, I've got no more insight into the specifics of that. I believe it was a couple of -- early on in 2018 is when it happened, I know.
Tim, how much of the 50 million in grants is out there, and are you at all concerned that we may have a claw back for any monies that are not already on the street?
Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan: So of the $50 million that the Governor allocated for supporting small businesses, we broke that into two buckets, $5 million allocation to fill some of the backlog from our first round of grants which we did in April, and then $45 million for a new round that we took applications for last Tuesday. That first $5 million is plus or minus a couple hundred thousand dollars out the door. The second $45 million, we expect to begin hitting the approval button, hopefully by the weekend, on the first crop of applications we received last Tuesday. We're sitting at around 31,000 applications. We can probably fund 16,000, 17,000, 18,000, somewhere in there. That leaves out Essex County, which put an additional $10 million of their CARES Act money on the table for Essex County businesses in addition to that, so that money will be – I have plenty of things to worry about. Getting that money out the door is pretty low on the list. That money will be out the door in the next couple weeks.
Governor Phil Murphy: And you're not worried about the Feds taking it back?
Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan: I'm looking at Matt, who knows the rules, we have until December to get that expended. I think if we don't get it out by July, I'd be surprised.
Governor Phil Murphy: Great. Thank you for that. Thank you, Elise. Brent.
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: Hello, everyone. Are you afraid the resurgence you're seeing in other states could happen here and could cause you to slow up or even scale back stage two of reopening?
Chris Neuwirth just filed a lawsuit alleging he was fired because he pushed back on a request made through Colonel Callahan to do a favor for George Helmy, who wanted relatives of his tested for the virus at a time when tests were limited. Do you have a response? And Colonel, did you ask for this favor?
Why didn't Commissioner Persichilli and the Commissioners of the State's Human Services and military departments testify at today's assembly committee hearing on the state's response on long-term care?
And a woman outside said she had to borrow money to drive here, hoping she could get someone to help her because she still hasn't gotten unemployment payments. How can the state help with residents like that?
Governor Phil Murphy: Is she literally outside?
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: She was earlier.
Governor Phil Murphy: Marthelle or somebody, could you see if you could get her –
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: I've got her email if --
Governor Phil Murphy: Can you give us her details? Okay. Thank you. I'll deal with these in reverse order. If there's – did you say he filed a suit?
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: A lawsuit.
Governor Phil Murphy: Okay, so neither Pat or I are going to be able to comment on that – and it was related to Pat Callahan and George Helmy, is that what you said?
Brent Johnson, Star-Ledger: Yes.
Governor Phil Murphy: Okay, I've said this about Judy, and I mean every word of it, and I will say it about Pat and George. I literally don't know where we would be in this state without Pat Callahan and George Helmy. They are literally, along with Judy, they are heroes and they earn that every single minute of every single day. Again, I cannot even fathom what our state would look like without them and without Judy and what they've done.
On when there are committees testifying, to use a phrase that we use, we're still flying the plane. We just announced 51 fatalities overnight. We still have 1,291 people in the hospital. We've lost over 6,000 people in long-term care facilities. When we can get to these hearings and cooperate, and we always cooperate, the question is, is it by written answer or physically in the room? And part of the reason why the written option exists is if you're in a situation, and I don't want to speak for Judy, but I don't think she took the morning off. You were working this morning Judy, right? So the opportunity to submit something in writing is there for that reason.
I'll answer the resurgence question, but I'd love you and Ed to each weigh in on this. Yeah, I do worry about that. I worry. I think I've said this on a number of occasions, even if we bat 1,000 and reopen perfectly, and I think so far, you know, there's a whole group of people who want us to go faster. There's another group of people over here who want us to go slower, which tells me that we're probably going at about the right pace, because there's a fair amount of chorus from both sides every day. When you've got the rate of transmission in 0.6 something and positivity at two point something percent, you know, those are really good indicators.
Having said that, no matter as I said, if you bat 1,000 this virus by its very nature is going to come back. I don't want to be critical of other states, because New Jersey is the state that we live in and 100% of our time is focused on. But I do think, particularly if we open up indoor stuff too quickly, we do and we probably will have this risk, but the longer we go -- and again, it's not forever. It's going to be soon, I promise you -- but the more time on the clock. I said this the other day, you've got two competing realities, and I'll turn it over to the experts. One is if you look in March with a rate of infection of 5.3 something, there isn't any amount of PPE, face coverings, social distancing inside in close proximity that's enough to overcome that.
But the double reality of driving that rate of infection meaningfully below one and all the social distancing, face coverings, soap and water, all the curve flattening that you all out there have been so extraordinary at, that combination is workable. You can actually get there, and we will get there. But not to go on, I do worry that we'll get flare ups. But Ed, what's your view on this?
DOH Communicable Disease Service Medical Director Dr. Ed Lifshitz: Well, I get paid to worry and when I started my hair was as dark as yours and now it's grey, so yes, of course I'm worrying and I'm just going to echo what the Governor has been saying. You know, I think we are taking the common sense actions to try to open the state as best that we can, realizing that everybody out there has to contribute. It's all the social distancing. It's wearing the mask. It's all those sorts of things that we've been talking about all this time.
And I'm going to say something else. You know, every day here the Governor puts up pictures of people who've passed away, and I think that's incredibly important so that we never think of these as just numbers, but actual people and real lives. But the pictures that we don't put up, the pictures that I wish we could put up are the pictures of the people whose lives have been saved because without a doubt, all the people out there have literally saved thousands of people in New Jersey. And of course, the problem is we don't know exactly who they are to put their pictures up. But they're real people. They're real people who are with their families and going about their normal lives today because of what everybody in New Jersey has done. And basically, we need to continue that and I hope we will.
Governor Phil Murphy: Well said. So I'm going to mask up. Ed, thank you for that. Judy and Ed, thank you, as always for being here. Pat, as always, Jared, Matt, First Lady Tammy Murphy and a particular treat to have Tim Sullivan with us today. I can say with a high degree of confidence, Mahen, unless you correct the record, we'll be together at one o'clock tomorrow. Folks, keep up the great work, whether you're going out to your favorite restaurant or your favorite store, whether you're protesting the stain of racism in America, whether you're walking on a boardwalk, whatever it might be, we have set the American bar. Let's keep setting it. Keep social distance. Cover your face when you're out, particularly if you're outside of your bubble, outside of your family, wash hands with soap and water and disinfectant. We keep doing that, there's no stopping us. Thank you all again. God bless, we'll see you tomorrow.