This week’s COVID-19 top stories from the State and County:

As always, you can go to MercerMe’s Coronavirus Advisory Information tab located in the top middle of our homepage for the latest in Hopewell Valley hyperlocal news and information about COVID-19.

As of Thursday morning, March 26, 82 Mercer County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus. There are 4,402 infected residents across New Jersey and 62 deaths.

NJ Outlines Field Hospital Plan to Prepare for Surge of COVID-19 Patients by LILO H. STAINTON in March 26: “New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy pledged Wednesday to spare no expense in saving lives from the coronavirus and promised to leave no patients “on the battlefield” in the state’s fight to win the war on the pandemic. “

On March 24, Governor Murphy signed an Executive Order requiring child care centers to close by April 1, 2020 UNLESS they are solely serving children of essential workers.

He said in a facebook post: “While essential workers commit themselves to our New Jersey family, we will commit ourselves to protecting their families.”

Administrative Order 2020-6 was signed on March 24 allowing the following stores to open as essential retail stores:

1.  Mobile phone retail and repair shops
2.  Bicycle shops, but only to provide service and repair
3.  Livestock feed stores
4.  Nurseries and garden centers
5.  Farming equipment stores

From Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson’s Facebook on March 24:

“The coronavirus outbreak numbers in New Jersey have increased to 3,675 total known cases and 44 known deaths. This is an increase of 846 positive tests in the last 24 hours. There are 58 positive cases in Mercer County which is an increase of 8 from yesterday and 25 positive cases in Hunterdon County, which is an increase of 7. Over 12,000 tests have been performed in the State of New Jersey, with a positivity rate of 27%.

“If you are aware of a business that is violating the Governor’s Executive Order regarding “Stay At Home” or that has illegally deemed all of their workers as “essential,” please call 609-963-6817. Please stay home unless you are essential personnel.

“The State of New Jersey has applied to the Federal Government for a waiver to cancel the April standardized testing for school students. This cancellation will not have any effect on high school graduation requirements. Schools will remain closed until further notice.

“Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be arriving soon from the federal government.

“The Board of Public Utilities has sent a letter to all water companies asking them to voluntarily suspend water shut-off notices. If they do not do it voluntarily the Governor will issue an Executive Order preventing water shut-off.”

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