Day: April 3, 2020

Trenton-NJ Attorney General Investigating Death While In Police Custody

Updated stories: AG’s Office Releases Video Recordings From Police Body-Worn Cameras in Investigation of Man Who Died in Police Custody in Trenton on April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

Photos by: Brian McCarthy, OnScene News

TRENTON – The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation into the death of a man that occurred today in the City of Trenton while the decedent was in police custody.
The investigation is being conducted by the Integrity Bureau within the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability and the New Jersey State Police Homicide Unit.
At approximately 11:48 a.m., the Trenton Police Department responded to a report of a disturbed man outside of St. Francis Hospital. Officers located the subject, who attempted to flee but was pursued by officers and restrained. During the encounter with the police officers, the man became unresponsive.
Medical assistance was provided by police and emergency medical personnel, but the man was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital.
The identity of the decedent is not being released at this time. The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released.
This investigation is being conducted pursuant to a law enacted in January 2019, Senate Bill 1036,
which requires that the Attorney General’s Office conduct investigations of a person’s death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody.


UPDATE: April 4, 2020

Lucas has been found safe overnight.

April 3, 2020

ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)–The Robbinsville Township Police Department is requesting the public’s assistance with a missing/runaway juvenile.
On Thursday, April 2, 2020 at approximately 2342 hours, officers from the Robbinsville Township Police Department responded to the area of Andover Place on a report of a missing/runaway juvenile. The juvenile is identified as Lucas Byster. Lucas is 15 years old, white male, approximately 5’04 140lbs. He was last seen wearing a gray tank top, jeans, and light sneakers.
Anyone with any pertinent information regarding the whereabouts of Lucas is encouraged to contact the Robbinsville Township Police Department at 609-259-3900

New Jersey to Receive $1.7B in CARES Act Emergency Funding to Shore Up Mass Transit

April 3, 2020

More than $1.7 billion in emergency funding was awarded Thursday by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to the State of New Jersey to help the public transit system weather the economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic, said Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), who supported multiple efforts to include transit system support in Congress’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

   “This emergency funding can be used to help NJ Transit get through the ongoing coronavirus turmoil and help pay for the most basic costs to operate, maintain and run our public transportation system,” said Smith, whose district includes the Hamilton Transit Station and the NJ Transit North Jersey Coast Line that runs from Bayhead, Ocean County through Monmouth County northward, and other rail lines and facilities used by commuters. “That includes such expenses such as driver salaries, fuel, personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies. Mass transit is an integral and crucial component of our state economy, and will be an important part of the recovery for working families, travelers and general business activity. We will get through the current crisis and when we do, public transportation will be at the forefront.”

   The funding, which requires no local matching cost-share, comes from the $2 trillion stimulus bill Smith supported to help communities devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, and passed by the House and signed into law by President Trump last Friday, March 27, called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

   The CARES Act directs the FTA to allocate funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus through the existing Urbanized Area Formula Grants Program. The State of New Jersey will receive a total of $1,758,430,844.

   The normal state-federal cost-share is not applicable under the CARES Act for expenses incurred beginning Jan. 20, so no local match is required. By law, governors, through the state Department of Transportation, distribute FTA formula funds among recipients. Operating expenses to maintain transit services as well as pay for administrative leave for transit personnel due to reduced operations during the emergency are eligible uses for the funding.

   Smith signed multiple letters urging congressional leadership to include assistance in the CARES Act for public transit systems and their workers, including a bipartisan letter led by Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) that focused on the needs of NJ Transit; a letter on March 22, 2020 supporting funding for Amtrak, and; a third letter supporting the mass transit workforce.

   The CARES Act is Phase III of the federal response. Smith supported Phase I, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020—which provided $8.3 billion for treatment and prevention measures, as well as Phase II, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act—which provided paid sick leave, family medical leave, free testing, and expanded unemployment benefits among other provisions to help working Americans. The CARES Act is also providing direct financial assistance of $1,200 for individuals making under $75,000 per year, $150 billion to assist state and local governments, and $600 extra per week and an extension of unemployment benefits for four months.

AG Grewal: Police Are Cracking Down on Violators of COVID-19 Orders

April 3, 2020

Police Throughout New Jersey Are Filing Criminal Charges Against Violators of Orders to Stay at Home, Close Non-Essential Businesses, and Stop Gatherings

TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that law enforcement officers across New Jersey have ramped up enforcement efforts over the past week by filing criminal charges against violators of the Governor’s Executive Orders (or “emergency orders”), including hundreds of offenders in Newark, where the Newark Police Department deployed a large COVID-19 task force. “Last week, I said we were done with warnings and would take strong law enforcement action against anyone who failed to heed the Governor’s COVID-19 related emergency orders,” said Attorney General Grewal.  “This crackdown will continue until everyone gets the message that they need to stop these violations, which are putting lives at risk, including the lives of the law enforcement officers who are striving courageously each day to protect us during this emergency. I especially want to commend Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose and Chief Darnell Henry, as well as the men and women of the Newark Police Department, for their extraordinary efforts to protect the residents of Newark and this state. Their work and the work of all our dedicated officers is saving lives.” “Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.” During the past nine days, law enforcement agencies across New Jersey took the following actions to enforce the Governor’s COVID-19 related Executive Orders: 

  • Newark Enforcement.  The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 416 summonses for violation of the emergency orders and ordered 24 non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions by their between March 30 and April 1.
  • Joseph Figueroa, 18, Hailey Leavens, 19, Alejandra Aguirre-Lopez, 22, Itayezci Pena-Noyola, 22, and Isais Pena, 20, all residents of Atlantic City, except Leavens, who lives in Mays Landing, were arrested on April 2 on second-degree weapons charges and violations of the executive orders after a loaded .38-caliber revolver was found in their vehicle during an investigation and motor vehicle stop by the Atlantic City Police Department.
  • Craig O’Neill, 42, of Gloucester City, was charged on March 28 in Gloucester City with violating the emergency orders and trespassing at a business, both disorderly persons offenses.
  • Edward Montero, 33, of Bridgeton, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for holding a health supplement sales presentation at a gym with over 10 people.
  • Rama Igbarra, 36, of Clifton, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for opening the business he manages, Bobby’s Discount Home Furnishings store in Orange, N.J., after police warned him that the store had to be closed.
  • Matthew Shrewsbury, 34, of Milford, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, risking widespread injury, and endangering another person.  He allegedly became combative with staff at Hunterdon Medical Center, where he was taken following a motor vehicle accident.  Shrewsbury allegedly removed a protective surgical mask from his face, yelled and coughed at nurses and other staff, and threatened to spit on nurses and patients.  He allegedly said he had COVID-19 and did not care if he gave it to others.
  • Wade Jackson, 54, of Ewing, was charged on March 28 with obstruction of administration of law and violation of the emergency orders for holding a party with a DJ and nearly 50 guests inside his one-bedroom apartment in Ewing.
  • Willi Rojas, 42, of Woodbridge, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for opening his barbershop in Woodbridge to customers.
  • Joseph H. Benigno, 56, of Holmdel, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders for holding an auction with 15 to 20 people at a warehouse in Edison.
  • Steven P. Cato, 20, of Edison, was charged on April 1 with terroristic threats during an emergency, obstruction, resisting arrest, three counts of aggravated assault on an officer, and criminal mischief.  When police were called to his house for a domestic incident, he allegedly coughed at officers and claimed to have COVID-19.
  • Juan Ocampo-Quiceno, 29, of Wharton, was charged on April 1 with violating the executive orders for opening his business, Mine Hill Sports Complex in Wharton, after he was warned to close it.  Police found youths playing soccer and men lifting weights at the facility.
  • Christian Enriquez, 29, of North Plainfield, was charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders.
  • Anekia Dawkins, 35, of Morristown, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders.
  • Anthony J. Lodespoto, 43, of Matawan, allegedly sent messages through social media threatening to attack Jewish residents in Lakewood with a baseball bat.  He was charged on March 26 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency.
  • William J. Katzenstein, 39, of Lakewood, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for holding a wedding with 20 to 30 people in his backyard.
  • Eliezer Silber, 37, and Miriam Silber, 34, of Lakewood, were charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders and five counts of child neglect for holding a bat mitzvah with 40 to 50 adults and children outside their home.
  • David Gluck, 48, and Abraham Haberfield, 32, of Lakewood, were charged on March 30 with maintaining a nuisance for holding a gathering of approximately 35 males in a school facility that Gluck owns and Haberfield manages.
  • Yaakov Kaufman, 47, and Eti Kaufman, 45, of Lakewood, were charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders and six counts of child neglect for holding an engagement party at their home with a large number of adults and children.  Thirteen adult guests also were charged with violating the emergency orders.
  • Samuel Manheim, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and 16 other individuals were charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders for attending an outdoor funeral in Lakewood.  Manheim was also charged with hindering apprehension for initially refusing to identify himself to police.  Approximately 60 to 70 people were present for the funeral.
  • Ephraim Adler, 42, and Sarah Adler, 18, of Lakewood, were charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for opening the Brooklyn Southwest clothing store in Lakewood to customers.  A sign on the door stated “Maximum of 50 People.”
  • Nathan Kline, 66, of Lakewood, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for illegally selling alcohol out of a rental truck in a residential neighborhood where more than 10 people were present.
  • Rafael Medina, 21, Robert Feliz, 18, Edwin Valera, 25, Miguel Lopez, 22, and Angel Gonzalez, 18, were charged on March 31 with disorderly conduct for violating the emergency orders after police stopped the vehicle in which they were riding in Passaic.
  • Joyce Billings, 59, of Columbia, was charged twice by police for opening her business, Post Time Pub in Blairstown, in violation of the emergency orders.  She was charged with obstruction on March 27 and violation of a law intended to protect public health on April 2.
  • Jacqueline Maltese, 48 of Hackettstown, was charged on April 2 with simple assault and filing a false police report.  During a domestic violence incident, Maltese repeatedly yelled at officers that she had tested positive for COVID-19.  That was not true.
  • Louis A. Nunez, 52, of Manalapan, was charged on April 2 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency and throwing bodily fluid at an officer.  As he was being booked at the Monmouth County Jail on an unrelated matter he became belligerent and allegedly threated to spit on a corrections officer, stating he had the coronavirus.

 While a number of defendants identified above were also charged with indictable offenses that carry greater penalties, violations of the Governor’s emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense that carries a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.  In addition, earlier this week, Attorney General Grewal announced enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders.  Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Defendants Cato and Nunez are similarly charged for their conduct against law enforcement officers.  If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas.  COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes.  Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS. 

Three Men Charged In Shooting Of 20 Year Old

April 3, 2020

FREEHOLD – Three men are facing charges related to the shooting of a 20-year-old Eatontown man last month, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

John Carozza, 18, of the 400 block of South Laurel Avenue in Middletown; Rashahn Tucker, 19, of the 100 block of Seabreeze Avenue in Middletown; and Leo Morabito, of the first block of North Shore Street in Keansburg, are each charged with two counts of first degree attempted murder, one count of second degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose, and one count of second degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon.  All three men are being held in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution pending a future court date.

Eatontown Police were dispatched to 174 Main Street on Friday, March 13, 2020 at 4:54 p.m., in response to a 911 call for a man shot.  Upon arrival police found a 20-year-old Eatontown man with gunshot wounds. He was transported to an area hospital where he was treated for a serious injury.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call Detective Stephen Cavendish of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443, or Detective Brett Paulus of the Eatontown Police Department at 732-542-0100

If convicted of Attempted Murder, each of the men faces a minimum sentence of 20 years in a New Jersey state prison, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring them to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. Each would also be under parole supervision for five years following release from state prison.

If convicted of the second degree crimes, they each face a sentence of five to ten years in prison.  Each of these crimes is subject to the Graves Act, which requires a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one half of the custodial sentence imposed, or 42 months, whichever is greater.    

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Decker, Director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

16 Year Old Trenton Resident, Coughed On Shopper, Charged COVID-19 Harassment & Obstruction of Justice Incident at Wegmans

Released, April 3, 2020


INCIDENT:  2020-8704 Harassment and Obstruction of Justice
DATE & TIME OCCURRED:  3/31/2020 at 1223 Hours
LOCATION OCCURRED:  Wegmans Food Market, 240 Nassau Park Blvd.
VICTIM:  52 year old W/F
               Resident of Monmouth Jct., NJ 08852
                  Resident of Trenton, NJ 08618
OTHER INVOLVED:  36 year old B/F (Mother of Actor)–Present at
                                                                                          the Scene
                                    Resident of Trenton, NJ 08618

DETAILS:  On Tuesday 3/31/2020 at 1223 Hours, Ptl. Abade was working a security detail outside of the Wegmans Food Market when he was approached by an employee in regards to an altercation between (2) customers.  Ptl. Abade entered the store and met with the victim who related the following; she had been waiting in line to checkout with her groceries.  A young female, was standing in front of the cart behind the victim.  The victim asked the young female is she would mind moving back.  The female did not comply and responded with an attitude.  The young female removed the mask (covering her face) and coughed at the victim.

Ptl. Abade met with the female and her mother.  The mother indicated that they were working for Instacart.  While waiting in line, the mother switched places with her daughter so they would not block the aisle behind them.  The victim began swinging her arm in their direction and advising her daughter that she was too close to the victim.  The mother & daughter claimed they had been behind their designated lines during the verbal altercation and not near the victim.  The mother continued the verbal exchange with the victim because she didn’t want the victim speaking to her daughter in the manner she was. 

Ptl. Abade met with an unaffiliated employee in the incident who indicated that the victim had asked the daughter to step back because she felt young girl was too close.  The young girl was standing in front of her cart and NOT an appropriate distance from the victim.  All (3) persons, victim, mother & daughter were engaged in a verbal argument when the daughter pulled her facial mask down, walked closer to the victim, and coughed towards the victim while claiming that she had the Coronavirus (COVID-19).  The employee subsequently notified Ptl. Abade of the incident as it was still unfolding.      

Det. Sgt. Lai picked up the investigation from there.  The juvenile was determined to be uncooperative at the scene.  After thoroughly & painstakingly gathering the facts in the incident Det. Sgt. Lai determined that the juvenile had harassed the victim by pulling down her facial mask, walking closer toward the victim, and cough towards the victim while claiming to have the deadly & highly contagious Coronavirus (COVID-19).  In addition, the juvenile had been uncooperative with the investigation.  Det. Sgt. Lai signed Juvenile Petitions against the 16 year old for Harassment and Obstruction of Justice pending a future Mercer County Family Court Appearance.         

 **NOTE**:  Chief Garofalo wanted to let our community know that we fully support New Jersey AG Grewal and Mercer County Prosecutor Onofri in having zero tolerance for acts such as this.  Chief Garofalo wanted to assure everyone that the WWPD will continue to bring those to justice who choose to victimize others.  Supermarkets such as Wegmans have been deemed essential by the State of New Jersey and the WWPD will use its full resources to protect their staff and the general public during this time of need.  

AG Grewal Announces New Options for Healthcare Professionals to Support NJ’s Response to COVID-19

April 3, 2020

Division of Consumer Affairs Starts Reactivating Licenses for Retirees,
Clears Path for Prescribers from Other States to Prescribe for NJ Residents, and
Will Soon Start Granting Temporary Licenses to Foreign Physicians

Administrative Order:

Newark – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that the Division of Consumer Affairs has created a streamlined process for retired New Jersey healthcare professionals to reactivate their licenses to support the State’s response to COVID-19. The Division is now accepting applications from recent retirees seeking to return to practice on a temporary, emergency basis. The reactivation of retirees is just one of several actions the Division is taking to implement an executive order issued by Governor Phil Murphy to remove barriers to healthcare professionals joining the State’s response to the public health emergency. Governor Murphy’s executive order also supplements the State’s existing health care workforce by authorizing the temporary licensure in New Jersey of certain doctors who are licensed in foreign countries, and temporarily relaxing scope-of-practice restrictions on Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) so they can practice more independently during the current public health emergency. In another action announced today, the Division of Consumer Affairs is paving the way for healthcare professionals from other States to prescribe medications for New Jersey residents, if the prescriber is temporarily licensed in New Jersey as part of the State’s COVID-19 response and is allowed to prescribe elsewhere. These prescribers will no longer need to register with New Jersey to prescribe controlled dangerous substances, and will be allowed to participate in New Jersey’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. The Division has granted about 4,000 temporary licenses to out-of-state healthcare professionals in the last two weeks, including to professionals deployed to New Jersey with the National Guard and to professionals who offering telehealth services to New Jersey residents remotely from their home States. “The New Jersey healthcare professionals serving on the front lines in our fight against COVID-19 are nothing short of heroic. But they need reinforcements,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We are acting swiftly to support Governor Murphy’s call for all available and qualified healthcare professionals to step up and support the State’s response to this public health emergency.” “We’re doing everything we can to ensure we have a robust workforce of trained medical professionals to help flatten the curve of infections and save lives,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “We will continue to look for ways to expand New Jersey’s pool of qualified medical, nursing and therapy personnel to meet the State’s needs during this nationwide health crisis.” About 50,000 retired New Jersey healthcare professionals may be eligible for temporary emergency licenses under Governor Murphy’s executive order and the Division’s actions today. Their numbers include over 11,000 physicians, over 900 respiratory care practitioners, tens of thousands of nurses, and thousands of mental health professionals.Eligible retirees can reactivate their licenses on the Division’s website by completing a simple form. The Division aims to process each application within one day of submission. After reactivating their licenses, retirees are encouraged to visit the Department of Health’s portalfor healthcare professionals who are willing and able to support New Jersey’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Only retirees whose licenses have been expired or inactive for five years or less are eligible to reactivate their licenses on a temporary emergency basis. For now, eligibility is also limited to practitioners from some of the fields where reinforcements are most needed: 

  • Physicians
  • Respiratory Care Therapists
  • Physician Assistants
  • Advanced Practice Nurses
  • Registered Professional Nurses
  • Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Professional Counselors
  • Rehabilitation Counselors       
  • Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselors
  • State Certified Psychoanalysts
  • Psychologists
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers 
  • Licensed Social Workers 
  • Certified Social Workers
  • Midwives

 Other retirees interested in returning to practice to support the State’s COVID-19 can go through the usual reactivation process. Additional information for retirees interested in returning to practice is available in guidance issued by the Division of Consumer Affairs today. A separate guidance document also issued by the Division today clarifies how healthcare professionals can use telehealth to deliver health care to New Jersey residents. Telehealth is a critical tool for ensuring that the State’s residents can continue to access health care services at a time when they are seeking to minimize in-person contacts in order to avoid spreading COVID-19. Many of the thousands of out-of-State healthcare professionals who recently obtained temporary New Jersey licenses are serving the State’s residents via telehealth. In addition to reactivating the licenses of retirees and making it easier for healthcare professionals from out-of-State to treat and prescribe medications for New Jersey residents, the Division will soon begin accepting applications for temporary emergency licenses from physicians from abroad who do not meet all of the usual criteria for licensure in New Jersey. To be eligible, foreign physicians must hold a license in good standing to practice medicine in another country, have maintained that license for at least five years, have engaged in the clinical practice of medicine for at least five years, and have practiced clinical medicine within the last five years, among other requirements. Temporary licenses issued to out-of-State healthcare professionals, reactivated retirees, and foreign physicians may remain active until the end of the COVID-19-related emergency declared by Governor Murphy on March 9, 2020. Rounding out today’s announcements, the Division is also waiving certain regulatory requirements that limit the scope of practice for APNs and PAs. The Division’s waiver complements Governor Murphy’s action to enable these healthcare professionals to work more independently from physicians while the State’s healthcare resources are spread thin in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

1M+ In World, 261k USA, 28.8k NJ With COVID-19

April 3, 2020

There are over 1 million cases of COVID-19 in the world as it passed the 1 million mark yesterday. As of the 2:11 pm update there are a total of 1,076,017 in the world and over 58,000 have died from the virus.

In the United States of America there are 261,438 with 6,699 deaths of COVID-19 as of 2:11 pm.

In New Jersey is closing in on 30k cases and currently with 29,895 confirmed cases. There have been 646 deaths.

Plumsted Township Ocean County has seen its first death as announced by the mayor yesterday see this prior story.

Ocean County and Monmouth County daily updates will be posted at the bottom when available usually after 4 pm.

We have 4,372 new positive #COVID19 cases, bringing our total to 29,895.
• Atlantic: 72
• Bergen: 4,866
• Burlington: 367
• Camden: 406
• Cape May: 44
• Cumberland: 36
• Essex: 3,067
• Gloucester: 183
• Hudson: 2,835
• Hunterdon: 148
• Mercer: 484
• Middlesex: 2,125
• Monmouth: 1,743
• Morris: 1,298
• Ocean: 1,685
• Passaic: 2,216
• Salem: 25
• Somerset: 641
• Sussex: 210
• Union: 2,487
• Warren: 149
• Under Investigation: 4,808

We’ve lost another 113 New Jerseyans to COVID-19, bringing our total to 646 deaths. 646 reasons to stay home and do your part to #FlattenTheCurve.
• Atlantic: 1
• Bergen: 132
• Burlington: 9
• Camden: 7
• Cumberland: 1
• Essex: 118
• Gloucester: 3
• Hudson: 59
• Mercer: 5
• Middlesex: 56
• Monmouth: 48
• Morris: 43
• Ocean: 45
• Passaic: 34
• Salem: 2
• Somerset: 23
• Sussex: 8
• Union: 45
• Warren: 3
• Unknown: 4

As of 1:00 PM, COVID-19 statewide stats:
• Positive Tests: 29,895
• Deaths: 646

For updates:

Monmouth County: When available will be posted here

Ocean County: When available will be posted here.

Mercer County:

Dear Mercer County Community, This week, Mercer County saw its first deaths due to coronavirus disease. The fact that this occurrence was inevitable makes it no less painful, and I offer my deepest sympathy for the loved ones of the five individuals who passed away. Sadly, there will be more deaths related to COVID-19. We also know there is community spread and expect to see the number of positive cases increase as more people are tested. This pandemic represents an unprecedented crisis – it’s been reported that half the world is now under a stay-home order. But I can assure you that in Mercer County we are doing everything we can to protect the health and well-being of our residents. Mercer County, in collaboration with health care partners, opened an appointment-only, drive-up testing site for COVID-19 this week at Quaker Bridge Mall.The center tested more than 260 symptomatic individuals over the first three days.  Please be aware that the testing center is by appointment only for symptomatic Mercer County residents age 18 or older who have a prescription from a health care practitioner. If you are symptomatic for COVID-19 and want to be tested, contact your health care practitioner, who must fax your prescription to the site’s appointment makers at 609-630-4031. If you do not have a personal practitioner, go to an urgent care facility or health clinic and have a prescription faxed to the appointment makers.

Regarding positive test cases of COVID-19, Mercer County has been releasing only the total number of cases countywide. But the number of positive cases is quickly growing and there is no uniform presentation of data town by town. Some municipalities are offering fairly detailed information including age, gender and occupation. Additionally, we have heard from a number of constituents who want to know the number of cases in their town compared to neighboring towns.

Within the next day or so, we will launch a new website that will list cases by Mercer municipality. Our goal is to update the data every 24 hours. At absolutely no time will personally identifying information be revealed. We are making every effort to be transparent while also respecting the letter of the law with regard to individuals’ privacy rights.

These are stressful times filled with much uncertainty. We’ve all had to change our routines; our movements have been restricted; schools are closed; many businesses have been forced to close or alter their services, affecting the owners, their employees and their patrons. It’s an unsettling scenario and we don’t know when life will return to normal.  

We do know that the best defense we have right now against COVID-19 is to adhere to the governor’s directive to stay home. If you must go out – to the grocery store, to a medical appointment, to take a walk or to report to an essential job — practice social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet from others. Otherwise, please stay home. Those at higher risk – older adults and people with existing health problems – depend on everyone else to stay safe.

And continue to take everyday preventive measures: wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, cover coughs and sneezes, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

I deeply appreciate your commitment to helping slow the spread of COVID-19. There are many more difficult days ahead, but I know that Mercer County is up for the challenge. If we all work together, we WILL get through this crisis.

Brian M. Hughes
Mercer County Executive

Governor Murphy Directs U.S. and New Jersey Flags to Fly at Half-Staff Indefinitely in Honor of Those Who Have Lost Their Lives or Have Been Affected by COVID-19

April 3, 2020

TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy today ordered that the U.S. and New Jersey flags be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities indefinitely starting Friday, April 3rd, in recognition and mourning of all those who have lost their lives and been affected by COVID-19.“COVID-19 has taken far too many relatives, friends, and loved ones in New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “This virus has affected every corner of our state, and as we continue to work to break the back of this pandemic, we recognize those who have been lost to this terrible illness and all those affected by it. Many families cannot hold funerals for their loved ones at this time. By doing this, we remind them that their losses are not forgotten.”Copy of Executive Order #114

Photo by Sharefaith on

Stay Safe From COVID-19 While Fishing In NJ

April 3, 2020

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife made changes to the 2020 Trout Season to help redistribute angling pressure allowing anglers to better maintain proper social distancing practices in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

Consistent with Governor Murphy’s orders that all New Jerseyans practice social distancing in order to limit the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), anglers must fish alone or with immediate family members and cannot fish in groups of any size (no matter how small), either on land or by boat. A minimum six-foot social distance between anglers must be maintained at all times. To disperse the fish and to help maintain social distancing among anglers, trout were released early and the NJ Fish and Game Council opened trout stocked waters for catch and release only for trout, from April 1 through April 10. Season, size, and creel limits for all other species apply, as well as any gear restrictions.

Anglers MUST NOT congregate in parking areas, boat ramps or at popular fishing locations. Conservation Police Officers, New Jersey State Park Police, and DEP staff are actively monitoring our parks and natural areas to ensure that individuals enjoying our natural resources are maintaining social distance. Any groups encountered will be instructed to disperse to maintain social distance, and if they do not comply, tickets will be issued by law enforcement.

2020 Spring Trout Information Here

COVID-19 Fishing Information

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Hamilton Township Mayor Martin Announces New Interim Business Administrator

April 3, 2020

Hamilton, NJ – Mayor Jeff Martin announces that today, Friday, April 3, 2020, will be Interim Business Administrator, T. Missy Balmir’s last day of service with Hamilton Township. Mark Murranko will step into the Interim Business Administrator position until the permanent Business Administrator starts.

“When I asked Missy to join my team as Interim Business Administrator, it was for a period of 30 days, but as she leaves us she will have served over 75 days with the Township,” say Mayor Martin.  “Throughout her short tenure with Hamilton, she has helped steer the Township through the uncharted waters of COVID-19.  Her guidance has been immeasurable; I thank her for serving the residents of Hamilton Township.”

Mark Murranko will step up from his current role of Deputy Business Administrator to serve as Interim Business Administrator. Prior to starting with Hamilton, Murranko worked with the New Jersey State Police for over thirty years, retiring at the rank of Major. He has over a decade of experience in various leadership roles within the law enforcement agency, including serving as the Commanding Officer to the Administrative Section. In this role, he provided oversight of administrative functions related to maintaining the daily operational needs of 4,500 employees. Murranko earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration of Justice and Human Services from Thomas Edison State College before receiving a Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University Law School.

“Mark has been a tremendous part of my administration, having taken the lead on fire consolidation and the administration of grants,” says Mayor Martin.  “This was an easy decision for a seamless transition while we await our permanent Business Administrator to join the team.”

In late February, Senator Cory Booker announced that Balmir had accepted a role in his campaign as Deputy Campaign Manager and Political Director. The Hamilton Township permanent B.A. has been identified, but a start date is on hold during the current COVID-19 crisis as the individual is serving in that capacity to another municipality. An announcement of the selection is anticipated in the coming weeks.