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WATCH: NJ Gov. Murphy ‘heartbroken’ over coronavirus related deaths at nursing home

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and fellow state officials held a news conference April 16 to give an update on the state’s efforts to fight the novel coronavirus.

Watch the governor’s remarks in the player above.

75,317 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and more than 3,500 have died from it.

Murphy said that social distancing remains “the key to us flattening the curve, and eventually coming down the other side of it to the point where we can responsibly begin the process of reopening our state.” The governor noted that transmission of COVID-19 in the state had slowed since these practices were put into place. He warned though, that if residents relaxed these practices, they would risk seeing another spike in cases in New Jersey.

The governor also announced that New Jersey schools would remain closed at least another month, until Friday, May 15. While he recognized this would be hard on parents and students, he said “we cannot be grounded by emotion,” and needed instead to rely on scientific evidence.

In response to the news that at least 26 people were found dead from the coronavirus at a New Jersey nursing home over the weekend, Murphy said he was outraged that these bodies were allowed to “pile up in a makeshift morgue” at the facility, and said he’d asked the state attorney general to look into the matter.

While he recognized that some long-term care facilities across the country have bad actors during moments like this, Murphy said that “New Jersey can lead in how we respond to these issues.”

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