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N.J. Coronavirus Cases Rise 60% in a Day to 427; Deaths at 5

Stacie Sherman and Elise Young

(Bloomberg) -- The number of New Jerseyans who have tested positive for the new coronavirus rose on Wednesday to 427, a jump of roughly 60% from a day earlier, Governor Phil Murphy told reporters in Trenton. Five people have died.

“This is increasing with a pretty steep curve,” Murphy said.

Murphy, a retired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. senior director, said the nation will need “an enormous amount of federal help.”

“I’m speaking as much as a former banker, not so specific to New Jersey’s needs, but the national appropriate level of stimulus is something, believe it or not, in the $3-to-$4 trillion range.”

The latest deaths were two women who were beyond 60 years old, each with underlying medical conditions, according to Judy Persichilli, the state health commissioner. The virus was in at least 17 of the state’s 21 counties. Bergen County was hardest hit by far, with at least 114 cases, according to health department data.

In the next few weeks, almost 500 beds will be available at hospitals that had closed wings, Persichilli said. The state also identified Underwood-Memorial Hospital in Woodbury, closed in December, as potentially reopening to as many as 300 patients.

“The most acute challenge we have is with personal protective equipment,” Murphy said. The state health department had requested 1 million N-95 particulate masks from the federal government, but the order, alongside those from other states, could take as long as six weeks to fill, he said.

“We got a fraction of our ask,” Murphy said. “We need more from the strategic stockpile.”

(Updates with governor’s aid estimate starting in third paragraph)

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