Coronavirus updates: N.J. deaths surpass 4,000; Murphy warns of state worker layoffs; Testing shortfalls. What you need to know (April 19, 2020)

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Minutes after announcing that New Jersey’s coronavirusdeath total climbed above 4,000, Gov. Phil Murphy ripped an Atlantic County surrogatewho wrote on a social media website that officials in his county “need to sound the alarm" and demand that the state be re-opened immediately.

“Reopen New Jersey immediately without restrictions,” Atlantic County Surrogate James Curcio, a Republican, wrote on Facebook. “Trust American freedom ingenuity and the U.S. Constitution. Untie the hands of the Private Sector so it can rescue NJ from this nightmare.”

Murphy called the post "irresponsible,” at the end of his daily coronavirus press briefing in Trenton. “We quote-unquote untie the system right now, there will be blood on our hands. And I want to make sure folks understand that. This is literally life and death.”

Though Murphy said progress is being made in slowing a virus that has infected at least 81,420 in New Jersey, he again cautioned that New Jerseyans must continue to stay home and stay away from each other to avoid another outbreak of COVID-19.

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A roundup of coronavirus news:

387 infected, 11 dead from the coronavirus at N.J. state psychiatric hospitals:The number of people who work or live at New Jersey’s four state-run psychiatric hospitals and tested positive for the coronavirus rose 38% this week to 387, according to the state Department of Health.

Two patients died in the last week, adding to the five who died from the coronavirus outbreak, for a total of seven patient fatalities, Health Department spokeswoman Dawn Thomas said.

Cops aren’t kidding about social distancing. Kitesurfer, partygoers will pay up:A kitesurfer who needed to be rescued off Normandy Beach in Toms River and a group of people partying at an Airbnb rental in Jersey City are among the latest charged with violating Murphy’s executive order which prohibits large gatherings and requires residents to remain at home with limited exceptions.

N.J. is still woefully behind on coronavirus testing. And Murphy won’t give specifics on fixing it:New Jersey has failed to significantly increase its daily testing, according to an analysis of data by NJ Advance Media, and no one has clearly communicated how it plans to do so. Officials also have not said what the maximum testing capacity is in the state and have been vague in what has caused New Jersey to test at a far lower rate than neighboring New York.

‘Historic’ N.J. public worker layoffs coming if no new coronavirus aid from feds, Murphy says: Murphy painted a dire outlook for New Jersey public-worker jobs on Saturday afternoon, pleading for more financial aid to lift a state economy that has been cratered by the coronavirus.

“We will have layoffs that will be historic,” Murphy warned, as he called for Congress to send more direct aid to states, and as he urged state lawmakers to help him borrow billions of dollars. He added that the layoffs would be felt through New Jersey, at the state, county and local levels.

Family delivering food to relative escapes car seconds before it bursts into flames:Quick-thinking by a family delivering food to a relative in South Brunswick during the coronavirus pandemic may have saved them from serious injury. While driving on Ridge Road on Saturday, a family member heard the car make a noise and decided to pull over and get out, South Brunswick police said. Seconds later, their car burst into flames, police said.

N.J. man charged after grocery store altercation over wearing coronavirus mask: A Sparta man was charged with making terroristic threats during an emergency, aggravated assault of a police officer and other offenses stemming from an incident at a grocery store in the Sussex County town.

Wadim Sakiewicz, 73, of Sparta, entered the Stop & Shop without a face mask on April 15, authorities said. Police said an employee asked him to leave, and he became combative. While being escorted from the store, Sakiewicz allegedly coughed on an employee while claiming to be positive for the coronavirus.

Worldwide coronavirus cases:More than 161,000 of the 2.43 million who tested positive have died as of 7 a.m. Sunday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. About 603,000 have recovered.

U.S. cases:More than 33,900 have died of COVID-19 related causes in the U.S, the center said. Nearly 65,000 of the almost 723,000 infected have recovered as of early Sunday

NJ Advance Media staff writers Payton Guion, Brent Johnson, Susan K. Livio, Chris Ryan, Chris Sheldon and Michael Sol Warren contributed to this report.

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