New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced Wednesday that the state received 736 new positive COVID19 test results since Tuesday, bringing the new total to 4,402. Essex County is up to 381 cases.

Murphy said there have been 18 additional deaths due to COVID-19 complications, for a total of 62 to date. There have been no deaths due to COVID-19 in New Jersey among persons under age of 30.

“These numbers are sobering, but they are not surprising,” Murphy said, adding that social distancing directives were not polite suggestions, and added that they are already being enforced.

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Murphy also announced signing an executive order requiring child care centers to close by April 1st unless they are solely serving children of essential workers.

Hospital Beds To Increase

Murphy added that the state was working aggressively to rapidly expand hospital capacity. New Jersey currently has 18,433 acute care beds, including 2,000 beds for those requiring critical care. Over the next several weeks, the goal is to increase capacity by 2,360.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters to preparing wings in hospitals across the state and working directly with hospital systems to build-out capacity within current facilities.

Additionally, the New Jersey Department of Health is working on bringing closed hospitals back in service.

These steps would bring 1,360 new beds online. Three other locations will be used to create temporary hospitals, adding 1,000 beds. The Meadowlands Convention Center in Secaucus will be put into service to add 250 beds. Five hundred beds will be created at the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, and another 250 beds at the Atlantic City Convention Center.