By Jaimie Julia Winters

As President Donald Trump announced early this morning, Oct. 2, that he and first lady Melania have tested positive for the coronavirus, daily new cases in New Jersey continue to climb, with state officials reporting 796 new COVID-19 cases today, Oct. 2. On Monday, 722 new cases were reported. To date, 206,629 New Jerseyans have tested positive for the virus. 

The president and the first lady attended a fundraiser in Bedminster last night, and Murphy is calling for all attendees to get tested and to “take yourself out of the field” by quarantining. 

Today’s reported deaths related to COVID are at four, with hospitals reporting nine last night. 

On Monday, officials reported nine new deaths related to the virus, with hospitals reporting eight. The death toll is now at 14,344 deaths. In addition, deaths thought to be connected to the virus are at 1,787. 

Today’s positivity rate was not available; on Monday it was 3.0 percent, up from 2.48 percent reported the day before. 

The virus transmission rate has continued to increase, from 1.13 on Wednesday to 1.19 today.

Hospitals reported an increase of patients with COVID-related symptoms, at 528 last night, compared to 479 on Tuesday. Fewer patients were in ICUs, 94, and on ventilators, 36, last night compared to Tuesday. 

Essex County officials reported 48 new cases, up from the 34 reported on Wednesday, bringing the county total to 21,174. The number of deaths remains at 1,900. 

Montclair officials reported four new cases today, now totaling 569. The number of deaths remains at 57. 

Eleven schools have reported outbreaks with two or more students and/or staff testing positive. The state is reporting 43 cases linked to school outbreaks.

Reproductive Freedom Act

Gov. Phil Murphy today, Oct. 2, announced the introduction of the Reproductive Freedom Act, legislation that will help protect and expand New Jerseyans’ ability to receive reproductive health care, such as birth control, and pregnancy-related care, including abortion. 

Murphy said that as other states push reproductive health care out of reach, New Jersey is stepping up to protect reproductive freedom and remove barriers to access for all people who need care. 

The Reproductive Freedom Act protects and expands access to essential reproductive health care services in three key ways: 

  • The act explicitly ensures that all New Jerseyans have the right to make their own personal health decisions when it comes to birth control and pregnancy-related care, including abortion. 
  • The act makes certain that financial barriers do not prevent anyone from making their own personal health decisions when it comes to birth control and pregnancy-related care, including abortion. Key provisions of the bill require private insurance coverage for birth control and abortion care with no out-of-pocket costs, to ensure that a person’s income or insurance status do not dictate their ability to access time-sensitive health care.
  • The act expands access to birth control and pregnancy-related care, including abortion, by breaking down medically unnecessary restrictions that now block access to care.

According to a report by the National Institute for Reproductive Health called “Gaining Ground,” 944 bills protecting reproductive freedom were introduced in 2019 in 49 states, of which 147 were enacted.
“As access to health care and the right to choose are under attack at the federal level, we will support, defend and protect reproductive rights here in New Jersey,” Murphy said. 

“The Reproductive Freedom Act will remove barriers to reproductive health, as well as expand access to contraception while reaffirming choice. Together, we stand unwavering in our commitment to work towards reproductive freedom for all New Jerseyans.”