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COVID-19 Live Updates: New Jersey’s contact tracing woes

NEW YORK (WABC) — Governor Phil Murphy pleaded with New Jersey residents to cooperate with contact tracers Friday, urging them to “Take the damn call.”

Murphy said more than half of the people being contacted by tracers are not cooperating.

He reiterated that while the state does not condone illegal or illicit behavior, uncovering such instances is not the point of contact tracing, and people will not be arrested if underage drinking or other activities are involved. Instead, he said it is all about preventing the spread of the virus.

The governor also said the state is in the process of building up its PPE stockpile with the goal of a three month supply ahead of potential surge in cases this fall.

What to know about coronavirus:
Back to school information
How coronavirus changed the New York region
Do you have coronavirus symptoms?
What’s Open, What’s Closed in the Tri-State area

Here are more of today’s headlines:

New Jersey gyms reopening?
Gyms in New Jersey remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the state may be getting closer to taking steps toward reopening. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the state will watch New York’s reopening of gyms process, which starts Monday.

New York sets 1-day record for coronavirus testing
A new record-high number of COVID-19 test results, 98,880, were reported in New York State Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced, and hospitalizations dropped below 500 for the first time, to 490, the lowest number since March 16.

“Part of the reason we were able to tame the beast in New York is because of our aggressive testing strategy. When the federal administration fell down, New York stepped up,” Cuomo said in a statement released Friday.

In addition, the total ICU patients dropped to 119, the lowest number since March 15. And the rate of positive tests, 0.72 percent, was below 1 percent for the 14th straight day.

Tony Awards will be held, virtually
Despite being interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the shortened Broadway season will nonetheless have a Tony Awards. Tony Award Productions said Friday that the celebration of live theater will be digital but offered no date or streaming platform. Final eligibility determinations will be made by the Tony Awards Administration Committee “in the coming days.” Broadway theaters abruptly closed on March 12, knocking out all shows – including 16 that were still scheduled to open.

MTA ending free overnight rides for essential workers
The MTA has announced it will stop paying for essential workers’ commutes during the overnight subway shutdown. The agency will no longer pay for taxi and for-hire vehicle rides starting on August 31. The overnight shutdowns, which have been happening since May for cleaning, will continue every day from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The MTA says it has paid $6.5 million for 120,000 trips over the last four months. There will still be enhanced bus service during those overnight hours.

Subway Series postponed
The remainder of the Mets/Yankees subway series has been postponed after at least two members of the Mets organization tested positive for COVID-19.

“Out of an abundance of caution and to allow for additional testing and contact tracing to be performed within the New York Mets’ organization, the games between the Mets and New York Yankees at Citi Field on Saturday, August 22nd and Sunday, August 23rd have been postponed,” the league said in a statement. “Major League Baseball will continue to provide updates as necessary.”
NYC family kicked off JetBlue flight
A Brooklyn mother is speaking out after JetBlue Airways forced her and her six children off a plane this week when her 2-year-old daughter refused to wear a mask.

If teachers get exposed to virus, they could stay in classroom
New guidance from President Donald Trump’s administration that declares teachers to be “critical infrastructure workers” could give the green light to exempting teachers from quarantine requirements after being exposed to COVID-19 and instead send them back into the classroom. Keeping teachers without symptoms in the classroom, as a handful of school districts in Tennessee and Georgia have already said they may do, raises the risk that they will spread the respiratory illness to students and fellow employees. Multiple teachers can be required by public health agencies to quarantine for 14 days during an outbreak, which can stretch a district’s ability to keep providing in-person instruction.

Changes to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will go on this year – but with many changes. The company says the parade will be “re-imagined” similarly to the way the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks were over the summer.

Outdoor high school sports a go in NJ, but indoor sports delayed
The agency that oversees high school sports in New Jersey has decided that indoor fall sports will be delayed until early next year, but outdoor sports will start their seasons in about a month. The seasons feature condensed schedules and will keep most contests local. The plan also prohibits out-of-state competition except for “exceptional circumstances” and states post-season play will be limited and local, with no statewide championships.

Cuomo signs bill allowing expanded mail-in voting in New York
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday allowing New York voters concerned about COVID-19 to request an absentee ballot for the November election.

NC State moves undergraduate classes online

North Carolina State University has moved its undergraduate courses online for the fall semester, the school announced. We have a list of what Tri-State colleges and universities have planned available here.

Purdue suspends 36 students for partying
Purdue University suspended 36 students for hosting and attending a party amid the coronavirus pandemic, the school announced. Earlier this week, University of Connecticut officials have evicted several students from on-campus housing after learning of a crowded dormitory room party with no mask-wearing or social distancing, which violated the school’s coronavirus rules.

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