By CBS3 Staff

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — The number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey are soaring and now the governor is ordering the closure of all salons, barbershops, tattoo shops and spas in the state. Gov. Phil Murphy reported 318 new cases in the state on Thursday, bringing the statewide total to 742.

The governor also said nine people have now died from the virus.

“We expected this. These numbers are going to go up. They’re going to go up, in one person’s opinion, into the many thousands,” Murphy said. “We are doing everything we can to break the back to this curve.”

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State health officials say the average age of illness from the virus in New Jersey is 52, but most serious cases are among the elderly and those with medical conditions.

“The department has identified possible cases of COVID-19 in six nursing home/assisted living facilities. Last night, I ordered curtailing admissions, all admissions to those facilities,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

Tents for expanded testing are up at Camden County College in Blackwood, where they’re waiting for test kits.

Camden County health officials say they continue to search the globe for coronavirus testing kits and they hope to have some kits available by next week.

Earlier this week, Murphy ordered the closing of schools, gyms, theaters, amusement parks, indoor malls and casinos. Nonessential businesses are also closed from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily statewide, and the governor has urged people not to travel if they don’t have to.

“Every field is upside down because of this. I think everyone’s just looking for answers, wanting to know what are we looking out for our own health. Where is there an end in sight?” said Marc Balzer, owner of Imagine Audio.

Now, Murphy has added to that list to include spas, tattoo parlors, barbershops and nail and hair salons.

“I am ordering, effective 8 p.m. tonight, the closure of all personal care businesses which cannot comply with social distance guidelines,” Murphy said.

Murphy also said he signed an order postponing special elections across the state, including in Atlantic City, and New Jersey’s biggest city, Newark, has instituted an 8 p.m. curfew in response to the outbreak.

Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr. says the new restrictions are the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“They have some tough sacrifices to make. It’s going to be very, very difficult financially for a lot of people in the coming months,” Cappelli said.

State health officials have recommended calling your health care provider if you have symptoms, including fever and shortness of breath. Officials also point people to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, which recommends people stay home except to get medical care.


On Wednesday, the state announced a new number residents can call with coronavirus-related questions, to augment the existing hotline operated by the New Jersey Poison Control Center.

The new 211 number is operated by the United Ways of New Jersey and provides information and referral services. Residents also can text NJCOVID to 898-211.

CBS3’s Stephanie Stahl and Kimberly Davis contributed to this report.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)