“The fact that we’re having this conversation, people – it’s real,” said Murphy, who issued a statewide home care order two weeks ago.
Mortality and infection rates in New Jersey are still lower than in New York, where on Saturday more than 113,000 people were infected and more than 3,500 died. The virus appears to be spreading faster in the Nassau and Suffolk counties of Long Island, where there have been more than 24,000 cases, about 10,000 fewer than in all of New Jersey.
The New Jersey epidemic is most severe in Bergen County, the most populous county in the state. It recorded 5,760 confirmed virus cases and at least 179 deaths.
Teaneck, one of the largest townships in the county, has reported 421 cases.
Ms. Acito said she expected her sister-in-law and brother-in-law, who were not on respirators, to recover fully.
She said she saw it as a blessing to be able to visit relatives in person. “We know how lucky we as a family are to have me inside,” she said in an interview on Thursday.
Since hospitals are closed to most visitors, nurses are the lifelines connecting patients and their families. At Holy Name, iPads wrapped in transparent plastic to protect germs offer certain patients the possibility of communicating face to face with their loved ones.
“Our role is not only to provide all of this care in these circumstances,” said Ms. Acito. “It has to be their lawyer, their family member, their supplier. “