By Associated Press - Friday, August 7, 2020

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Friday the state’s COVID-19 trends were heading in the right direction after climbing higher last week.

The rate of transmission dropped to 1.15 from 1.23, Murphy said Friday. Last week the rate, which represents to the number of people one infected person passes the virus to, reached nearly 1.5.

The testing positivity rate dipped to 1.95%, down from 2.57% earlier this week, Murphy said.

Murphy, though, stopped short of announcing any new reopening for businesses. The state is currently in the second of three stages of reopening its economy since the virus hit New Jersey in March.

There were 384 new positive cases reported overnight, putting the total at about 184,000. There were 12 new deaths, Murphy said, putting the death toll at 14,007.

He also said his administration was setting up a $25 million loan program for small landlords aimed at alleviating economic pressure on them and renters.

Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver said the money would come from federal coronavirus relief funds. The state got nearly $2.4 billion under the federal legislation.

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