New Jersey on Monday reported another 2,608 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 28 additional confirmed deaths, while 18% of adults have now been fully vaccinated in the state, though daily cases are rising again.
“We are back to leading the nation in the spread of this virus,” Gov. Phil Murphy said during his latest COVID-19 briefing in Trenton, stressing that even those who have been vaccinated can still spread the virus. “We still have to work to do together.”
The governor added the state is currently in “a foot race” between getting more residents vaccinated and case numbers rising.
Earlier in the day, Murphy said during a TV interview the state likely won’t take more steps to loosen safety restrictions for “some time now” because of the recent spikes.
The Garden State’s seven-day average for new confirmed cases is now 3,349, up 8% from a week ago and 24% from a month ago.
There were at least 1,992 coronavirus patients across New Jersey’s hospitals as of Sunday night, according to state data. Hospitalizations are down from mid-January, when more than 3,700 patients were being treated. The number has now hovered between 1,900 and 2,000 for two weeks.
Officials have no said specifically what is driving the rise in cases, though they have warned about the spread of more contagious variants of COVID-19.
The state has identified more than 400 cases of “variants of concern,” including 389 cases of the variant first identified in the U.K., seven cases of two California variants, three of the Brazil variant, and 1 South African variant. There’s also 65 cases of the New York variant, which is considered “of interest” by the federal Centers for Disease Control.
Asked how the state is tracking the variants, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said: “We can’t trust this virus to behave in any way that’s predictable.”
“We are acting as if a surge is happening tomorrow,” Persichilli added.
New Jersey health facilities and vaccine centers have now administered about 3.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine — including more than 1.2 million people considered fully-vaccinated, according to state data. About 500,000 vaccine doses were administered last week, Murphy said.
The state’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of its eligible adults — about 4.7 million people — by the end of May.
The statewide rate of transmission increased on Monday to 1.09, up from 1.08 the day before. Any number over 1 indicates that the outbreak is growing, with each new case leading to at least one other case.
The latest statewide positivity rate was 8.48% on Thursday, the day with the latest data, based on 45,099 tests.
In all, New Jersey has now reported 767,583 confirmed coronavirus cases out of more than 11.5 million PCR tests in the year since the state reported its first case on March 4, 2020. There have also been 101,454 positive antigen tests. Those cases are considered probable, and health officials have warned that positive antigen tests could overlap with the confirmed PCR tests because they are sometimes given in tandem.
The state of 9 million people has reported 24,181 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19 — 21,666 confirmed deaths and 2,515 fatalities considered probable.
New Jersey on Friday increased indoor and outdoor gathering limits from 25 to 50 people and increase capacity limits for restaurants, gyms and health clubs, recreational facilities and arcades, and personal care businesses to 50%. But mask mandates and social-distancing guidelines will remain in effect.
Murphy said Monday that he doesn’t have “a specific timeframe” for how long it may be before he loosens restrictions further. He said the state is in “a balancing moment,” as officials watch variants but with vaccinations continuing and warmer weather around the corner.
“Getting that balance right is not easy,”the governor said. “We’re therefore using caution.”
Murphy did say officials have not seen recent case spikes linked to reopenings.
Officials say vaccine demand still outpaces supply in New Jersey, but shipments are expected to increase by early next month. Other essential workers in the state, including restaurant employees, will become eligible for the vaccine March 29.
Murphy said the state will likely meet President Joe Biden’s request that everyone in the U.S. be eligible by May 1. But he added “I can’t give you a specific date” for when that will happen.
Murphy also announced on Monday that the June primary election would primarily held in person this year.
VACCINATIONS BY COUNTY
- ATLANTIC COUNTY – 115,327 doses administered
- BERGEN COUNTY – 404,326 doses administered
- BURLINGTON COUNTY – 188,675 doses administered
- CAMDEN COUNTY – 215,464 doses administered
- CAPE MAY COUNTY – 51,019 doses administered
- CUMBERLAND COUNTY – 50,102 doses administered
- ESSEX COUNTY – 268,939 doses administered
- GLOUCESTER COUNTY – 134,059 doses administered
- HUDSON COUNTY – 176,284 doses administered
- HUNTERDON COUNTY – 48,902 doses administered
- MERCER COUNTY – 127,765 doses administered
- MIDDLESEX COUNTY – 288,580 doses administered
- MONMOUTH COUNTY – 267,059 doses administered
- MORRIS COUNTY – 262,095 doses administered
- OCEAN COUNTY – 218,705 doses administered
- PASSAIC COUNTY – 156,462 doses administered
- SALEM COUNTY – 24,061 doses administered
- SOMERSET COUNTY – 142,965 doses administered
- SUSSEX COUNTY – 55,140 doses administered
- UNION COUNTY – 183,886 doses administered
- WARREN COUNTY – 35,690 doses administered
- UNKNOWN COUNTY- 3,700 doses administered
- OUT OF STATE – 91,106 doses administered
There were 1,992 patients hospitalized with confirmed (1,873) or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Sunday night — three fewer than the previous night, according to the state’s dashboard.
That included 428 in critical or intensive care, with 207 on ventilators.
There were also 190 COVID-19 patients discharged Sunday and 207 admitted.
Hospitalizations peaked at more than 8,000 patients during the first wave of the pandemic in April.
New Jersey has reported 188 in-school coronavirus outbreaks, which have resulted in 890 cases among students, teachers and school staff this academic year, according to the state’s dashboard.
The state defines school outbreaks as cases where contact tracers determined two or more students or school staff caught or transmitted COVID-19 in the classroom or during academic activities at school. Those numbers do not include students or staff believed to have been infected outside school or cases that can’t be confirmed as in-school outbreaks.
There are about 1.4 million public school students and teachers across the state, though teaching methods amid the outbreak have varied, with some schools teaching in-person, some using a hybrid format and others remaining all-remote.
Murphy on Wednesday urged more New Jersey schools to return to in-person learning. He has also said officials are “fully expecting” schools across New Jersey to return for in-person learning “safely and responsibly” when the next school year starts in September.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (30.9%), followed by those 50-64 (23%), 18-29 (19.7%), 65-79 (10.7%), 5-17 (8.9%), 80 and older (4.8%) and 0-4 (1.8%).
On average, the virus has been more deadly for older residents, especially those with preexisting conditions. Nearly half the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents 80 and older (47.07%), followed by those 65-79 (32.79%), 50-64 (15.68%), 30-49 (4.05%), 18-29 (0.37%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,972 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
There are active outbreaks at 240 facilities, resulting in 4,275 active cases among residents and 4,855 among staffers.
As of early Monday afternoon, there have been 123 million positive COVID-19 tests across the globe, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.7 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at 29.8 million, and the most deaths, at more than 542,300.
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