New Jersey’s first coronavirus report of 2021 included 5,541 more cases and another 119 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, though the rate of spread and statewide hospitalizations for the illness both fell for the third straight day.
“As we begin the new year, stay vigilant,” Murphy tweeted. “Social distance. Mask up.”
The governor also thanked the state’s residents and first responders for what they endured in the face of the pandemic in 2020.
“Grateful for ALL New Jerseyans who stepped up, stayed in, and came together to get us through 2020,” Murphy tweeted. “A special shoutout to our first responders and those on the front lines of the #COVID19 crisis. On behalf of all nine million of us – THANK YOU.”
This is the first time since Dec. 5-6 the state has reported back-to-back days of more than 5,000 cases.
After three straight days below 3,000, New Jersey’s seven-day average for new positive tests is now 4,008 as the state continues to battle a second wave of the pandemic. Still, that average is down 2% from a month ago and down 13% from a week ago.
Meanwhile, the state has announced 90 or more deaths in each of the last four days. Murphy did not say when the 119 deaths reported Friday occurred. Some may have happened days, if not weeks ago, and were only recently confirmed.
The statewide rate of transmission dropped to 0.93, down from 0.94 the day before. The rate has been fluctuating in recent days, but that’s the lowest it’s been since Sept. 1. Any number over 1 means each person who gets COVID-19 is spreading the disease to more than one person, and keeping the rate below 1 is critical to suppressing the pandemic.
The statewide positivity rate for Sunday, the date with the most recent available data, was 11.14%.
Statewide hospitalizations dropped for the third consecutive day, to 3,625 patients being treated for confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases as of Thursday night. That’s much lower than the more than 8,000 patients at the peak of the first wave in April. However, hospitalizations have been above 3,500 since Dec. 8 and have been fluctuating in recent days.
The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care held steady at 693, but the number on ventilators increased to 471.
New Jersey has reported 482,861 total coronavirus cases out of more than 7.79 million tests in the nearly 10 months since the state reported its first case March 4.
The state of 9 million residents has now reported 19,160 deaths — 17,139 confirmed and 2,021 probable fatalities from complications related to the virus.
Officials have said the transmission rate is dropping because cases aren’t increasing at the same clip they were during the first wave in the spring, when the state was still learning how to fight the virus. They also say deaths will likely continue to rise even though the transmission rate is falling because fatalities are a lagging figure.
VACCINATIONS AND RESTRICTIONS
Health officials had administered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines to nearly 63,000 residents as of mid-week, the state said Wednesday.
Officials hope to vaccinate 70% of New Jersey adult residents — about 4.7 million people — in the next six months. The state is rolling out the vaccine in phases, with healthcare workers and people who live in congregant settings like nursing homes and prisons in the first phase. Officials have said doses should be available for the general public by April or May.
New Jersey unveiled a website this week where people can sign up to receive a vaccine in “the near future,” Murphy said Wednesday. The website — covid19.nj.gov/vaccine — doesn’t currently allow people to register or pre-register for the vaccine.
Meanwhile, all indoor organized sports at the youth, high school, and adult recreational levels in New Jersey can resume Saturday, with restrictions, after being put on hold for four weeks to help fight the pandemic.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY NUMBERS (sorted by most new cases)
- Hudson County: 44,505 positive tests (565 new), 1,539 confirmed deaths (168 probable)
- Essex County: 47,699 positive tests (502 new), 2,149 confirmed deaths (250 probable)
- Monmouth County: 32,339 positive tests (494 new), 946 confirmed deaths (103 probable)
- Bergen County: 47,570 positive tests (473 new), 2,067 confirmed deaths (263 probable)
- Middlesex County: 45,268 positive tests (457 new), 1,464 confirmed deaths (219 probable)
- Ocean County: 32,872 positive tests (441 new), 1,299 confirmed deaths (82 probable)
- Union County: 36,834 positive tests (334 new), 1,378 confirmed deaths (181 probable)
- Passaic County: 40,161 positive tests (306 new), 1,303 confirmed deaths (157 probable)
- Morris County: 20,389 positive tests (294 new), 787 confirmed deaths (178 probable)
- Burlington County: 21461 positive tests (291 new), 576 confirmed deaths (51 probable)
- Camden County: 28,910 positive tests (281 new), 762 confirmed deaths (65 probable)
- Gloucester County: 14,293 positive tests (184 new), 380 confirmed deaths (17 probable)
- Mercer County: 18,920 positive tests (169 new), 685 confirmed deaths (40 probable)
- Somerset County: 12,760 positive tests (168 new), 578 confirmed deaths (88 probable)
- Atlantic County: 12,329 positive tests (138 new), 353 confirmed deaths (17 probable)
- Cumberland County: 7,952 positive tests (112 new), 219 confirmed deaths (10 probable)
- Sussex County: 4,542 positive tests (106 new), 172 confirmed deaths (43 probable)
- Warren County: 3,978 positive tests (56 new), 170 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 3,799 positive tests (55 new), 85 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Salem County: 2,793 positive tests (35 new), 105 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
- Cape May County: 2,412 positive tests (24 new), 122 confirmed deaths (15 probable)
There were 3,625 patients hospitalized in New Jersey with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases as of Thursday nigh. That is 91 fewer than the night before.
That number included 693 patients in critical or intensive care (the same as the previous night), with 471 on ventilators (nine more than the previous day).
There were 439 COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals Thursday, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.
There have been 108 in-school coronavirus outbreaks in New Jersey involving 546 students, teachers and staff since the school year began in late August, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
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. Though the numbers keep rising every week, Murphy has said the school outbreak statistics remain below what state officials were expecting when schools reopened for in-person classes.
The extensive rules for schools, which include social distancing guidelines for classrooms and strict mask requirements, have made them among the safest places in the state, the governor said.
But at least 83 students or staff members caught COVID-19 at one Essex County school in what appears to be the largest outbreak reported in a single New Jersey school building, according to new state data.
Though the state has released minimal information about the cases, most of the outbreaks have involved 10 or fewer people catching the virus at each school. In November, an unidentified Union County school reported an outbreak in which at least 23 people got sick.
New Jersey defines school outbreaks as cases where contract tracers determined two or more students or school staff caught or transmitted COVID-19 in the classroom or during academic activities at school.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31.4%), followed by those 50-64 (23.9%), 18-29 (19%), 65-79 (11.2%), 80 and older (5.7%), 5-17 (7%) and 0-4 (1.5%).
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%), followed by those 65-79 (32.8%), 50-64 (15.7%), 30-49 (4.1%), 18-29 (0.4%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,521 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. That number has been rising again at a steeper rate in recent weeks. There are currently active outbreaks at 427 facilities, resulting in 5,681 active cases among residents and 6,171 among staffers.
As of early Friday afternoon, there were more than 83.7 million positive COVID-19 tests around the globe, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.82 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 20 million, and the most deaths, at more than 346,400.
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