Gov. Phil Murphy on Sunday announced an additional 2,043 cases of the coronavirus and four new deaths, as he urged residents to continue to take the pandemic seriously.
Murphy has said New Jersey is entering the second wave of the virus and that new restrictions were likely to be coming soon, but he has not disclosed details.
“We’re still in the middle of a pandemic and need everyone to take this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands. Use common sense,” Murphy said in a tweet Sunday announcing the latest figures.
On Saturday, New Jersey officials reported 3,207 more cases of the coronavirus – the highest number of new daily cases since April 27 when the state was still in the midst of the initial outbreak peak – and 11 additional deaths.
The highest number of new positive tests reported since the outbreak began was 4,391 on April 17. During the month of April, there were more than 3,000 new cases on all but three days.
The high number of cases is almost sure to lead to new restrictions in the state.
“We’re working on making sure that we’ve got a right balance between strategic, scalpel-like actions and some broader actions that we will almost certainly take sooner than later,” Murphy said during a Friday public appearance.
New Jersey has been in Stage 2 of the five-stage reopening plan since June 15, when outdoor dining and non-essential retail were allowed to reopen at limited capacity. Some elements of Stage 3 have also been introduced, including gyms and limited entertainment.
The four additional confirmed coronavirus fatalities bring the death toll to 16,429 — 14,629 confirmed and 1,800 probable deaths. Murphy did not say when the new deaths occurred.
There were 1,439 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across the Garden State’s 71 hospitals as of Saturday night.
There were 284 patients in critical or intensive care (eight more than the night before), including 89 on ventilators (13 more).
There were 197 coronavirus patients discharged Saturday, according to the state’s online dashboard.
New Jersey had more than 8,000 patients hospitalized at the peak of the outbreak in April.
New Jersey’s latest transmission rate of 1.23, down slightly from 1.24 on Saturday and 1.25 on Friday. The rate has hovered around those numbers since a recent low of 1.13 on Oct. 20.
That’s much lower than when the rate was above 5 toward the end of March. But any number above 1 means each newly infected person, on average, is spreading the virus to at least one other person. Any number below 1 means the virus’ spread is decreasing.
A transmission rate of 1.23 means every 100 infected people will spread the virus to 123 others.
Since the start of the school year, at least 146 New Jersey students and educators have either contracted COVID-19 or passed it on to someone else while in the classroom, walking around their schools or participating in extracurricular activities, state officials said.
The 146 cases were part of 36 confirmed school outbreaks that local health investigations concluded were the result of students and teachers catching the coronavirus 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 (25.1%), 18-29 (17.9%), 65-79 (12.1%), 80 and older (7.7%), 5-17 (4.6%), and 0-4 (0.9%).
On average, the virus has been more deadly for older residents, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Nearly half the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents 80 and older (47.86%), followed by those 65-79 (31.54%), 50-64 (15.83%), 30-49 (4.36%), 18-29 (0.38%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,230 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Officials warned Monday that while a larger percentage of younger people had been contracting the virus in recent months, older people are now getting it at a faster clip.
Meanwhile, at least 17,500 more people in New Jersey have died this year than would be expected, state mortality data shows, which suggests the pandemic has claimed even more lives than state totals, according to an ongoing analysis by NJ Advance Media.
As of Saturday, there have been more than 49.97 million positive COVID-19 tests across the globe, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.25 million people have died.
The United States has the most positive tests in the world, with more than 9.8 million, and the most deaths, at more than 23,000.