New Jersey on Friday reported 3,399 more coronavirus cases — the fifth time in seven days officials announced more than 3,000 positive tests — as a second wave of the pandemic continues to hit the state.
The Garden State also reported 28 additional COVID-19 deaths, the most in one day in nearly four months.
The update comes just hours after restaurants and bars in the state began new restrictions that order them to close for indoor dining by 10 p.m. as officials try to stem the outbreak’s resurgence.
Gov. Phil Murphy also signed a new executive order granting counties and towns the authority to force nonessential businesses to close at 8 p.m., though that is optional.
And Murphy will join five other governors of northeastern states at an “emergency summit” this weekend to discuss possibly coordinating new restrictions.
“These numbers speak for themselves,” Murphy wrote on social media Friday afternoon as he unveiled New Jersey’s newest figures. “Wear a mask. Social distance. Wash your hands. Stay safe.”
The message came a day after Murphy has a very Jersey message to people who are fed up with wearing masks.
“You know what’s really uncomfortable and annoying? When you die,” the governor said Thursday during his latest public briefing.
New Jersey’s latest seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3,028, a 62% jump from a week ago and 264% from a month ago. It’s the first time since April 29 — just after the peak of the first wave — that the state’s seven-day average is more than 3,000.
The state’s latest positivity rate, for tests conducted Monday, was 8.06%. That’s lower than the 12.02% from the day before and much lower than the first wave, when tests were in short supply and the rate surpassed 50% in early April. But it’s still noticeably higher than the summer, when the rate stayed below 4%.
Deaths so far have not increased at the rate they did in March and April, when officials regularly announced hundreds of new fatalities a day. They say that’s partly because hospitals are getting better at treating the virus.
But the 28 deaths announced Friday mark the second time in four days the state reported more than 20. They are the most fatalities since officials announced 26 on July 24.
Murphy did not reveal when the newly reported deaths occurred. Some may have happened only days ago, though others may have happened weeks or months ago and were just confirmed.
New Jersey’s hospitals reported 1,909 patients with either confirmed or suspected cases as of Thursday night, according to the state’s online dashboard — far less than the more than 8,000 patients who were hospitalized during the first peak in April but still the most since June 3.
And the statewide rate of transmission increased to 1.32 — significantly lower than when it was above 5 toward the end of March but still the highest since Aug. 5. Any number above 1 means the outbreak is expanding.
Bergen County reported the most new cases Friday, at 358, though increases are spread throughout the state. There were more than 300 cases in Essex, Passaic and Union counties, and more than 200 in Hudson, Camden, Middlesex and Burlington.
It’s difficult to directly compare this surge to the first wave in the spring because the state had vastly lower testing capacity at that time, meaning there may have been many cases that were never detected. The state averaged less than 12,000 tests a day until April but has recently averaged more than 40,000 daily tests. The positivity rates were also more than double what they are now.
Still, there’s no doubt numbers are trending in the wrong direction.
State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said Thursday the rising numbers are “a wake-up call.”
“We need your help,” Persichilli said, calling on residents to keep wearing masks and practicing social distancing. “If we are lax, if we continue on this trajectory, our state will return to the situation we were in last spring.”
There is hope about the potential arrival of a vaccine. Federal officials say the first vaccine may be authorized for emergency use as early as next month and be immediately deployed to high-risk groups, such as health care workers.
“If you think of it metaphorically, the cavalry is coming here,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “Help is really on the way.”
Facui said he hopes shots will be available to all Americans in April, May, and June. Pfizer also boosted hopes this week, saying early data suggests its vaccine is 90% effective.
New Jersey has now reported 270,383 cases out of more than 5.16 million tests in the more than eight months since the state’s first case was announced March 4.
The state of 9 million residents has also reported 16,522 deaths related to COVID-19 in that time frame — 14,721 confirmed and 1,801 considered probable. New Jersey’s death toll is the fifth highest in the United States, after New York, Texas, California and Florida. The Garden State has the nation’s highest COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 residents.
Murphy said Thursday that “by working alongside and through local health and public safety officials, we believe we can have a more effective and efficient means of attacking this virus in this second wave.” He has stopped short of instituting a statewide lockdown like he did in the spring, saying he believes the state can fight the rising numbers with more “surgical” and localized measures.
Murphy was asked Thursday if New Jersey may follow New York and Connecticut’s footsteps in limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people.
“All options are on the table,” the governor said.
Murphy, though, denied rumors that schools in New Jersey are set to close again.
State officials continue to warn that indoor gatherings are driving the spike in cases, as well as fatigue over coronavirus restrictions.
They also say the rise in hospitalization and daily positivity show the case increases are not just because testing is up but because more people are getting sick.
Numbers are rising throughout the country. There were more than 153,000 new coronavirus cases reported nationwide Thursday — a one-day record — while 66,000 people were hospitalized.
New Jersey is now calling on travelers from 45 U.S. states and territories considered coronavirus hot spots to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving here. Five neighboring states also meet the criteria but are exempt.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY NUMBERS (sorted by most new cases)
- Bergen County: 28,436 positive tests (358 new), 1,836 confirmed deaths (246 probable)
- Essex County: 29,216 positive tests (351 new), 1,938 confirmed deaths (230 probable)
- Passaic County: 24,085 positive tests (347 new), 1,136 confirmed deaths (141 probable)
- Union County: 23,463 positive tests (307 new), 1,218 confirmed deaths (168 probable)
- Hudson County: 26,173 positive tests (248 new), 1,383 confirmed deaths (158 probable)
- Camden County: 14,166 positive tests (247 new), 592 confirmed deaths (53 probable)
- Middlesex County: 25,064 positive tests (227 new), 1,260 confirmed deaths (203 probable)
- Burlington County: 10,065 positive tests (201 new), 484 confirmed deaths (41 probable)
- Monmouth County: 16,167 positive tests (196 new), 786 confirmed deaths (92 probable)
- Ocean County: 18,235 positive tests (144 new), 1,020 confirmed deaths (66 probable)
- Gloucester County: 6,758 positive tests (141 new), 246 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
- Morris County: 10,794 positive tests (127 new), 701 confirmed deaths (146 probable)
- Mercer County: 10,629 positive tests (123 new), 609 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Atlantic County: 6,295 positive tests (86 new), 258 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Somerset County: 7,374 positive tests (81 new), 526 confirmed deaths (75 probable)
- Cumberland County: 4,393 positive tests (37 new), 158 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Warren County: 1,941 positive tests (36 new), 158 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Sussex County: 1,995 positive tests (30 new), 162 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Cape May County: 1,289 positive tests (29 new), 92 confirmed deaths (10 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 1,897 positive tests (27 new), 73 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Salem County: 1,309 positive tests (25 new), 85 confirmed deaths (5 probable)
There were 1,909 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across the Garden State’s 71 hospitals as of Thursday night. That’s 82 more than the night before.
There were 359 patients in critical or intensive care (one fewer than the night before), including 129 on ventilators (12 more).
There were 243 coronavirus patients discharged Thursday, according to the state’s online dashboard.
New Jersey’s latest transmission rate of 1.32, up from 1.3 on Thursday. The rate has hovered around those numbers since a recent low of 1.13 on Oct. 20.
A transmission rate of 1.3 means every 100 infected people will spread the virus to 130 others.
Since the start of the school year, at least 192 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 192 cases were part of 51 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 7,249 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
As of Friday afternoon, there have been more than 53 million positive COVID-19 tests across the globe, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.3 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The United States has the most positive tests in the world, with more than 10.6 million, and the most deaths, at more than 242,900