For the second day in a row, New Jersey hit a record number of new daily coronavirus cases, with 4,540 new cases reported on Sunday. An additional 18 deaths were also reported.
Both Saturday and Sunday saw daily new case numbers higher than those seen in April, during the height of the first wave of the pandemic.
“These numbers are ALARMING and continue to rise. Take this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a Sunday afternoon tweet reporting the numbers.
“As we begin the holiday season, plan accordingly and keep social distancing and safety in mind,” Murphy said. “We MUST redouble our efforts and crush the curve like we did last spring. Our lives literally depend on it.”
As of Saturday, the seven-day average for new cases was 3,198, up 50% from a week ago and 258% higher than a month ago. That’s also the highest seven-day average since April 28.
However, it is difficult to directly compare cases from April to now because there were far fewer tests being done in the spring when supplies and testing sites were more limited. It is likely the virus was more rampant in April.
The positivity rate for tests conducted on Monday, the most recent day available, was 8.06%, down from more than 10% over the weekend. The positivity rate remained below 4% throughout the summer.
The state has now had 279,274 positive tests and 16,566 deaths — 14,765 confirmed and 1,801 probable fatalities — since the outbreak began in March.
Before this weekend, the single-day high for positive tests was 4,391 on April 17, when New Jersey hit the peak of the outbreak’s first wave. At the time, though, tests were in short supply. The state has more than doubled its testing capacity since the spring.
It’s possible the current numbers are 10 to 20% higher than those being reported by the state because rapid tests are not included in the daily reports, health officials have said.
As the second wave takes hold, some restrictions have been re-implemented after they were lifted over the summer.
Restaurants and bars have been ordered to close indoor dining by 10 p.m. and the governor signed an executive order this week that allows towns to close nonessential business by 8 p.m.
Murphy and the governors of five other northeastern states are meeting this weekend to discuss possibly coordinating new restrictions to address the spike in COVID-19 cases as a second wave of the coronavirus grips the region. Those scheduled to attend the virtual summit include the governors of New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Vermont.
While cases hit a new high on Sunday, deaths still remain well below where they were in mid-April, when more than 400 people in the state were dying each day.
Part of this is because hospitals have improved treatment for COVID-19, health officials have said. The hospitals are also not as crowded as they were in the spring, though those numbers are also surging again.
State data shows that 2,004 people are currently hospitalized with coronavirus, with 135 people on ventilators. That is the highest number of hospitalizations since June 2.
During the peak of the first wave in April, more than 8,000 people were in New Jersey hospitals fighting the virus.
The statewide rate of transmission increased to 1.38 — much lower than when it was above 5 toward the end of March, but still the highest since the summer. Any rate above 1 means the outbreak is expanding.
North Jersey counties are recording the most new cases, led by Hudson County with 413 new cases reported Saturday. Camden and Bergen counties recorded 400 and 397 new cases, respectively. All but six counties reported at least 100 new cases.
COVID-19 cases are surging all over the country. The United States recorded more than 180,000 new cases on Friday, by far the largest number of new daily cases seen during the pandemic. Nearly 1,400 people died from the virus nationwide on Friday.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY NUMBERS (sorted by most new)
- Hudson County: 26,894 positive tests (413 new), 1,386 confirmed deaths (158 probable)
- Camden County: 14,863 positive tests (400 new), 596 confirmed deaths (53 probable)
- Bergen County: 29,223 positive tests (397 new), 1,837 confirmed deaths (246 probable)
- Passaic County: 24,876 positive tests (384 new), 1,138 confirmed deaths (141 probable)
- Union County: 24,156 positive tests (354 new), 1,225 confirmed deaths (168 probable)
- Essex County: 30,216 positive tests (346 new), 1,942 confirmed deaths (230 probable)
- Middlesex County: 25,744 positive tests (346 new), 1,261 confirmed deaths (203 probable)
- Burlington County: 10,527 positive tests (300 new), 485 confirmed deaths (41 probable)
- Monmouth County: 16,689 positive tests (280 new), 787 confirmed deaths (92 probable)
- Ocean County: 18,635 positive tests (223 new), 1,021 confirmed deaths (66 probable)
- Mercer County: 11,060 positive tests (219 new), 611 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Morris County: 11,195 positive tests (179 new), 704 confirmed deaths (146 probable)
- Gloucester County: 7,068 positive tests (157 new), 248 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
- Somerset County: 7,648 positive tests (138 new), 529 confirmed deaths (75 probable)
- Atlantic County: 6,555 positive tests (110 new), 260 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 1,981 positive tests (49 new), 73 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Warren County: 2,024 positive tests (47 new), 158 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Sussex County: 2,080 positive tests (45 new), 162 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Cape May County: 1,349 positive tests (39 new), 95 confirmed deaths (10 probable)
- Cumberland County: 4,455 positive tests (28 new), 162 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Salem County: 1,352 positive tests (28 new), 85 confirmed deaths (5 probable)
On Sunday, there were 2,004 patients in hospitals confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, up 4 from Saturday.
New Jersey has 392 people in intensive care (22 more than on Saturday) and 135 people on ventilators (up one from Saturday).
The state said 231 COVID-19 patients were discharged from the hospital on Saturday.
The state’s transmission rate has climbed to 1.38 on Saturday, up from 1.35 on Friday. That’s up from a recent low of 1.13 on Oct. 20.
A rate of 1.38 means that 100 people with the virus will transmit it to 138 people.
Over time, that means the virus is growing among the population.
Since the start of the school year, at least 193 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 193 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.
As of Saturday afternoon, there have been more than 54 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 10.9 million, and the most deaths, with more than 245,600.