New Jersey on Friday reported another 4,100 new cases of the coronavirus and 19 additional deaths as Gov. Phil Murphy warned the state is “still in the midst of this pandemic” and urged people to protect themselves.
While the number of new cases has risen above 4,000 for 10 of the past 14 days, the number of people hospitalized dropped slightly for the second day in a row and the rate of transmission monitoring the spread of the virus also ticked down from 1.21 on Thursday to 1.18.
But any number above one means the virus is still spreading and New Jersey’s 7-day rolling average is 4,199 — the highest to date. It’s up 7.9% since last week, and 213% since last month.
Though the seven-day average of cases has been higher than the pandemic’s first wave, the comparison can be deceiving because the state was conducting less than 12,000 tests a day in the spring and the outbreak was likely undercounted. The state is now averaging around 45,000 tests a day, and that does not include recently deployed rapid tests.
There have now been a total of 326,473 cases in the state and 16,942 deaths, which includes 15,113 lab-confirmed deaths and 1,829 deemed probable.
Fifteen of New Jersey’s 21 counties reported at least 100 new cases led by Bergen County with 535 positive tests.
The latest numbers were reported a day after Thanksgiving, when Murphy urged families not to get together to avoid the spread of the virus.
He announced Wednesday that New Jersey is abandoning the state-by-state formula it has used the last five months to determine its travel quarantine advisory formula, as virtually the entire country qualified for the list. Instead, he said anybody traveling to any places that aren’t neighboring states should abide by a 14-day quarantine.
Officials say initial doses of a coronavirus vaccine could arrive in New Jersey by Christmas, with priority going to vulnerable residents and health care workers. But a larger rollout could happen by April or May.
Still, Murphy has warned the next few months will be “brutal” as more people head indoors because of the colder weather and with the stretch of winter holidays ahead. Officials are calling on residents to keep wearing masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands and limiting gatherings.
Murphy has also said the state is trying to use more “surgical” restrictions to fight the spread, but he has not ruled out another statewide shutdown like he ordered in the spring.
The governor has also said its goal is to keep as much in-person learning at schools as possible.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY NUMBERS (sorted by most new cases)
- Bergen County: 33,875 positive tests (535 new), 1,872 confirmed deaths (250 probable)
- Camden County: 18,378 positive tests (372 new), 617 confirmed deaths (57 probable)
- Essex County: 34,478 positive tests (331 new), 1,993 confirmed deaths (233 probable)
- Hudson County: 30,746 positive tests (323 new), 1,413 confirmed deaths (159 probable)
- Middlesex County: 29,602 positive tests (303 new), 1,281 confirmed deaths (205 probable)
- Ocean County: 21,303 positive tests (293 new), 1,046 confirmed deaths (68 probable)
- Passaic County: 29,148 positive tests (292 new), 1,167 confirmed deaths (144 probable)
- Union County: 27,709 positive tests (256 new), 1,262 confirmed deaths (170 probable)
- Monmouth County: 19,918 positive tests (225 new), 806 confirmed deaths (92 probable)
- Burlington County: 13,217 positive tests (197 new), 499 confirmed deaths (44 probable)
- Morris County: 13,159 positive tests (175 new), 712 confirmed deaths (147 probable)
- Mercer County: 13,414 positive tests (145 new), 622 confirmed deaths (37 probable)
- Gloucester County: 8,711 positive tests (137 new), 269 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
- Atlantic County: 7,754 positive tests (110 new), 270 confirmed deaths (14 probable)
- Somerset County: 8,839 positive tests (108 new), 534 confirmed deaths (75 probable)
- Cumberland County: 4,999 positive tests (61 new), 165 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Sussex County: 2,475 positive tests (41 new), 162 confirmed deaths (37 probable)
- Warren County: 2,414 positive tests (40 new), 160 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 2,380 positive tests (34 new), 77 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Salem County: 1,580 positive tests (29 new), 87 confirmed deaths (5 probable)
- Cape May County: 1,627 positive tests (23 new), 99 confirmed deaths (10 probable)
The number of people being hospitalized dropped slightly Thursday night for the second day in a row in after more than a month of steady increases.
There were 2,796 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Thanksgiving evening. That’s 67 fewer patients compared to Wednesday. There were 2,902 people being hospitalized on Tuesday, the most since May 22.
Of those Thursday evening patients, 559 were in critical or intensive care (four fewer than the night before), including 279 on ventilators (nine fewer).
There were 432 coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals Thursday, according to the state’s online dashboard.
Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have more than tripled over the past month.
Officials say hospitals are now better equipped to treat patients than they were in the spring and are confident they will have enough capacity. But they warn the more cases rise, the more likely hospitalizations — and eventually deaths — will keep growing.
Although hundreds of school districts have announced coronavirus cases and dozens of New Jersey schools have temporarily shut down since the start of the school year, state health officials have said 66 schools have had confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks.
Murphy on Tuesday announced 10 new in-school outbreaks over the past week. There have now been 269 total cases of in-school transmission in those 66 schools since the start of the school year.
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.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31.6%), followed by those 50-64 (24.5%), 18-29 (18.6%), 65-79 (11.6%), 80 and older (6.8%), 5-17 (5.5%) and 0-4 (1.1%).
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 (47.1%), followed by those 65-79 (32.2%), 50-64 (16%), 30-49 (4.3%), 18-29 (0.4%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,281 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.
As of Friday morning, there were more than 61.16 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.43 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 12.89 million) and the most deaths (more than 263,500).