New Jersey reported an additional 5,032 new cases of the coronavirus and 32 new deaths on Sunday, as the rate of transmission continued to climb.
The rate of transmission was 1.08, up from a recently low of .92 on Jan. 4, as cases continue to spike following the holidays. Any number above 1 indicates that the outbreak is expanding.
The seven-day average increased Sunday to 5,185 – the first time it has been over 5,000 since Dec. 12. The average is up 17% from a week ago, but down 1% from a month ago.
The update comes the day after New Jersey reported 6,435 new cases, the most announced in a single day. Officials continue to brace for a surge of high numbers in the wake of Christmas and New Year’s gatherings.
Statewide hospitalizations continued to decline, with 3,589 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday night. That was much lower than the more than 8,000 patients hospitalized at the peak of the first wave in April.
But the statewide rate of transmission increased for the sixth straight day, to 1.08, up from 1.05 a day earlier. The gradual increase in the transmission rate in recent days indicates the virus is spreading at a faster rate after slowing in previous weeks.
The positivity rate for tests conducted on Wednesday, the most recent day available, was 11.94% based on 56,164 tests. The positivity rate has been at 10% or higher since Dec. 22.
New Jersey has now reported 528,054 positive PCR tests out of the more than 8.1 million administered since its first case was announced March 4. The state also reported 56,774 probable cases from the rapid antigen tests, including 753 new antigen positive tests announced Sunday. Those antigen results were made publicly available for the first time on Monday, but officials warned those cases could overlap with the more reliable PCR tests, which are sometimes administered in tandem.
The state of 9 million people has reported 19,886 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic started — 17,827 confirmed and 2,059 probable fatalities.
New Jersey has reported 712 confirmed deaths in the first nine days of the month. The state announced 1,890 deaths in December, the most in a month since May.
New Jersey has received over 572,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines and has administered 200,204 as of Saturday evening, Murphy said in a tweet.
State officials stress there may be an undercounting of the number of vaccines given out because of reporting delays and New Jersey, like other states, is depending on the federal government for its supply.
The state opened its first vaccination mega-sites, in Rockaway and Sewell, on Friday. Four more are expected to open in the coming days.
But officials said the supply is low, and the state is administering the vaccine in phases, with only health care workers, people who live in congregant settings and police and fire professionals currently eligible to receive shots. Officials have said doses should be available for the general public by April or May.
“We’re working strategically and efficiently to vaccinate our frontline health care workers, law enforcement and fire professionals, and long-term care center residents and staff,” Murphy said.
New Jersey hopes to vaccinate 70% of its adult residents — about 4.7 million people — by the end of May.
On Friday, Murphy said that the state did not have the supply from the federal government it needed.
“This is gonna take some time,” Murphy said.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY NUMBERS (sorted by most new)
· Middlesex County: 49,937 total confirmed cases (549 new), 1,537 confirmed deaths (220 probable)
· Monmouth County: 36,462 total confirmed cases (430 new), 999 confirmed deaths (102 probable)
· Bergen County: 51,412 total confirmed cases (430 new), 2,110 confirmed deaths (266 probable)
· Essex County: 51,293 total confirmed cases (423 new), 2,174 confirmed deaths (255 probable)
· Ocean County: 36,536 confirmed cases (355 new), 1,378 confirmed deaths (83 probable)
· Union County: 39,240 total confirmed cases (337 new), 1,410 confirmed deaths (183 probable)
· Hudson County: 48,229 total confirmed cases (329 new), 1,581 confirmed deaths (169 probable)
· Camden County: 31,727 total confirmed cases (248 new), 826 confirmed deaths (66 probable)
· Passaic County: 42,324 total confirmed cases (237 new), 1,351 confirmed deaths (159 probable)
· Morris County: 22,549 total confirmed cases (222 new), 807 confirmed deaths (187 probable)
· Burlington County: 23,841 total confirmed cases (221 new), 601 confirmed deaths (51 probable)
· Mercer County: 20,475 total confirmed cases (197 new), 719 confirmed deaths (39 probable)
· Gloucester County: 16,041 total confirmed cases (154 new), 410 confirmed deaths (20 probable)
· Atlantic County: 13,801 total confirmed cases (138 new), 371 confirmed deaths (17 probable)
· Sussex County: 5,364 total confirmed cases (126 new), 182 confirmed deaths (46 probable)
· Somerset County: 13,865 total confirmed cases (112 new), 600 confirmed deaths (93 probable)
· Warren County: 4,467 total confirmed cases (68 new), 173 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
· Cumberland County: 8,858 total confirmed cases (67 new), 241 confirmed deaths (10 probable)
· Hunterdon County: 4,293 total confirmed cases (64 new), 87 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
· Salem County: 3,260 total confirmed cases (61 new), 110 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
· Cape May County: 2,658 total confirmed cases (23 new), 128 confirmed deaths (19 probable)
There were 3,589 patients hospitalized in New Jersey with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases as of Saturday night — 49 fewer than the previous night.
That included 625 in critical or intensive care (27 fewer than the previous night), with 423 on ventilators (8 more).
There were 459 COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals Saturday, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
There have been 111 in-school coronavirus outbreaks in New Jersey involving 557 students, teachers and staff since the school year began in late August, according to the state 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.
New Jersey defines school outbreaks as cases where contact tracers determined two or more students or school staff caught or transmitted COVID-19 in the classroom or during academic activities at school.
The number of New Jersey school districts with all-remote learning has increased as students return from winter break, Murphy said on Monday.
There are 339 districts that started 2021 remotely — an increase of 18 all-remote districts from Dec. 21. Only 77 school districts are returning with full in-person instruction (down from 82 on Dec. 21), and 348 are returning with a hybrid of in-person or remote instruction (down from 362).
Another 47 districts are using some combination of in-person, hybrid, or all-remote across multiple buildings — one more than Dec. 21.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31.3%), followed by those 50-64 (23.8%), 18-29 (19.2%), 65-79 (11.2%), 80 and older (5.5%), 5-17 (7.3%) 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 (47.49%), followed by those 65-79 (32.29%), 50-64 (15.68%), 30-49 (4.14%), 18-29 (0.36%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (.03%).
At least 7,583 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 months, with deaths at the state’s nursing homes nearly tripling in December.
There are currently active outbreaks at 430 facilities, resulting in 6,441 active cases among residents and 6,826 among staffers.
As of Sunday, there were more than 89.7 million positive COVID-19 tests across the globe, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.9 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 22.1 million, and the most deaths, at more than 372,500.