New Jersey health officials reported 5,967 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 94 additional deaths on Thursday as the state expanded vaccination eligibility to another 4 million people for the first time.
The state of 9 million residents has now lost 20,253 residents in the COVID-19 outbreak — 18,162 confirmed deaths and 2,091 considered probable. New Jersey has already announced 1,063 confirmed deaths this month, following 1,890 in December.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced the latest update on Twitter. The state’s next coronavirus briefing is expected Friday in Trenton.
The statewide rate of COVID-19 transmission remained the same Thursday at 1.10. A transmission rate over 1 indicates the outbreak is expanding.
The seven-day average for new confirmed cases is 5,630, down slightly from the new high set a day earlier, but up 17% from a week ago and 13% from a month ago.
Statewide hospitalizations for the virus declined Thursday after three days of increases. Hospitalizations remain far below the more than 8,000 patients from the peak of the first wave in the spring, though health officials are concerned that a recent increase in cases will likely be felt in hospitals next week and into February.
The positivity rate for tests administered on Saturday, the most recent day available, was 13.53% out of 25,913 tests. The positivity rate has been at 10% or higher since Dec. 22.
New has now reported 549,840 total confirmed cases out of more than 8.4 million tests administered since officials announced the state’s first case March 4. There have also been 59,881 positive rapid antigen tests, which the state began reporting publicly last week, though the state has cautioned that could overlap with the confirmed PCR tests.
New Jersey has received 654,900 doses of coronavirus vaccines, according to figures tracked by the CDC. State officials reported that 287,840 doses have been administered — including 253,775 first doses and 33,898 second doses, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. (There are some doses that were recorded without a dose number, resulting in the totals not matching.)
The state has faced criticism for rolling out inoculations too slowly. Officials stress there may be an undercounting of the number of vaccines administered because of reporting delays and New Jersey, like other states, is depending on the federal government for its supply.
Murphy announced Wednesday people over 65 years old, as well as people with chronic health conditions and smokers are now eligible to get vaccinations.
Officials have said doses should be available for the general public by April or May. Health officials have said they hope to vaccinate 70% of its adult residents — about 4.7 million people — by the end of May.
In recent days, the state has opened the first two of its six planned “mega-sites” for mass vaccinations. There are also vaccines currently available at 128 locations throughout the state, including local health departments, ShopRite stores, and pharmacies.
More than 1.2 million people have registered to get their vaccine when they become eligible as of Wednesday.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES (sorted by most new)
- Middlesex County: 52,202 confirmed cases (611 new), 1,567 confirmed deaths (216 probable)
- Essex County: 53,161 confirmed cases (591 new), 2,202 confirmed deaths (257 probable)
- Bergen County: 53,264 confirmed cases (573 new), 2,130 confirmed deaths (267 probable)
- Monmouth County: 38,325 confirmed cases (524 new), 1,038 confirmed deaths (102 probable)
- Hudson County: 50,262 confirmed cases (519 new), 1,599 confirmed deaths (170 probable)
- Ocean County: 38,405 confirmed cases (499 new), 1,410 confirmed deaths (91 probable)
- Camden County: 32,833 confirmed cases (342 new), 845 confirmed deaths (67 probable)
- Union County: 40,694 confirmed cases (335 new), 1,421 confirmed deaths (186 probable)
- Passaic County: 43,423 confirmed cases (301 new), 1,365 confirmed deaths (159 probable)
- Morris County: 23,620 confirmed cases (284 new), 817 confirmed deaths (194 probable)
- Burlington County: 24,973 confirmed cases (230 new), 607 confirmed deaths (52 probable)
- Gloucester County: 16,755 confirmed cases (219 new), 419 confirmed deaths (21 probable)
- Atlantic County: 14,583 confirmed cases (216 new), 382 confirmed deaths (18 probable)
- Mercer County: 21,161 confirmed cases (160 new), 726 confirmed deaths (38 probable)
- Somerset County: 14,456 confirmed cases (149 new), 612 confirmed deaths (94 probable)
- Cumberland County: 9,270 confirmed cases (106 new), 243 confirmed deaths (12 probable)
- Sussex County: 5,677 confirmed cases (78 new), 183 confirmed deaths (51 probable)
- Warren County: 4,704 confirmed cases (59 new), 173 confirmed deaths (14 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 4,572 confirmed cases (51 new), 88 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Salem County: 3,410 confirmed cases (48 new), 113 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Cape May County: 2,780 confirmed cases (41 new), 130 confirmed deaths (20 probable)
There were 3,638 patients hospitalized in New Jersey with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday night. It was 88 fewer than the previous night.
That included 644 in critical or intensive care (six fewer than the previous night), with 456 on ventilators (four more).
There were 495 COVID-19 patients discharged Wednesday, 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 7,606 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 428 facilities, resulting in 6,510 active cases among residents and 7,034 among staffers.
As of Thursday morning, there were more than 92.4 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.98 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 23 million, and the most deaths, at more than 384,700.