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Covid-19 State News

N.J. confirms 1st case of more contagious South African COVID variant. Total variant cases up to 145.

New Jersey health officials announced Wednesday the first case of the more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in South Africa has been confirmed in the state.

The case in Hudson County brings the total number of variant cases found in New Jersey to 145, state Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.

“We have been assuming they’re in our midst,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.

The announcement comes a week after two more highly contagious variants — including the first cases of variants originally identified in Brazil and New York — were first identified in the state.

Murphy cited the uncertainty about variants as a reason he has been cautious about lifting more New Jersey restrictions. On Wednesday, he announced that restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, personal care services and amusement venues will be allowed to increase to 50% capacity on March 19. Indoor and outdoor gathering limits will also increase on the same day.

The vast majority of the 145 cases are from the variant discovered in the U.K., which has been found in 19 of 21 counties:
  • Atlantic – 1
  • Bergen – 3
  • Burlington – 14
  • Camden – 1
  • Cape May – 2
  • Essex – 9
  • Gloucester – 1
  • Hudson – 10 (also 2 Brazilian, 1 South African variant)
  • Mercer – 6
  • Middlesex – 15
  • Monmouth – 25
  • Morris – 8
  • Ocean – 29
  • Passaic – 4
  • Salem – 1
  • Somerset – 3
  • Sussex – 1
  • Union – 6
  • Warren – 2

Though the second wave of the pandemic has waned in recent weeks and vaccinations continue, officials have warned that cases and hospitalizations in New Jersey could rise as variants spread.

New Jersey health officials on Wednesday reported another 3,047 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 56 additional confirmed deaths.

In all, New Jersey has now reported 729,403 confirmed coronavirus cases. The state of about 9 million people has reported 23,768 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19, including 21,294 confirmed deaths and 2,474 fatalities considered probable.

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