Three weeks after officials declared a third wave of the pandemic was hitting the state, New Jersey on Wednesday reported another 2,961 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and an additional 46 confirmed deaths, while more than 3 in 10 adults have been fully vaccinated in the state.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced the update at his latest COVID-19 briefing in Trenton, saying that the state’s numbers are “still not where we need them to be” but have improved in the last week or so.
“They are showing a trend that is beginning to build in the right direction,” Murphy added.
Murphy also said he expects to have details next week on further easing safety restrictions in the state, though he stressed reopening will continue to be incremental and not in one fell swoop.
“We … owe people our best guess as to what it’s gonna look like for graduations, summer on the beaches, and whatnot,” the governor said.
The state’s seven-day average for new confirmed positive tests is now 2,961, down 4% from a week ago and 11% from a month ago.
Nearly 2.6 million people have been fully vaccinated in the state as of Tuesday — about 37% of the state’s 6.9 million adult residents. The state’s goal is to fully vaccinate 70% of its eligible adult population — about 4.7 million people — by the end of June.
In all, more than 6.2 million vaccine doses have been administered in New Jersey, with nearly 3.9 million people receiving at least one dose.
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 rose slightly for the second straight day, with 2,114 patients across the state’s 71 hospitals as of Tuesday night — an increase of five patients.
The state’s rate of transmission increased slightly to 0.93 after two days at 0.92. The rate had dropped steadily in recent weeks after reaching 1.07 on April 5. Any number over 1 indicates that the outbreak is growing, with each new case leading to at least one other case. A declining transmission rate means the spread is slowing.
The statewide positivity rate for tests conducted on Saturday, the most recent day available, was 10.94% based on 21,242 test. Positivity tests tend to be higher on the weekends when fewer tests are conducted. The percent positivity on weekdays last week ranged between 7.5% and 8.5%.
New Jersey has so far not come close to matching the prediction models that Murphy’s administration released last month to warn about the third wave. The models showed the state could peak at 5,445 daily cases and 2,669 people hospitalized with COVID-19 under a moderate scenario on April 18, which was Sunday. The worst-case scenario said the state could peak at 8,162 cases and 3,664 people hospitalized on May 18. But officials stressed those were just projections and that human behavior, including mask-wearing and social distancing, could prevent those scenarios from happening.
In all, New Jersey has now reported 865,733 confirmed coronavirus cases out of slightly more than 13 million PCR tests in the nearly 14 months since the state reported its first case on March 4, 2020. There have also been 121,617 positive antigen tests. Those cases are considered probable, and health officials have warned that positive antigen tests could overlap with the confirmed PCR tests because they are sometimes given in tandem.
The state of 9 million people has reported 25,271 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19 — including 22,660 confirmed deaths and 2,611 fatalities considered probable. The probable deaths, which are revised weekly, increased Wednesday by 19 fatalities.
New Jersey has the most coronavirus deaths per capita among American states.
Dr. Edward Lifshitz, director of the state Department of Health’s communicable disease service, said there’s no magic percentage of the population that needs to be vaccinated to get to herd immunity.
“The higher your overall immunity gets in the population, the more you can expect to see numbers drop,” Lifshitz said. “But there’s not going to be one exact number where we get to 50%, 52%, or 70% where you can say, ‘That’s it, we’re not going to be seeing anymore transmission.’”
Still, Lifshitz noted that the state has begun to see cases drop dramatically among the state’s oldest population, which was among the first to become eligible for the vaccine.
So far, 83% of people 65 to 79 in New Jersey have received at least one vaccine dose in New Jersey, followed by 76% of those 80 and older, 62% of those 50 to 64, 46% of those 30 to 49, 27% of those 16 to 29.
- ATLANTIC COUNTY – 196,789 doses administered
- BERGEN COUNTY – 697,555 doses administered
- BURLINGTON COUNTY – 328,875 doses administered
- CAMDEN COUNTY – 363,569 doses administered
- CAPE MAY COUNTY – 78,903 doses administered
- CUMBERLAND COUNTY – 85,287 doses administered
- ESSEX COUNTY – 484,559 doses administered
- GLOUCESTER COUNTY – 220,411 doses administered
- HUDSON COUNTY – 385,076 doses administered
- HUNTERDON COUNTY – 90,057 doses administered
- MERCER COUNTY – 247,200 doses administered
- MIDDLESEX COUNTY – 551,295 doses administered
- MONMOUTH COUNTY – 456,207 doses administered
- MORRIS COUNTY – 434,685 doses administered
- OCEAN COUNTY – 367,371 doses administered
- PASSAIC COUNTY – 292,047 doses administered
- SALEM COUNTY – 38,705 doses administered
- SOMERSET COUNTY – 256,967 doses administered
- SUSSEX COUNTY – 96,130 doses administered
- UNION COUNTY – 348,421 doses administered
- WARREN COUNTY – 61,613 doses administered
- UNKNOWN COUNTY – 3,465 doses administered
- OUT OF STATE – 149,972 doses administered
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY NUMBERS (sorted by most new)
- Essex County: 84,692 confirmed cases (368 new), 2,565 confirmed deaths (295 probable)
- Passaic County: 63,335 confirmed cases (367 new), 1,650 confirmed deaths (195 probable)
- Middlesex County: 83,729 confirmed cases (268 new), 2,026 confirmed deaths (246 probable)
- Bergen County: 86,586 confirmed cases (264 new), 2,508 confirmed deaths (294 probable)
- Hudson County: 77,617 confirmed cases (236 new), 1,989 confirmed deaths (210 probable)
- Monmouth County: 65,967 confirmed cases (204 new), 1,421 confirmed deaths (139 probable)
- Union County: 58,820 confirmed cases (191 new), 1,684 confirmed deaths (221 probable)
- Ocean County: 63,964 confirmed cases (161 new), 1,927 confirmed deaths (158 probable)
- Camden County: 46,621 confirmed cases (147 new), 1,153 confirmed deaths (98 probable)
- Morris County: 41,166 confirmed cases (120 new), 956 confirmed deaths (249 probable)
- Burlington County: 36,978 confirmed cases (100 new), 759 confirmed deaths (67 probable)
- Gloucester County: 25,393 confirmed cases (97 new), 568 confirmed deaths (30 probable)
- Mercer County: 30,761 confirmed cases (88 new), 877 confirmed deaths (43 probable)
- Somerset County: 23,520 confirmed cases (70 new), 711 confirmed deaths (106 probable)
- Atlantic County: 24,162 confirmed cases (64 new), 610 confirmed deaths (35 probable)
- Cumberland County: 13,970 confirmed cases (47 new), 380 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Salem County: 5,201 confirmed cases (47 new), 162 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Warren County: 8,444 confirmed cases (37 new), 205 confirmed deaths (25 probable)
- Sussex County: 11,156 confirmed cases (34 new), 223 confirmed deaths (67 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 8,504 confirmed cases (31 new), 117 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Cape May County: 4,429 confirmed cases (16 new), 169 confirmed deaths (30 probable)
There were 2,114 patients hospitalized with confirmed (1,961) or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Tuesday night — five more than the previous night, according to state data.
That included 455 in critical or intensive care (three more than the night before), with 248 on ventilators (six fewer).
There were also 262 COVID-19 patients discharged Tuesday, while 263 new patients were admitted.
By comparison, hospitalizations peaked at more than 8,300 patients during the first wave of the pandemic in April and more than 3,800 during the second wave in December.
New Jersey has reported 245 in-school coronavirus outbreaks, which have resulted in 1,094 cases among students, teachers and school staff this academic year, according to state data.
The state 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. 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.
There are about 1.4 million public school students and teachers across the state, though teaching methods amid the outbreak have varied, with some schools teaching in-person, some using a hybrid format and others remaining all-remote.
Murphy has said New Jersey’s schools are expected to return to full in-person classes for the next school year.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (30.9%), followed by those 50-64 (22.7%), 18-29 (19.9%), 65-79 (10.2%), 5-17 (9.7%), 80 and older (4.4%) and 0-4 (2%).
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 (46.66%), followed by those 65-79 (32.91%), 50-64 (15.95%), 30-49 (4.06%), 18-29 (0.39%), 5-17 (0.01%) and 0-4 (0.03%).
At least 8,018 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data.
There are active outbreaks at 233 facilities, resulting in 2,863 active cases among residents and 3,710 among staffers. Those numbers have slowed as vaccinations continue at the facilities.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been more than 143.2 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 3.04 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 31.8 million, and the most deaths, at more than 569,000.