New Jersey on Wednesday reported 953 more coronavirus positive tests — the second consecutive day of more than 900 cases — and nine additional deaths as Ocean County once again led the way, with 20% of the state’s new cases.
Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 across the state were also above 600 for the eighth straight day and remain at their highest mark in more than two months.
And the statewide rate of transmission dipped slightly, to 1.15, though that’s still above the critical benchmark of 1 that shows the outbreak here is expanding. The rate has been above 1 for more than five weeks.
New Jersey, an early coronavirus epicenter, has now reported 2016,023 total COVID-19 cases out of more than 4 million tests in the more than seven months since the state first case was reported March 4. The state of 9 million people has reported 16,191 deaths attributed to the virus in that time — 14,402 lab-confirmed and 1,789 considered probable.
New Jersey’s death toll is the fourth highest in the U.S., after New York, Texas, and California. The Garden State has the nation’s highest COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 residents.
The state’s daily numbers are still far below the state’s spring peak, when officials regularly announced thousands of new cases and hundreds of new deaths a day and more than 8,000 coronavirus patients were hospitalized. And despite the recent case surges, the state’s daily new deaths have remained flat, hovering around single digits for the last few months.
But Murphy said Tuesday the state still has “work to do to beat this virus” as new cases and hospitalizations have increased in recent weeks. State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said last week officials are “anticipating a second wave” and said it could “become a surge” if residents don’t keep wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands.
The state’s seven-day rolling average for daily new cases is now 894, including a high of 1,301 cases reported on Thursday. That’s a 32% increase from the rolling average a week earlier.
Plus, it’s just barely high enough to mean New Jersey would qualify for its own quarantine travel advisory if the numbers were calculated today. There’s currently 38 states and territories on the advisory, which is updated weekly on Tuesdays. Travelers from those areas are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving here, including New Jersey residents.
Ocean County on Wednesday once again led the state, with 194 new cases, followed by Essex County with 83 and Monmouth County with 80.
Officials say number of factors are contributing to the rise in cases this fall, including community spread among college students and teens, an outbreak in Lakewood — Ocean County’s largest municipality — from the recent Jewish holidays, and a sharp increase in testing statewide.
It’s unclear how many tests Wednesday’s new caseload is drawn from. But the state has been averaging between 25,000 and 35,000 tests a day recently.
Murphy has said the state’s testing capacity is “the silver lining” in this.
“Our positivity rates are still relatively low, but they’re still higher than we’d like,” the governor said Tuesday afternoon during an interview on CNN.
Still, Murphy said Tuesday he’s more likely to take a “scalpel” approach to fighting outbreaks, targeting hotspots or taking smaller steps, rather than reinstating widespread restrictions similar to the state lockdown he ordered in the spring.
“Could we reassess our capacity limits? Perhaps,” he added.
“I do hope it’s sooner than later,” the governor said.
In addition, Murphy said Tuesday the state is still not aware of any outbreaks related to the fundraiser President Donald Trump held at his Bedminster golf club Oct. 1, hours before Trump tested positive for the virus.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES (sorted by most new cases)
- Ocean County: 15,578 positive tests (194 new), 988 confirmed deaths (66 probable)
- Essex County: 22,018 positive tests (83 new), 1,904 confirmed deaths (230 probable)
- Monmouth County: 13,020 positive tests (80 new), 776 confirmed deaths (92 probable)
- Bergen County: 23,391 positive tests (73 new), 1,808 confirmed deaths (242 probable)
- Middlesex County: 20,552 positive tests (73 new), 1,234 confirmed deaths (202 probable)
- Passaic County: 19,768 positive tests (69 new), 1,117 confirmed deaths (141 probable)
- Burlington County: 7,662 positive tests (68 new), 462 confirmed deaths (41 probable)
- Hudson County: 21,347 positive tests (61 new), 1,361 confirmed deaths (159 probable)
- Union County: 18,375 positive tests (52 new), 1,195 confirmed deaths (167 probable)
- Camden County: 10,590 positive tests (44 new), 563 confirmed deaths (53 probable)
- Gloucester County: 5,043 positive tests (41 new), 226 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
- Morris County: 8,230 positive tests (21 new), 688 confirmed deaths (144 probable)
- Mercer County: 8,866 positive tests (18 new), 602 confirmed deaths (35 probable)
- Atlantic County: 4,532 positive tests (17 new), 250 confirmed deaths (11 probable)
- Somerset County: 6,060 positive tests (14 new), 513 confirmed deaths 74 probable)
- Salem County: 1,125 positive tests (7 new), 83 confirmed deaths (5 probable)
- Cumberland County: 3,882 positive tests (5 new), 152 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 1,466 positive tests (5 new), 72 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Warren County: 1,493 positive tests (5 new), 158 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Cape May County: 1,058 positive tests (3 new), 89 confirmed deaths (9 probable)
- Sussex County: 1,584 positive tests (3 new), 161 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
New Jersey’s latest transmission rate of 1.15 is down from the 1.16 reported Monday and Tuesday after hitting a recent high of 1.27 on Oct. 5.
Any number above 1 means each newly infected person, on average, is spreading the virus to at least one other person. Any number below 1 means the virus is decreasing.
A positivity rate of 1.15 means every 100 infected people will spread the virus to 115 others.
There were 699 patients across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday night. That’s 51 more than the night before.
That includes 168 patients in critical or intensive care (eight more than the night before), including 58 on ventilators (the same as the night before).
There were 71 coronavirus patients discharged Tuesday, according to the state’s dashboard.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents that have caught the virus (31%), followed by those 50-64 (25.9%), 18-29 (17.1%), 65-79 (12.9%), 80 and older (8.7%), 5-17 (3.5%), and 0-4 (0.7%).
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 of residents 80 and older (47.2%), followed by those 65-79 (32.2%), 50-64 (15.9%), 30-49 (4.3%), 18-29 (0.4%), 5-17 (0%), and 0-4 (0%).
At least 7,185 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been of residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Murphy said Tuesday the state’s current outbreak is a “more younger reality than it was in the spring.”
“That doesn’t mean our long-term care facilities and our seniors are out of the woods,” he dded. “But the average case is younger than it was before.”
The pandemic and its aftermath have also taken a major toll on the state’s economy. More than 1.65 million residents have filed for unemployment, businesses have lost untold revenue, and numerous businesses have closed permanently.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, there have been more than 38.3 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.08 million people have died.
The United States has the most positive tests in the world, at more than 7.87 million, and the most deaths, at more than 216,200.
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