New Jersey reported 4,679 more cases of coronavirus and 34 more deaths on Saturday, while hospital admissions rose for the 22nd day in a row as the second wave of the pandemic continues to block the state.
A day after Newark’s mayor announced that the state’s largest city will ask residents to stay home for 10 days beginning the day before Thanksgiving, government Phil Murphy did not announce new restrictions Saturday to fight the second wave.
But Murphy, who repeats the biggest federal infectious expert Dr. Anthony Fauci̵
Officials continued to urge residents to wear masks, practice social distance, wash their hands and keep the upcoming series of festive celebrations small.
“The numbers speak for themselves. Take this seriously. Use a mask. Social distance. Avoid large gatherings, ”Murphy said on Twitter.
On a bright note, officials also announced Friday that New Jersey could receive up to 160,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine before Christmas if the company wins approval for emergency use from the federal government.
And if Moderna’s vaccine takes a similar path, it could mean a total of 460,000 vaccine doses in the state in early January, while a wider rollout to the general population could come in April or May.
New Jersey has now announced 302,039 positive tests in total out of more than 5.5 million tests administered since the start of the eruption in March.
The state with 9 million inhabitants has reported 16,746 coronavirus deaths at that time, including 14,934 confirmed deaths and 1,812 considered probable.
After Friday was the first time in four days, New Jersey reported fewer than 4,000 new cases, and cases shot up again after benchmarking on Saturday.
The state seven-day average for new positive tests rose to 3,933 – an increase of 23% from a week ago and 278% in a month.
The seven-day average of cases is now higher than the first wave of the pandemic, though the comparison is deceptive because the state conducted less than 12,000 tests a day at the time and the outbreak was likely under-counted.
The state has an average of about 45,000 tests a day this month, and that number does not include newly implemented rapid tests.
Murphy reminded residents that more than 400 test sites are available throughout the state.
Yet, key figures used by health officials to track the outbreak are continuing in the wrong direction.
There were 2,552 patients with confirmed or suspected cases of coronavirus at New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Friday night. That is much lower than the 8,000 admitted to the hospital in April, but most since May 28. Admissions have almost tripled over the last month.
Of the 2,552 patients, 486 were in intensive or critical care, and 232 were in ventilators. Despite 305 discharges on Friday, it was the 22nd day of hikes.
The degree of positivity for tests performed on Tuesday, the last available day, was 8.66%. The rate throughout last week had remained above 8% after being below 4% through the summer.
The latest transfer rate across the state dropped to 1.38. Any number above 1 means that the eruption continues to expand. New Jersey has been above this mark since early September.
Fourteen of 21 counties reported at least 100 new cases on Saturday led by the counties of Essex (536), Camden (435) and Bergen (427).
The state did not announce when the 34 recently reported deaths occurred.
The update comes as coronavirus cases, deaths and hospitalizations increase in the United States, and waiting times and long queues at test sites have increased dramatically.
Murphy has previously said that New Jersey’s numbers are rising because people are tired of complying with virus restrictions like wearing masks and gathering more indoors when the weather gets colder, especially in private homes.
To combat the spread, Murphy has ordered indoor bars and restaurants in New Jersey to close at 6 p.m. 22 every day and canceled interstate indoor sports up in high school. Indoor gatherings are now limited to 10 people, down from 25, and as of Monday, outdoor gatherings are limited to 150, down from 500.
Murphy has stopped short of ordering yet another state closure as he did in the spring, but has stressed that all options remain on the table.
COUNTRY-BY-COUNTRY NUMBER (sorted by most new)
- Essex County: 32,441 positive tests (536 new), 1,968 confirmed deaths (230 probable)
- Camden County: 16,540 positive tests (435 new), 608 confirmed deaths (56 probable)
- Bergen County: 31,447 positive tests (427 new), 1,855 confirmed deaths (246 probable)
- Passaic County: 26,806 positive tests (404 new), 1,155 confirmed deaths (144 probable)
- Hudson County: 28,764 positive tests (393 new), 1,399 confirmed deaths (158 probable)
- Monmouth County: 18,335 positive tests (332 new), 795 confirmed deaths (92 probable)
- Union County: 25,763 positive tests (288 new), 1,246 confirmed deaths (171 probable)
- Burlington County: 11,699 positive tests (284 new), 490 confirmed deaths (41 probable)
- Middlesex County: 27,671 positive tests (260 new), 1,271 confirmed deaths (203 probable)
- Gloucester County: 7,947 positive tests (235 new), 258 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
- Ocean County: 19,880 positive tests (233 new), 1,029 confirmed deaths (67 probable)
- Morris County: 12,085 positive tests (202 new), 707 confirmed deaths (147 probable)
- Mercer County: 12,257 positive tests (166 new), 615 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Atlantic County: 7,162 positive tests (137 new), 265 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Somerset County: 8,251 positive tests (99 new), 532 confirmed deaths (75 probable)
- Cumberland County: 4,689 positive tests (54 new), 162 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Sussex County: 2,278 positive tests (34 new), 162 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Warren County: 2,215 positive tests (34 new), 160 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 2,186 positive tests (31 new), 76 confirmed deaths (54 likely)
- Cape May County: 1,516 positive tests (22 new), 95 confirmed deaths (10 probable)
- Salem County: 1,457 positive tests (17 new), 86 confirmed deaths (5 probable)
There were 2,505 patients with confirmed (2,272) or suspected (233) COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Wednesday night. That’s 34 more than the night before.
Of these, 452 are in critical or intensive care (four fewer than the night before), including 233 in ventilators (17 more).
There were 333 coronavirus patients admitted and 290 were discharged Monday, according to the state’s online dashboard.
New Jersey’s 71 acute hospitals are currently two-thirds full, according to the New Jersey Hospital Association. The patient age tends to be younger, resulting in shorter hospital stays, and hospitals have become better at treating the virus.
New Jersey’s latest transmission rate of 1.38 is lower than the reported Friday of 1.40.
This is far lower than when the rate was above 5 towards the end of March, when the extent of the outbreak was still in focus and testing was scarce.
But any number above 1 means that, on average, each newly infected person spreads the virus to at least one other person. Any number below 1 means that the outbreak is decreasing.
A transmission rate of 1.38 means that every 100 infected people spread the virus to 138 others.
Although hundreds of school districts have reported coronavirus cases, and dozens of New Jersey schools have been temporarily closed since the start of the school year, state health officials have said 56 schools have confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks.
The State Dashboard shows 239 cases in the 56 schools, but these figures include only confirmed transmissions in the school. Students or staff who are believed to be infected outside of school or the cases that cannot be confirmed as outbreaks in school are not included.
Murphy has resisted ordering schools to close across the country, saying those numbers are better than expected.
Divided by age, those aged 30 to 49 make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have contracted the virus (31.6%), followed by the 50-64 (24.6%), 18-29 (18.5%) ), 65 -79 (11.7%), 80 and older (7.0%), 5-17 (5.4%) and 0-4 (1.1%).
On average, the virus has been more lethal to elderly residents, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Nearly half of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents 80 years and older (47.1%), followed by those 65-79 (32.2%), 50-64 (16%), 30-49 (4.3%), 18-29 (0.4%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,274 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and employees in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This number has also risen at a steeper rate in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, at least 17,500 more people in New Jersey have died this year than one would expect, state mortality data show, suggesting the pandemic has claimed even more lives than the state as a whole, according to an ongoing analysis by NJ Advance Media.
As of Saturday morning, there have been more than 57.7 million positive COVID-19 tests across the globe, according to a running number from Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.37 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The United States has the most positive tests in the world with more than 11.9 million and the most deaths at more than 254,473.
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Rodrigo Torrejon can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rodrigotorrejon.