New Jersey on Monday reported another 1,330 COVID-19 cases and seven confirmed deaths as nearly every county in the state is once again reporting high community transmission heading into Thanksgiving.
The states seven-day average for new positive tests increased to 1,669, up 20% from a week ago and 39% from a month ago. Thats the highest seven-day average since Oct. 1.
The statewide transmission rate increased to 1.23, up from 1.21 on Sunday and 1.2 on Saturday. Any transmission rate above 1 indicates that each infected person is passing the virus to at least one other person.
Gov. Phil Murphy noted this is a national trend as more people spend time inside because of colder weather. He said 42 or 50 American states have a transmission rate above 1.
This thing takes turns that humble you, Murphy said during his latest coronavirus briefing in Trenton.
State officials said theyre concerned about cases continuing to rise as people gather for Thanksgiving on Thursday and other holidays over the next two months. State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli encouraged all residents to take precautions, get vaccinated, get a booster, stay home if youre feeling ill, mask up in crowded indoor areas or when you are around high-risk individuals.
Please, please, please enjoy this holiday, but enjoy it safely and responsibly at every level, Murphy said of Thanksgiving. If youre with people that you have a degree of confidence in you know them, you know their vaccine status have at it. Raise hell.
Meanwhile, New Jersey publicly reported for the first time there have been at least 22,842 positive coronavirus tests among students and school staff in grades K-12 across the state since the start of this academic year, along with numbers showing nearly 85% of school staff are fully vaccinated.
MORE: N.J.s 1st full report on school staff, student COVID cases shows 22K positive tests this year
There were 816 patients hospitalized with confirmed (768) or suspected coronavirus cases across New Jersey as of Sunday night.
Of those, 168 patients were in intensive care, with 78 of them on ventilators. At least 74 patients were discharged statewide in the 24 hours leading up to Sunday night.
The statewide positivity rate for Wednesday, the most recent day available, was 4.51%.
All but one of New Jerseys 21 counties are listed as having high rates of coronavirus transmission, with just Hudson County listed as substantial transmission, according to the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency is recommending that all people in the high and substantial transmission counties wear masks for indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status.
Officials said they expect the new surge to peak sometime in January, the same as last year. But Persichilli stressed that the big difference this year is the state has many more people vaccinated.
We just started vaccinating (last year) on Dec. 15, she said. We saw a peak mid-January of almost 3,000 hospitalizations., No, if we did nothing, that may happen again. But because of our high vaccination rate, were hoping severe disease, hospitalizations moderate. But it could still reach 2,000 or more hospitalizations.
Murphy again encouraged everyone in the state 18 and older in New Jersey who has received their second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines six months ago to get a booster shot. Thats after the CDC announced Friday that it opened booster shot eligibility to all adults.
Anyone 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was already eligible for a booster two months after their single shot.
As we know from the ongoing research, the vaccines do begin to lose some effectiveness in some people over time, Murphy said. Breakthroughs continue to be relatively rare, but they do happen. So, to protect against a possible breakthrough infection, all of us up here strongly encourage you to go out and get that boost of protection as soon as possible.
As of Monday, New Jersey has reported a total of 50,762 cases among fully vaccinated people, leading to 1,061 hospitalizations and 300 deaths, though those represent a small percentage total cases.
From Nov. 1 to 7, the state reported 9,429 positive tests. Of those, 1,707 were from fully vaccinated people and those cases led to two hospitalizations (out of 525 total) and no deaths (out of 115 total).
More than 6.23 million people who live, work or study in New Jersey a state of about 9.2 million residents have now been fully vaccinated. More than 7.88 million people in the state have received at least one dose, and more than 1 million people have received third doses or boosters.
At least 87,500 children between the ages of 5 and 11 in New Jersey have received vaccine doses since federal authorities approved the Pfizer shots for that age group two weeks ago, according to the state.
Christina Tan, the state epidemiologist, said officials are also concerned about possible new variants in the virus.
The delta variant, which is more contagious than previous variants, represents nearly 100% of all cases circulating in New Jersey right now.
New Jersey, an early epicenter of the pandemic, has now reported 28,274 total COVID-19 deaths 25,442 confirmed and 2,832 considered probable in the more than 20 months since the start of the outbreak. The probable deaths, which are revised weekly, increased Monday by 13 fatalities.
The state has the third-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the U.S., behind Mississippi and Alabama.
New Jersey has reported 1,071,383 total confirmed cases out of more than 16 million PCR tests conducted since it announced its first case March 4, 2020. The state has also reported more than 162,128 positive antigen or rapid tests, which are considered probable cases.
Murphy insisted the state is not waiting for there to be no cases to move on from the pandemic.
This is never going to zero, he said. This is with us. And were not gonna manage it as though we have to see it go to zero to do X or Y. But I do think we owe it to folks to give them a sense of the trends.
CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage
There have been a total 179 in-school outbreaks across New Jersey among students and staff this academic year, leading to 1,026 cases, according to the latest number released last week. Those numbers are cumulative and do not reflect active infections. Just Burlington and Warren counties have not reported any in-school outbreaks this year.
In-school outbreaks, which are reported weekly by the state, are defined as three or more cases that are determined through contact tracing to have been transmitted among staff or students while at school. They do not include total cases among staff and students.
At least 8,671 of the states 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 115 facilities, resulting in 624 current cases among residents and 530 among staffers.
As of Monday, there have been more than 257.7 million COVID-19 cases reported across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, with more than 5.15 million people having died due to the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 47.7 million) and deaths (more than 771,100) of any nation.
There have been more than 7.4 billion vaccine doses administered globally.
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N.J. reports 1,330 COVID cases, 7 deaths. Positive tests rising ahead of Thanksgiving holiday. - nj.com
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