N.J. reports 1,953 COVID cases and 9 new deaths as cases continue to rise, Murphy encourages all adults get booster shots

Published: Nov. 20, 2021

New Jersey on Saturday reported another 1,953 COVID-19 cases and nine confirmed deaths as the state’s seven-day average for new positive tests has risen for the 11th day in a row and as Phil Murphy encouraged adult residents to get coronavirus vaccination booster shots a day after federal officials expanded eligibility to anyone 18 and older.

The state’s seven-day average of coronavirus cases increased Saturday to 1,645 — up 31% from a week ago and 30% from a month ago.

The state’s transmission rate rose again Saturday to 1.2, up from 1.17 on Friday. Any transmission rate above 1 indicates that the pandemic is expanding as each infected person is passing the virus to at least one other person. The state started the week at a transmission rate of 1.0.

“What is happening is exactly what we expected to happen,” Murphy said on Friday. “We’re all living our lives inside and as we do we all expected our numbers to go back up.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday announced that it opened booster shot eligibility to all adults six months after they received their second Moderna or Pfizer vaccine shot. Anyone 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was already eligible for a booster two months after their single shot.

Under the rules, any adult can choose any of the vaccines for their booster shot, regardless of which company’s vaccine they got initially.

“With the holidays approaching, we encourage all individuals who have received their COVID-19 vaccination to get a booster dose,” Murphy and state Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said in a statement issued on Saturday. “We also continue to encourage all individuals who have not yet received a vaccination, to do so ahead of holiday gatherings and travel to avoid putting themselves, their family, and community at risk. It’s that simple.”

There were 801 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Friday night, the latest count available. There were 175 in intensive care, with 78 patients on ventilators. At least 108 patients were discharged in the 24 hours leading up to Friday night.

The state reported the positivity rate for Monday, the most recent day available, was 4.08%.

New Jersey, an early epicenter of the pandemic, has now reported 28,250 total COVID-19 deaths — 25,431 confirmed and 2,819 considered probable — in the more than 20 months since the start of the outbreak.

The state has the third-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the U.S., behind Mississippi and Alabama.

New Jersey has reported 1,068,522 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 161,844 positive antigen or rapid tests, which are considered probable cases.

The delta variant of the virus, which is more contagious than previous variants, represents more than 99% of all cases circulating.

More than 6.2 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 7.84 million people in the state have received at least one dose, and more than 1.06 million people have received third doses or boosters.

As of Monday, New Jersey has reported a total of 47,559 cases among fully vaccinated people, leading to 1,027 hospitalizations and 279 deaths. Those figures represent a small percentage of total cases.

From Oct. 25 to 31, the state reported 10,303 positive tests. Of those, 2,003 were from fully vaccinated people and those cases led to eight hospitalizations (out of 774 total) and no deaths (out of 113 total).

As of Monday, at least 47,390 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, according to the state.

Murphy reiterated this week that getting more kids vaccinated will help make it safe enough to remove the state’s school mask mandate, though he added he doesn’t have a target date.

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 Wednesday. 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.

Eighteen of New Jersey’s 21 counties are listed as having “high” rates of coronavirus transmission Saturday, while three are listed as “substantial” transmission — Union, Essex and Hudson counties — according to the CDC. The CDC is recommending that all people in the high and substantial transmission counties wear masks for indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status.

At least 8,671 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, which is updated Monday through Friday. There were active outbreaks at 118 facilities as of Friday, resulting in 612 current cases among residents and 520 among staffers.

There have been nearly 257 million COVID-19 cases reported across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University, with more than 5.1 million people having died due to the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 47.6 million) and deaths (more than 770,800) of any nation.

There have been more than 7.3 billion vaccine doses administered globally.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-11-21 02:58:39 -0800