New Jersey health officials on Wednesday reported another 3,047 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 56 additional confirmed deaths as the state prepares for additional reopening steps next week with the increase to 50% capacity for indoor businesses including restaurants, bars, gyms, casinos and personal care services at salons and spas.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced the latest updates during a coronavirus briefing in Trenton. In addition the to business changes, the number of people allowed to gather indoors will increase from 10 to 25 people and the outdoor gathering cap will double to 50 people beginning March 19
The seven-day average for new confirmed cases is now 2,818, down 4% from a week ago and 15% from a month ago.
The statewide rate of transmission decreased slightly to 1.04 from 1.05 on Tuesday. Any number over 1 indicates that the outbreak is growing, with each new case leading to at least one other case. The rate had been below 1 for weeks before pushing above that mark Thursday.
Hospitalizations rose for the second day with 1,961 patients as of Tuesday night, though that remains down by nearly half since a recent peak on Dec. 22.
In all, New Jersey has now reported 729,403 confirmed coronavirus cases out of more than 11 million PCR tests in the year since the state reported its first case March 4, 2020. There have also been 93,414 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 23,768 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19, including 21,294 confirmed deaths and 2,474 fatalities considered probable. The probable deaths, which are revised weekly, increased by 77 fatalities on Wednesday.
“The toll of this virus has been staggering,” Murphy said.
New Jersey’s vaccine sites have administered 2.67 million doses as of Wednesday morning. That includes 1.77 million first doses and 899,000 second doses. Vaccine sites around New Jersey began administering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week.
New Jersey is preparing to greatly expand vaccine eligibility in the coming weeks, with transportation workers March 15 and various other essential workers, including restaurant employees, March 29. The state is also adding 11 pre-existing conditions to the eligibility list March 15. Educators and day care workers were originally scheduled to be eligible starting March 15, but that was quietly moved up last week and they’re eligible now.
CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage
VACCINATIONS BY COUNTY
- ATLANTIC COUNTY – 86,251 doses administered
- BERGEN COUNTY – 306,748 doses administered
- BURLINGTON COUNTY – 140,314 doses administered
- CAMDEN COUNTY – 158,106 doses administered
- CAPE MAY COUNTY – 40,181 doses administered
- CUMBERLAND COUNTY – 37,267 doses administered
- ESSEX COUNTY – 210,840 doses administered
- GLOUCESTER COUNTY – 99,167 doses administered
- HUDSON COUNTY – 128,263 doses administered
- HUNTERDON COUNTY – 36,343 doses administered
- MERCER COUNTY – 89,247 doses administered
- MIDDLESEX COUNTY – 216,582 doses administered
- MONMOUTH COUNTY – 207,063 doses administered
- MORRIS COUNTY – 196,265 doses administered
- OCEAN COUNTY – 168,451 doses administered
- PASSAIC COUNTY – 119,116 doses administered
- SALEM COUNTY – 17,781 doses administered
- SOMERSET COUNTY – 107,117 doses administered
- SUSSEX COUNTY – 42,799 doses administered
- UNION COUNTY – 137,344 doses administered
- WARREN COUNTY – 26,966 doses administered
- UNKNOWN COUNTY – 27,430 doses administered
- OUT OF STATE – 71,839 doses administered
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES (sorted by most new)
- Essex County: 69,973 confirmed cases (302 new), 2,440 confirmed deaths (278 probable)
- Bergen County: 72,142 confirmed cases (301 new), 2,369 confirmed deaths (287 probable)
- Monmouth County: 54,327 confirmed cases (293 new), 1,303 confirmed deaths (130 probable)
- Ocean County: 54,287 confirmed cases (289 new), 1,775 confirmed deaths (140 probable)
- Middlesex County: 70,096 confirmed cases (268 new), 1,901 confirmed deaths (239 probable)
- Hudson County: 66,152 confirmed cases (244 new), 1,854 confirmed deaths (193 probable)
- Passaic County: 53,840 confirmed cases (203 new), 1,541 confirmed deaths (183 probable)
- Morris County: 33,741 confirmed cases (188 new), 912 confirmed deaths (232 probable)
- Union County: 50,711 confirmed cases (149 new), 1,597 confirmed deaths (211 probable)
- Burlington County: 31,871 confirmed cases (120 new), 705 confirmed deaths (58 probable)
- Somerset County: 19,517 confirmed cases (112 new), 686 confirmed deaths (104 probable)
- Gloucester County: 21,699 confirmed cases (102 new), 528 confirmed deaths (30 probable)
- Camden County: 40,430 confirmed cases (101 new), 1,100 confirmed deaths (95 probable)
- Mercer County: 26,957 confirmed cases (97 new), 846 confirmed deaths (42 probable)
- Atlantic County: 20,403 confirmed cases (60 new), 555 confirmed deaths (32 probable)
- Sussex County: 8,348 confirmed cases (35 new), 211 confirmed deaths (65 probable)
- Warren County: 6,676 confirmed cases (30 new), 198 confirmed deaths (25 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 6,624 confirmed cases (25 new), 111 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Cumberland County: 12,461 confirmed cases (21 new), 350 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Salem County: 4,336 confirmed cases (13 new), 154 confirmed deaths (12 probable)
- Cape May County: 3,816 confirmed cases (11 new), 158 confirmed deaths (28 probable)
There were 1,961 patients hospitalized with confirmed (1,823) or suspected COVID-19 cases New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Tuesday night — 66 more than the previous night, according to the state’s dashboard.
That included 408 in critical or intensive care (10 more than the previous night), with 235 on ventilators (11 fewer).
There were also 227 COVID-19 patients discharged Tuesday and 244 admitted.
Hospitalizations peaked at more than 8,000 patients during the first wave of the pandemic in April.
New Jersey has reported 160 in-school coronavirus outbreaks, which have resulted in 765 cases among students, teachers and school staff this academic year, according to the state’s dashboard.
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 said Monday that with teachers soon eligible to get the vaccine, officials are “fully expecting” schools across New Jersey to return for in-person learning “safely and responsibly” when the next school year starts in September, if not sooner.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31%), followed by those 50-64 (23.2%), 18-29 (19.6%), 65-79 (10.8%), 5-17 (8.5%), 80 and older (4.9%), and 0-4 (1.8%).
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 (47.20%), followed by those 65-79 (32.79%), 50-64 (15.59%), 30-49 (4.03%), 18-29 (0.37%), 5-17 (0%), and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,923 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
There are currently active outbreaks at 309 facilities, resulting in 6,099 active cases among residents and 6,214 among staffers.
As of Wednesday, there have been more than 117.7 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.6 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 29 million, and the most deaths, at more than 527,700.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com
Matt Arco may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.