New Jersey officials on Wednesday reported seven new coronavirus deaths and 430 new positive tests as the state’s rate of transmission increased slightly again, climbing further above the key benchmark of 1 that shows the outbreak here is expanding.
This marks the eighth time in the last nine days New Jersey has announced more than 400 new COVID-19 cases, though new deaths and hospitalizations have been relatively stable in recent weeks.
“Even as the numbers of deaths we report every day continue to be low, we cannot take any solace in that,” Murphy said. “Our goal must be to get them to zero — not three or five, but zero.”
New Jersey, an early coronavirus hotspot, has reported 200,988 COVID-19 cases out of more than 3.42 million tests administered in the more than six months since the outbreak here started in early March. That’s the eighth most cases among U.S. states.
Wednesday’s case total reflects the removal of 53 positive test that were reported Monday and Tuesday but have since been determined to be out-of-state residents or duplicates, Murphy said.
The state of 9 million people has reported 16,082 deaths related to the virus — 14,291 lab-confirmed and 1,791 considered probable. That’s the second most in the U.S. after New York. New Jersey has the nation’s highest COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 residents.
More than 34,600 residents have recovered from the illness, according to Johns Hopkins University, though that number is likely much larger.
New Jersey has seen its daily numbers drop significantly since April, when officials routinely announced hundreds of new deaths and thousands of new cases a day. New deaths have hovered below 10 and new cases have been between 300 and 600 in recent weeks.
Officials have said the increases are likely because of large testing capacity and some community spread of the virus. They have also warned about rising cases among younger residents and have noted spikes in individual counties, like Ocean and Gloucester, in recent days.
Murphy on Wednesday called for residents to keep wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, and washing hands frequently. He also warned that he doesn’t want to follow in the footsteps in the United Kingdom, which announced this week it is rolling out a new round of restrictions because of an uptick in cases.
“I desperately hope we don’t have to do that here,” the governor said. “And the more we keep with our new routines, the better our chances are that we keep our numbers low and dropping, and we keep moving forward.”
A few weeks after allowing gyms and indoor dining to reopen, Murphy said the state have not seen specific examples of outbreaks linked to those steps. But he said the state will need to see “a sustained lack of outbreaks” from those venues until officials can lift capacity limits.
New Jersey’s latest rate of transmission is 1.15, up from the 1.13 reported Tuesday — and the highest the rate has been since hitting 1.15 on Aug. 7. The rate has been above 1 since Sept. 4 and increased incrementally since last week.
“We’d like to get that below 1,” Murphy said. “It is about where we expected.”
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.
The state’s latest positivity rate — the percentage of residents who test positive in a single day — was 1.93% on Saturday, the date with the most recent data available. That means about 98% who were tested that day were negative.
There were 459 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals Tuesday night. That’s 42 more than the night before.
Of those, 231 tested positive for the virus and 228 were under investigation while awaiting test results. Many of of the people under investigation for the virus turn out to be negative, officials have said.
Tuesday’s hospitalizations include 90 patients in critical or intensive care (10 more than the day before) with 31 on ventilators (three fewer than the day before).
There were 32 coronavirus patients discharged Tuesday, according to the state’s coronavirus tracking website.
New Jersey’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped dramatically since the state’s peak in mid-April, when there were more than 8,000 patients.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES (sorted by most new cases)
- Ocean County: 12,436 positive tests (59 new), 979 confirmed deaths (65 probable)
- Middlesex County: 19,210 positive tests (51 new), 1,223 confirmed deaths (202 probable)
- Bergen County: 22,276 positive tests (32 new), 1,801 confirmed deaths (243 probable)
- Burlington County: 7,006 positive tests (32 new), 455 confirmed deaths (39 probable)
- Gloucester County: 4,389 positive tests (28 new), 219 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
- Passaic County: 18,877 positive tests (28 new), 1,110 confirmed deaths (142 probable)
- Essex County: 20,898 positive tests (27 new), 1,897 confirmed deaths (230 probable)
- Monmouth County: 11,605 positive tests (24 new), 773 confirmed deaths (92 probable)
- Morris County: 7,795 positive tests (20 new), 686 confirmed deaths (145 probable)
- Somerset County: 5,725 positive tests (17 new), 498 confirmed deaths (74 probable)
- Union County: 17,517 positive tests (17 new), 1,190 confirmed deaths (166 probable)
- Camden County: 9,765 positive tests (16 new), 553 confirmed deaths (53 probable)
- Hudson County: 20,547 positive tests (15 new), 1,353 confirmed deaths (160 probable)
- Mercer County: 8,596 positive tests (11 new), 599 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Atlantic County: 3,990 positive tests (9 new), 245 confirmed deaths (11 probable)
- Cumberland County: 3,757 positive tests (8 new), 149 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Salem County: 1,052 positive tests (5 new), 84 confirmed deaths (6 probable)
- Sussex County: 1,461 positive tests (5 new), 161 confirmed deaths (37 probable)
- Cape May County: 1,008 positive tests (4 new), 87 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 1,296 positive tests (4 new), 71 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Warren County: 1,436 positive tests (2 new), 158 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
There are another 346 positive cases that remain under investigation, with the patients’ home counties not confirmed.
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 (26.6%), 18-29 (16.1%), 65-79 (13.3%), 80 and older (9.1%), 5-17 (3%), and 0-4 (0.6%).
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 (47.1%), followed by those 65-79 (32.2%), 50-64 (15.9%), 30-49 (4.3%), 18-25 (0.4%), 5-17 (0%), and 0-4 (0%).
At least 7,149 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been of residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
New Jersey is asking travelers from 35 U.S. states and territories considered COVID-19 hotspots to quarantine for 14 days after arriving here — including residents returning home.
New Jersey has allowed some businesses listed in Stage 3 of its recovery plan to reopen with restrictions — including gyms, movie theaters, and indoor dining. Murphy has warned he could tighten guidelines if there are sustained increases or if businesses and patrons don’t comply with the rules.
The virus has taken a major toll on the state’s economy. More than 1.56 million residents have filed for unemployment, businesses have lost untold revenue, and numerous businesses have closed permanently.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been more than 31.71 million positive COVID-19 tests across the globe, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 972,800 people have died, while more than 21.79 million people have recovered.
The United States has the most positive tests in the world, at more than 6.91 million, and the most deaths, at more than 201,200.
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