N.J. reports 2,232 new COVID-19 cases, 14 more deaths as Gov. Murphy orders tightens rules on gatherings – NJ.com
New Jersey health officials reported 2,232 new coronavirus cases on Monday following weekend that set records for positive tests and 14 additional deaths as hospitalizations continue a steady climb and Gov. Phil Murphy announced new restrictions on the number of people who can gather indoors and outdoor.
Just hours ahead of the latest numbers being announced, Murphy said private indoor gatherings limits will be dropped from 25 to 10 people as of 6 a.m. Tuesday and outdoor gathering limits will drop from 500 to 150 people with the winter holidays fast approaching.
“We have got to get back in front of this virus,” Murphy said. “Religious services or celebrations, political activities, wedding ceremonies, funerals or memorial services, and performances will continue to be limited to 25% of capacity, but with a maximum of 150 people. But all other private indoor gatherings, such as house parties, and public events must be capped at no more than 10, and in this we will be in-line with a growing number of our fellow states throughout the region.”
The change does not affect the current 25% capacity limits on indoor dining in the state, though it’s the second time in as many weeks the governor has announced new rules to try and stop the spread of the virus as new cases continue to climb.
“I understand why there may be frustration with this step,” Murphy said. “We’re urging everybody to keep their Thanksgiving plans as small as possible.”
Health officials warned last week between 2,000 and 3,000 new cases will likely be announced daily going forward. But New Jersey reported 8,935 cases more COVID-19 cases over the weekend — 4,395 on Saturday and another 4,540 on Sunday.
Both of those figures broke records — but with a caveat. The state’s testing capacity in the spring was about 4,000 tests a daily, while current daily testing ranges from between 15,000 to 55,000 a day, according to the state Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard.
“In just four days, you get to 14,566 and the cumulative total is up to 281,493,” Murphy said. “Another way to look at it is that 5% of our total has come in over the past four days.”
The positivity rate for tests administered Thursday, the most recent day available, was 9.43%, up from 8.47% a week ago and 3.06% a month earlier. The positivity rate in the north region was 10.31%, central region 7.36% and south region 10.67%.
The seven-day average for new positive tests increased Monday to 3,577 cases, a 57% increase from a week earlier and 326% higher than a week ago.
As new cases rise, the number of people seeking treatment at the state’s 71 hospitals has steadily increased and topped 2,000 over the weekend. Hospitalizations totaled 2,115 patients as of Sunday night with 417 in critical or intensive care.
New Jersey has now has now reported 281,493 positive tests during the outbreak with 16,580 deaths – 14,779 confirmed fatalities and 1,801 considered probable.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY NUMBERS (sorted by most new)
- Middlesex County: 25,951 positive tests (208 new), 1,261 confirmed deaths (203 probable)
- Union County: 24,350 positive tests (192 new), 1,228 confirmed deaths (168 probable)
- Essex County: 30,423 positive tests (191 new), 1,944 confirmed deaths (230 probable)
- Bergen County: 29,409 positive tests (178 new), 1,838 confirmed deaths (246 probable)
- Camden County: 15,032 positive tests (170 new), 596 confirmed deaths (53 probable)
- Hudson County: 27,050 positive tests (154 new), 1,388 confirmed deaths (158 probable)
- Passaic County: 25,011 positive tests (147 new), 1,141 confirmed deaths (141 probable)
- Monmouth County: 16,835 positive tests (141 new), 787 confirmed deaths (92 probable)
- Mercer County: 11,200 positive tests (138 new), 611 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Gloucester County: 7,184 positive tests (112 new), 249 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
- Ocean County: 18,747 positive tests (112 new), 1,022 confirmed deaths (66 probable)
- Burlington County: 10,632 positive tests (104 new), 485 confirmed deaths (41 probable)
- Morris County: 11,284 positive tests (90 new), 704 confirmed deaths (146 probable)
- Somerset County: 7,716 positive tests (63 new), 529 confirmed deaths (75 probable)
- Atlantic County: 6,608 positive tests (55 new), 260 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Cape May County: 1,385 positive tests (37 new), 95 confirmed deaths (10 probable)
- Cumberland County: 4,487 positive tests (32 new), 162 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Warren County: 2,055 positive tests (29 new), 158 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 2,002 positive tests (24 new), 73 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Sussex County: 2,096 positive tests (17 new), 162 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Salem County: 1,367 positive tests (14 new), 86 confirmed deaths (5 probable)
There were 2,115 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across the Garden State’s 71 hospitals as of Sunday night. New hospitalizations have been steadily climbing for more than a month and there hasn’t been more than 2,000 people hospitalized since early June.
There were 417 patients in critical or intensive care, including 137 on ventilators.
There were 150 coronavirus patients discharged Tuesday, according to the state’s online dashboard.
New Jersey’s latest transmission rate is 1.40, up from 1.38 Tuesday. That’s the highest transmission rate since Aug. 4.
But that’s much lower than when the rate was above 5 toward the end of March as the extent of the outbreak was still coming into focus and testing was scarce. But 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’ spread is decreasing. New Jersey has been above 1 since Labor Day weekend.
A transmission rate of 1.40 means every 100 infected people will spread the virus to 140 others.
Although hundreds of school districts have announced coronavirus cases and dozens of New Jersey schools have temporarily shut down since the start of the school year, state health officials have said just 51 schools have had confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks.
The weekly statistics released on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard last week included 15 new outbreaks in ten counties. That brings the totals to 193 cases in 51 schools since schools began reopening in late August.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31.5%), followed by those 50-64 (24.7%), 18-29 (18.4%), 65-79 (11.8%), 80 and older (7.2%), 5-17 (5.1%), and 0-4 (1%).
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 among residents 80 and older (47.88%), followed by those 65-79 (31.54%), 50-64 (15.82%), 30-49 (4.36%), 18-29 (0.38%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,230 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
Officials warned Monday that while a larger percentage of younger people had been contracting the virus in recent months, older people are now getting it at a faster clip.
Meanwhile, at least 17,500 more people in New Jersey have died this year than would be expected, state mortality data shows, which suggests the pandemic has claimed even more lives than state totals, according to an ongoing analysis by NJ Advance Media.
As of Monday morning, there have been 54.5 million positive COVID-19 tests across the globe, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.31 million people have died.
The United States has the most positive tests in the world, with more than 11 million, and the most deaths — more than 246,200.
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