New Jersey on Saturday reported another 3,015 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 37 additional confirmed deaths, a day after officials announced that teachers and day care workers in the state are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine immediately.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced the update on social media as the state continues to roll out the initial doses of the new one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine — a development officials say will boost vaccination efforts.
Meanwhile, officials have warned that cases are rising again amid the discovery of COVID-19 variants in the state. The state’s seven-day average for new confirmed coronavirus positive tests is 2,798, up .03% from a week ago and down 10% from a month ago.
There have been about 2.41 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in New Jersey as of Saturday morning, according to state data. That includes about 1.6 million first doses and 815,000 second doses.
That’s out of more than 3.07 million doses the state has received, according to a running tally by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of its adult population — about 4.7 million people — within the next few months.
Still, the statewide rate of transmission increased once again, to 1.06, up from 1.04 a day earlier. 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.
There were 1,862 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 across the state Friday night, according to the state’s dashboard.
In all, New Jersey has now reported 718,873 confirmed coronavirus cases out of more than 10.9 million PCR tests in the year since the state reported its first case March 4, 2020. There have also been 91,217 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 23,557 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19, including 21,160 confirmed deaths and 2,397 fatalities considered probable.
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 Match 29.
There were 1,862 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Friday night — 19 fewer than the previous night, according to the state’s dashboard.
That included 382 in critical or intensive care (7 fewer than the previous night), with 233 on ventilators (ten more).
There were also 247 COVID-19 patients discharged Friday.
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 (19.5%), 65-79 (10.9%), 5-17 (8.5%), 80 and older (5%), and 0-4 (1.7%).
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 (47.25%), followed by those 65-79 (32.76%), 50-64 (15.58%), 30-49 (4.02%), 18-29 (0.37%), 5-17 (0%), and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,924 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 296 facilities, resulting in 5,874 active cases among residents and 6,069 among staffers.
As of early Saturday afternoon, there have been about 116.3 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.58 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 28.9 million, and the most deaths, at about 523,000.
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