New Jersey on Sunday reported another 559 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and an additional 9 confirmed deaths, the lowest single-day case count since Oct. 12.
Murphy posted the latest update on Twitter two days after he announced state leaders are working to end the public-health emergency he declared 14 months ago.
More than 3.84 million people who live, work, or study in the Garden State have now been fully vaccinated against the virus at New Jersey sites, while another 165,254 residents have been vaccinated in other states.
The state has set a goal of having 70% of New Jersey’s adults vaccinated by the end of June. More than 55% of the state’s 6.9 million adults have been fully vaccinated so far. At least 4.59 million people have received their first dose at a New Jersey site.
Meanwhile, the state on Thursday added 12 to 15-year-olds to the list of those who are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
There were 865 COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the state as of Friday night, the lowest number since Oct. 20. Hospitalizations fell below 1,000 on Wednesday. Overall, coronavirus hospitalizations are down 75% since the state’s second-wave peak of 3,873 patients on Dec. 22.
The state’s transmission rate declined to 0.66, down from 0.74 the day before. Any number under 1 indicates the outbreak is slowing and each new case is leading to less than one additional case. The transmission rate has fluctuated widely over the past week. State officials have attributed those swings to a recent revision to total cases to remove more than 10,000 duplicates.
On Thursday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to say fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks and practice social distancing both indoors and outdoors in public in most cases.
But Murphy said New Jersey will still require all people to wear masks indoors in public — though he added this could change within weeks if vaccinations continue to increase and the outbreak continues to recede. Murphy did say fully vaccinated people in the state can ditch wearing masks outside in public, though those who aren’t vaccinated should keep wearing them when in “close proximity” to others.
At the same time, Murphy said he will extend the state’s public-health emergency by another 30 days and then let it expire if the state Legislature enacts legislation within a month to provide New Jersey with “tools” to continue to fight the virus and to make sure vaccinations keep getting rolled out.
It’s unclear exactly how this will affect the state’s restrictions. Murphy and fellow Democrats who lead the Legislature said they are working on the bill now but provided no other details.
New Jersey, an early coronavirus epicenter, has now reported 882,973 confirmed cases out of 14 million PCR tests in the more than 14 months since the state reported its first case March 4, 2020.
There have also been 127,786 positive antigen tests during the outbreak. 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 9.2 million people has reported 25,961 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19 — including 23,313 confirmed deaths and 2,648 fatalities considered probable.
New Jersey has the most coronavirus deaths per capita among American states, largely driven by the early days of the pandemic, when the virus spread rapidly through the region.
Murphy has been loosening health restrictions as numbers improve and vaccinations increase. The biggest steps so far happen Wednesday — when the state will increase fixed, percentage-based indoor capacity limits on restaurants, stores, personal service, and other businesses, while also removing all outdoor gathering caps. But indoor masking and social distancing rules will remain, with facilities required to keep groups at least 6 feet apart. That may prevent full capacity at restaurants and other businesses.
There were 865 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s hospitals as of Saturday night, 65 fewer than the previous night, according to state data.
That included 191 in critical or intensive care (22 fewer than the night before), with 133 on ventilators (13 fewer than the night before).
There were 117 COVID-19 patients discharged Saturday.
By comparison, hospitalizations peaked at more than 8,300 patients during the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020 and more than 3,800 during the second wave in December.
New Jersey has reported 281 in-school coronavirus outbreaks, which have resulted in 1,263 cases among students, teachers and school staff this academic year, according to state data.
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 has said New Jersey’s schools are expected to return to full in-person classes for the next school year.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (30.9%), followed by those 50-64 (22.5%), 18-29 (19.9%), 65-79 (10%), 5-17 (10%), 80 and older (4.4%) and 0-4 (2.1%).
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 (46.26%), followed by those 65-79 (33.03%), 50-64 (16.18%), 30-49 (4.11%), 18-29 (0.39%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.01%).
At least 8,043 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.
There are active outbreaks at 195 facilities, resulting in 2,072 active cases among residents and 2,845 among staffers. Those numbers have slowed as vaccinations continue at the facilities.
As of Sunday afternoon, there have been more than 162 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 3.37 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 32.9 million, and the most deaths, at more than 585,700.
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