New Jersey Residents Well-Informed About COVID-19: Rutgers Poll

Residents in New Jersey, one of the hardest hit states in the country by COVID-19, are well-informed about the virus, including how it is transmitted, its major symptoms and what preventative measures to take, according to a newly-released poll.

In the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, 97% of those surveyed said they understand that being in close physical proximity with an infected individual, as well as touching surfaces that contain small amounts of bodily fluid from an infected person, are ways the virus can be spread.

Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, said it’s welcome news that virtually all residents are well versed in the basics of the virus.

Everyone Hand Washes

But, she said, “The problem is what we know about the virus keeps evolving, with more symptoms being added to official lists in the last week or so alone. This constantly changing landscape can cause confusion, so New Jerseyans must continue to be vigilant in informing themselves about the virus.”

As for proper preventive measures, 100% know that experts recommend frequent handwashing; 98% know they should avoid gatherings with large numbers of people and stay home if they’re sick; 97% know that healthy people should wear face coverings in public.

About nine in 10 are aware that a COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available and that the seasonal flu vaccine does not protect people from it, the poll found.

Strict Followers?

A large majority say they are following social distancing orders but it isn’t as easy to do as handwashing or wearing masks.

According to the poll, 80% say they have not left home except for essential reasons, like purchasing food or seeking medical care and 74% have not invited anyone into their home who is not a member of their household.

About three-quarters of respondents have either cancelled, rescheduled or decided against making travel plans or have opted out of hosting or attending a large event or gathering.

“Social distancing will only become harder as the weather gets nicer, as more restrictions get lifted, and as residents take more calculated risks, so these numbers will undoubtedly change in the weeks to come,” Koning said.

Noteworthy Numbers

  • Almost nine in 10 people correctly identified the two most common symptoms: fever and dry cough.
  • Most residents are following expert recommendations: 96% are washing their hands more frequently, 98% have worn a face mask and/or gloves and 88% have used more disinfectant, such as hand sanitizer and wipes.
  • 86% of residents know that someone who suspects they have COVID-19 should stay home and call a medical professional.
  • 96% correctly believe those over the age of 60 and those with chronic health conditions have a higher risk of developing serious medical issues if they become infected with coronavirus.

Daily Data

As of May 23, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 153,104 with 443 new cases and 96 new deaths, bringing that total to 11,081. 

Gov. Phil Murphy stated in a tweet May 23 “There’s a significant amount of electronic lab reports that have NOT BEEN PROCESSED YET and may be affecting today’s number of new cases.”

Of the total deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,588, followed by Bergen with 1,521, Hudson at 1,138, Passaic at 888, Morris at 590, Sussex at 145 and Warren with 126.

State Testing 

Officials reported 2,974 patients are hospitalized with coronavirus while 268 patients were discharged. The north tier had 1,482 patients hospitalized, the central 818 and the south 674.

Of those hospitalized, 806 are in intensive care units and 611 on ventilators. There are currently 43 patients in field hospitals, with 463 treated overall. 

Hudson Tops County Count

Hudson has the most cumulative cases in the state with 17,910 followed by Bergen at 17,668, Essex at 17,065, Passaic at 15,610, Middlesex at 15,215, Union at 15,186, Ocean at 8,316, Monmouth at 7,720, Mercer at 6,351, Morris at 6,192, Camden at 5,953, Somerset at 4,425, Burlington at 4,252, Gloucester at 2,044, Atlantic at 1,936, Cumberland at 1,924, Warren at 1,119, Sussex at 1,077, Hunterdon at 938, Cape May at 558 and Salem at 535.

Another 1,110 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

Demographic Breakdown

The racial breakdown of the record deaths was 53% White, 19% Black, 19% Hispanic, 6% Asian and 3% another race. Murphy has noted the rates in the black and Hispanic communities are running about 50% more than their population in the state. 

In regards to the underlying disease of those who have passed, 59% had cardiovascular disease, 43% diabetes, 32% other chronic diseases, 17% neurological conditions, 15% chronic renal disease, 10% cancer and 14% other. 

A census of ages for 9,941 confirmed deaths shows 47% of deaths are of those 80 year old and up, 33% in the range of 65-80, 16% between 50-65 and 4% under the age of 49. 

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 533 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 and accounted for 29,704 of the cases, broken down between 20,395 residents and 9,319 staff. The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, which was 4,720 on May 23. The facilities are reporting to the state of 5,581 residents deaths and 100 staff deaths. 

In a by-county breakdown:  

Bergen County 

  • 63  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 2,917 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1,382 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 884  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 10  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Essex County 

  • 46  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1,977 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 830 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 527  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 19  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Morris County 

  • 42  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1,249 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 566 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 438  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 3  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Passaic County 

  • 25  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1,046 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 596 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 314  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 13  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Hudson County 

  • 15  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 695 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 383 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 177  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 6  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Warren County 

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 400 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 105 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 105  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 1  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Sussex County 

  • 5  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 242 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 116 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 102  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 4  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.