Organized Sports Timeline Established, First Phase Begins June 22 in New Jersey

On the first day New Jersey started Phase 2 of its reopening, state officials offered a timeline for when organized sports shutdown by COVID-19 can resume.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced at his daily briefing June 15 that for low-risk sports such as golf and tennis, competition can resume on June 22. On that same day, medium- and high-risk sports can resume non-contact drills and practices. 

If the data remains acceptable to health officials, it is expected medium-risk sports—including baseball, softball, basketball and soccer—can resume competition on July 6.

Full practices and competitions for high-risks sports such as football would be able to commence on July 20.

Guideline Offered

Specific guidelines for coaches and facilities were released by the New Jersey Department of Health. Among the rules to be followed:

  • Social distancing signs and markings are to be provided
  • Sharing of equipment is to be kept at a minimum
  • All organized sports must screen athletes, coaches and staff for signs of the virus using temperature checks and health questionnaires
  • Prep plans must be created, identifying staff or volunteers to remind players, coachers and attendees to employ social distancing
  • Face covering must be work by staff and attendees at all times, with athletes covering their faces when they have downtime and not exerting themselves
  • Outdoor gathering limits, 250 as of June 22 and 500 July 3, must be adhered to 

“Sports is an ingrained part of so many of our communities and our lives, our families,” Murphy said. “And we want everyone to be healthy and to be able to get out and play, but even more we want everyone to be safe.”

Outdoor Activities 

The governor remarked that the moving forward with organized sports is due to the key health data metrics and outdoor location.

“Indoor environments where it’s challenging to wear masks—such as gyms—or where people remain sedentary for long periods of time—such as restaurants—remain the most dangerous in terms of transmission,” said Murphy.

The governor wants the reopening of the state done correctly so as not to experience the spikes other states are seeing because Murphy believes they rushed to open too much too soon.

Lead by Science

“We’re not going to stop being guided by science and data—because our approach is working,” said Murphy. “We want to get this economic restart going, but our ultimate goal remains to save lives. That will not change.”

He noted the state is among the leaders nationwide in how it has decreased the number of hospitalizations and new cases.

“This is why we’re not just going to throw open our doors all at once, as other states have done,” said Murphy. 

Daily Data

As of June 15, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 167,103 with 274 new cases and 52 new deaths, bringing that total to 12,676. 

Of the total deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,745, followed by Bergen at 1,662, Hudson with 1,254, Passaic at 999, Morris at 636, Sussex at 149 and Warren with 138. 

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli stated a second child had passed away from COVID-19. Officials refrained from divulging the age of the child, citing the privacy of the family, but did say the child was very young.  

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of June 11 rested at 2.6%. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one. By region, the north tested at 2.0%, the central at 2.2% and the south 5.3%.

Officials reported 1,344 patients are hospitalized with coronavirus—which included 74 new hospitalizations—while 107 patients were discharged. The north tier had 599 patients hospitalized, the central 406 and the south 339.

The daily discharge and new hospitalizations by tier for June 15 was the north charting 23 hospitalizations and 49 discharges and the south reporting 51 hospitalizations and 29 discharges. Murphy noted there were issues in reporting issues with hospitals in the central tier.

Of those hospitalized, 402 are in intensive care units and 267 on ventilators. Persichilli noted that the 66% rate of ICU patients on ventilators was the lowest since March. There are currently six patients in field hospitals, with 475 treated overall. 

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 18,848, followed by Hudson at 18,765, Essex at 18,375, Passaic at 16,649, Middlesex at 16,458, Union at 16,308, Ocean at 9,258, Monmouth at 8,761, Mercer at 7,371, Camden at 7,025, Morris at 6,588, Burlington at 4,894, Somerset at 4,764, Cumberland at 2,697, Atlantic at 2,497, Gloucester at 2,416, Warren at 1,202, Sussex at 1,155, Hunterdon at 1,041, Salem at 708 and Cape May at 672.

Another 651 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

Demographic Breakdown

The racial breakdown of the record deaths was 54% White, 20% Hispanic, 19% Black, 6% Asian and 2% 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. Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.

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. 

State officials are tracking cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children who in turn  test positive for COVID-19. No new case was reported June 15. The total cases in New Jersey remains at 40 for children ranging in age from 1-18. All have tested positive for COVID-19 or have antibodies in their blood.  Three are currently hospitalized. No deaths have been reported from the disease. 

Persichilli stated “Black and Hispanic children account for a disproportionately high number” on a national scale. While only a small sample, Persichilli reported the racial breakdown in New Jersey was 34% Black, 38% Hispanic, 22% White, 6% Asian and 3% other.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 555 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 and accounted for 35,360 of the cases, broken down between 23,550 residents and 11,810 staff. The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, which was 5,957 on June 15. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,324 residents deaths and 115 staff deaths. 

In a by-county breakdown:  

Bergen County

  • 63  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 3239 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1691 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 926  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 11  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Essex County

  • 46  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 2160 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1014 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 564  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 19  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Morris County

  • 42  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1404 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 686 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 472  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 3  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Passaic County

  • 25  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1260 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 759 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 367  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 14  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Hudson County 

  • 15  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 993 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 531 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 248  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 8  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Sussex County

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 257 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 144 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 107  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 4  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Warren County 

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 407 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 132 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 114  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 1  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

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