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Big Opening Day in New Jersey Comes With Pleas to Remain Vigilant

The day before the state took its biggest step in reopening New Jersey, officials drove home the message for residents to keep up measures used in combating the coronavirus.

Gov. Phil Murphy continued to press the case of the significant differences between the spread indoors versus outdoors of COVID-19 at his daily news briefing July 1.

“It isn’t up to some of us to beat COVID-19. It’s up to every single one of the nine million of us,” said Murphy, as he continued to push the case for social distancing, face covering and repeated hand washing. “Take personal responsibility. Do not get lulled into complacency.”

Doors Opened

Opening up July 2 are casinos, racetracks, outdoor amusement and water parks, libraries, museums, indoors activity centers such as bowling alleys, batting cages and gun ranges, libraries, aquariums and outdoor playgrounds. Gyms and fitness centers are allowed to hold individualized training by appointment only

“As we head into the Independence Day weekend, we are still moving forward as quickly as we can, but as safely as we must,” Murphy said. “We continue to be guided by medical science and the on-the-ground data, both here and nationally.”

The first-term Democratic governor noted outdoors continue to be safer than indoor environments, while those indoors businesses opening will require patrons and employees to wear face masks at all times.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

The indoor distinction was a key reason state officials removed indoor dining from opening July 2. 

“Indoor environments where it’s impossible to wear masks, or where people are sedentary for long periods of time without masks—such as gyms, bars, and restaurants—remain the most dangerous in terms of transmission,” said Murphy. 

Murphy noted Jersey City’s crackdown on a local bar and restaurant that numerous times disregarded capacity limits as well as facial coverings.

Zero Tolerance

“I applaud (Jersey City officials) for their zero-tolerance approach and urge other municipal officials to take a similar stance,” said  Murphy. 

Going into the long 4th of July holiday weekend, the governor noted the state’s rate of transmission remains below the key mark of 1, with only three counties above the key mark. Last week, eight counties were over 1.00. 

“This is a positive one day sign that we need to turn into a trend,” Murphy said.

State Lessons

The governor reminded residents not to be lulled because of the relative good health metrics, pointing out how quickly it has tuned in states like Arizona, Florida and Texas.

“Don’t be the match that starts a COVID wildfire,” Murphy said. “Use your common sense for the common good. We do not want to go through that hell again.”

Daily Data

As of July 1, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 171,928 with 423 new cases and 45 new deaths, bringing that total to 13,224. The state is reporting an additional 1,854 deaths as probably, bringing the overall total to 15,078.

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,787, followed by Bergen at 1,733, Hudson with 1,286, Passaic at 1,039, Morris at 653, Sussex at 156 and Warren with 148.

In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 263, Essex has 237, Hudson has 171, Passaic has 148, Morris has 146, Sussex has 37 and Warren has 11.

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of June 27 rose from the previous day to 2.3%. 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 1.9%, the central at 2.4% and the south 2.7%. 

The rate of transmission was reported at 0.82, down from the day before. Murphy has noted that while the rate was still below 1.0, he was concerned it was rising from its .70 rate when the state began to reopen. 

Officials reported 1,080 patients are hospitalized with coronavirus—which included 54 new hospitalizations—while 87 patients were discharged. The north tier had 502 patients hospitalized, the central 314 and the south 264.

The daily discharge and new hospitalizations by tier for July 1 was the north charting 19 hospitalizations and 55 discharges, the central having 18 hospitalizations and 12 discharges, and the south reporting 17 hospitalizations and 20 discharges.   

Of those hospitalized, 217 are in intensive care units and 178 on ventilators. 

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 19,445, followed by Hudson at 18,842, Essex at 18,771, Passaic at 16,894, Middlesex at 16,825, Union at 16,384, Ocean at 9,627, Monmouth at 9,163, Mercer at 7,676, Camden at 7,368, Morris at 6,757, Burlington at 5,189, Somerset at 4,881, Cumberland at 2,980, Atlantic at 2,878, Gloucester at 2,596, Warren at 1,241, Sussex at 1,197, Hunterdon at 1,081, Salem at 778 and Cape May at 712.

Another 643 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, 18% 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, 56% had cardiovascular disease, 45% diabetes, 31% other chronic diseases, 18% neurological conditions, 17% lung diseases, 15% chronic renal disease, 10% cancer and 14% other. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.

A census of ages for 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 5% 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 July 1, leaving the total at 48 for children ranging in age from 1-18. All have tested positive for COVID-19 or have antibodies in their blood. Eight 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 36% Hispanic, 33% Black, 18% White, 8% Asian and 3% other.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 557 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 and accounted for 36,423 of the cases, broken down between 24,179 residents and 12,224 staff. The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 6,443 on July 1. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,534 residents deaths and 117 staff deaths. 

In a by-county breakdown:  

Bergen County

  • 63  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 3304 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1732 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 924  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 11  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Essex County

  • 46  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 2196 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 1048 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 568  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 20  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Morris County

  • 42  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1435 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 709 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 487  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 3  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Passaic County

  • 25  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1280 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 751 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 385  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 15  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Hudson County 

  • 15  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 1004 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 562 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 253  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 8  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Sussex County

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 259 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 150 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 108  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 4  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

Warren County 

  • 7  Facilities with Outbreaks
  • 408 Total Resident Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 135 Total Staff Cases at Long Term Care Facilities 
  • 121  Resident Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities
  • 1  Staff Deaths reported by Long Term Care Facilities

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