With oversized house parties causing coronavirus flare ups around New Jersey, state officials pleaded with parents and young adults to follow COVID-19 protocols.
“We continue to see outbreaks coming from gatherings of young people,” said Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “We must take all precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. (Young people) need to take this public health threat seriously.”
Recent coronavirus outbreaks were traced back to backyard gatherings in Middletown and Harvey Cedars, while it took police five hours to break up a 700 person house party in Jackson.
Additionally, the Rutgers football team was forced to shut down and were forced to quarantine as a result of the six positive tests over the weekend.
“We are not saying you can’t gather, but it is literally irresponsible, you are playing with fire, if you gather indoors,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “There is no good that will come from that. We have multiple examples…up and down the state that have led to outbreaks.”
Murphy pleaded with parents hosting gatherings of young people to enforce social distancing, make sure attendees are wearing masks and hold events outside.
“We are begging you to be responsible for gatherings in your own home,” said the governor. “Don’t congregate indoors…if you are going to have a group over, gather in your backyard.”
The first-term Democratic governor acknowledged the decision to not allow indoor dining at restaurants and bars could be playing a factor in these gatherings.
“A concern is not allowing indoor bars ot dining, it is driving gatherings underground,” said Murphy, referencing the party in Jackson.
New Jersey Acting State Police Colonel Pat Callahan, agreed by stating “this underground situation is certainly not one we want because young people, even if you are asymptomatic and you’re positive, the fact that you can transmit that to your family members is certainly one that concerns us.”
Murphy said the rise of the rate of transmission, a key metric for health officials, had a direct correlation to the indoor gatherings.
“The amount of anecdotal evidence concerns us, ” said Murphy. “That is no doubt that’s contributing to the rise. We don’t hear a lot about out-of-state challenges.”
State Epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan added “the fact is we still have community spread in New Jersey.”
As of July 27, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 178,345 with 488 new cases and 36 new deaths, bringing that total to 13,845. The state probable death count remained at 1,920, bringing the overall total to 15,765.
Persichilli noted deaths at hospital but not yet lab confirmed included seven on July 24 and six on July 25 and 26.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,856, followed by Bergen at 1,782, Hudson with 1,327, Passaic at 1,091, Morris at 674, Sussex at 158 and Warren with 155.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 263, Essex has 247, Hudson has 175, Passaic 156, Morris 153, Sussex has 37 and Warren has 14.
The daily rate of infections from those tested as of July 23 was 1.7%, declining from the last report of 2.4%. 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 1.1%, the central at 1.6% and the south 3.1%.
As for the rate of transmission, it was 1.09, rising from 0.84 July 24. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
Officials reported 695 patients are hospitalized, with 345 confirmed cases and 350 patients under investigation for having coronavirus. The north tier had 322 patients hospitalized, the central 205 and the south 108.
Of those hospitalized, 128 are in intensive care units and 54 on ventilators, while 142 patients were discharged.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 20,280, followed by Hudson at 19,387, Essex at 19,335, Middlesex at 17,557, Passaic at 17,327, Union at 16,376, Ocean at 10,238, Monmouth at 9,908, Camden at 8,130, Mercer at 7,934, Morris at 7,076, Burlington at 5,642, Somerset at 5,139, Atlantic at 3,271, Cumberland at 3,144, Gloucester at 2,986, Warren at 1,315, Sussex at 1,285, Hunterdon at 1,122, Salem at 859 and Cape May at 800.
Another 701 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
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. 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 cases were reported July 27, with the total remaining at 55 cumulative cases for children ranging in age from 1-18. All have tested positive for COVID-19 or have antibodies in their blood. Two 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 43% Hispanic, 33% Black, 14% White, 6% Asian and 4% other.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted currently 340 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 24,558 of the cases, broken down between 16,038 residents and 8,520 staff.
Cumulatively, 599 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 24,604 residents and 12,872 staff, for a total of 37,476 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 6,888 on July 27. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,703 residents deaths and 119 staff deaths.