COVID-19 Positivity Rate Reaches 6% Among Young Adults in New Jersey

State officials say the daily positive percent rate for the coronavirus among young people has climbed to a level that is “really striking” compared to the rest of the residents in New Jersey. 

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said officials continuously review state data of different populations in the state and “continues to be concerned about the transmission of the virus among young individuals.”

Cases numbers have climbed to 6.0% amongst the ages of 19-24, the highest percent positivity in the state. Right behind them is the 14-18 age cohort, with a percent positivity of 4%.

State Rate

In comparison, the daily rate of infections from those tested as of Sept. 7 was 2.6%. By region, the north has a rate of 2.5% as of Sept. 7, central at 2.9% and the south at 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. 

Persichilli said percent positivity percent rates are declining or are flat with the other age groups in the state.

The most recent increase among young people began in mid-August, with NJDOH hearing anecdotal reports of the increase tied to social gatherings such as end-of-summer and back-to-school parties. 

College Contributions

Additionally, Persichilli noted reports are around college campuses in some areas of the state. Those cases have been linked more to students returning to off-campus housing rather than on-campus studies.

“These are helping to drive transmissions. We know ..that young people want to socialize,” said the commissioner. “But (socializing) must be done safely,” recounting that young adults need to remain socially distant, wear face coverings, wash hands and use hand sanitizer frequently, avoid sharing food and drinks with others and staying home if not feeling well. 

Persichilli stated it is important for this younger cohort to remember that the more closely you interact with others, and the long the interaction, the higher the risk for COVID-19 to spread.

Spreading the Virus

“These steps need to be taken seriously,” said Persichilli. “Although they do not often experience serve illness, young people can spread the virus to often more-vulnerable populations, especially those that live in the same household, such as elderly grandparents or parents with underlying medical conditions.”

School Kids

With the 14-18 aged cohort, the worries stem from spending time with friends as well as the return to the classroom. 

“It’s critical that they follow the same precautions,” said Persichilli. 

NJDOH said no cases have been traced backed to in-school transmission.

“The department is aware of students and staff that have tested positive, but as far as we know, these illnesses are not related to school attendance,” she said, adding school officials are to notify district families as well as staff members of a positive test.  

Daily Data

As of Sept. 11, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 195,888 with 578 new cases and nine new deaths, bringing that total to 14,234. The state probable death count increased to 1,789, bringing the overall total to 16,023.

State officials noted eight deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,892, followed by Bergen at 1,797, Hudson with 1,352, Passaic at 1,105, Morris at 686, Sussex at 161 and Warren with 158.

In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 243, Essex has 229, Hudson has 160, Morris at 145, Passaic at 143, Sussex has 37 and Warren has 13.

State Testing 

As for the rate of transmission, it decreased to 1.08 from the previous day’s 1.09. 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 482 patients are hospitalized, with 240 confirmed and 242 awaiting confirmation. The north tier had 251 patients hospitalized, the central 94 and the south 138.

Of those hospitalized, 81 are in intensive care units and 36 on ventilators, while 55 patients were discharged.

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 21,894, followed by Essex at 20,591, Hudson at 20,329, Middlesex at 18,703, Passaic at 18,579, Union at 17,267, Ocean at 11,598, Monmouth at 11,043, Camden at 9,413, Mercer at 8,455, Morris at 7,603, Burlington at 6,641, Somerset at 5,508, Atlantic at 3,849, Gloucester at 3,945, Cumberland at 3,663, Sussex at 1,416, Warren at 1,412, Hunterdon at 1,245, Salem at 1,003 and Cape May at 949.

Another 313 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. Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.

A census of ages for confirmed deaths shows 48% of deaths are of those 80 year old and up, 31% in the range of 65-80, 16% between 50-65 and 5% under the age of 49. 

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 153 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 8,177 of the cases, broken down between 5,073 residents and 3,104 staff. 

Cumulatively, 679 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 24,938 residents and 13,409 staff, for a total of 38,347 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,127 on Sept. 9. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,747 residents deaths and 121 staff deaths. 


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