Second Surge of COVID-19 Expected to Peak Early 2021

New Jersey’s health commissioner estimates the peak of the second wave will hit New Jersey during the first three months of 2021.

“Taking very, very preliminary predictive modeling puts it in the first quarter of next year,” said Judith Persichilli, head of the New Jersey Department of Health, at a press briefing Nov. 2. “It changes every day as we look at new cases and hospitalizations. We so far have tracked a slight uptick with reopenings but it’s so slight it has not moved the dial very much in terms of hospitals being overwhelmed.” 

“We look at it every week, we try to make some predictions but it’s really very preliminary. We’re going to be vigilant from now through March.”

Doubling Down

Persichilli called on residents to to double down on all these efforts to contain the spread of the virus , citing the familiar the refrain of prevention efforts such as social distancing of six feet from persons who live outside your household, wearing a mask, washing hands often, using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol and staying home when sick or if you were exposed to someone with COVID-19.

According to the health commissioner, data recently presented in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed mask wearing going up across the country but other safety measures have declined or remained flat. Reported adherence to these preventive behaviors was lowest among younger adults aged 18 to 29.

Bend the Curve Again

“New Jerseyans have done it before; you have all done this before and I know you can do it again,” she said. “But if we all can recommit to fighting this virus together, we can hope that the state is in a better place in time for the holidays. Our behavior will determine the path forward for the state of New Jersey.”

Gov. Phil Murphy reminded the public that the models forecasting the peak “are not a fait accompli. They exist, in many cases, based on if you do what you’re doing now, this is where the trajectory will take you.” 

The governor noted the modeling is different from the Spring due to data accumulated over 10 months. 

Not Forever

“In the spring we were using Ebola, we were using HIV/AIDS, H1N1, other past epidemiological experiences to inform our theoretical ability to bend the curve,” said Murphy. “We don’t need to do that anymore. We know what we did. We did it together.”

In a hopeful tone, the first-term Democratic governor said the steps needed to take will only be short term, with a vaccine and therapeutics on the horizon. 

“It’s not like we’re going to have to do this forever and for always. We’re going to get there, folks but it’s up to us to bend that curve again, just like we did the first time,” stated Murphy.

Daily Data

As of Nov. 3, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 242,825 with 1,832 total new cases reported and 18 new deaths, bringing that total to 14,582. The state listed probable deaths at 1,789, bringing the overall total to 16,371.

For North Jersey counties, Essex had a total of 213 new cases, Hudson 193 new cases, Bergen 170 new cases, Passaic 160 new cases, Morris 94 new cases, Sussex 18 new cases and Warren 10 new cases.

State officials noted 23 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 1,918, followed by Bergen at 1,821, Hudson with 1,377, Passaic at 1,122, Morris at 695, Sussex at 161 and Warren with 158.

In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 243, Essex has 230, Hudson has 157, Morris at 144, Passaic at 141, Sussex has 36 and Warren has 13.

State Testing 

The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Oct. 29 was 5.3%. By region, the North has a rate of 5.8%, Central at 4.1 and the South at 6.5%. 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. 

As for the rate of transmission, it remained unchanged from the day before at 1.28. 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 1,133 patients are hospitalized; by region, there were 585 in the North, 267 in the Central and 281 in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 216 are in intensive care units and 78 on ventilators, while 73 patients were discharged.

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 25,852, followed by Essex at 25,696, Hudson at 23,917, Middlesex at 22,988, Passaic at 21,546, Union at 21,020, Ocean at 17,105, Monmouth at 14,583, Camden at 12,172, Mercer at 9,535, Morris at 9,549, Burlington at 8,851, Somerset at 6,663, Gloucester at 5,778, Atlantic at 5,454, Cumberland at 4,092, Sussex at 1,792, Warren at 1,660, Hunterdon at 1,663, Salem at 1,198 and Cape May at 1,161.

Another 550 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 28 outbreaks involving 122 cases have been reported in 15 of the 21 counties in the Garden State, up from 25 outbreaks involving 111 cases a week previous. For North Jersey, Bergen County has three confirmed outbreaks with nine cases, Passaic County has one confirmed outbreak with nine cases, Hudson County has one confirmed outbreak with four cases, and Sussex County has one confirmed outbreak with two cases. 

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 167 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 4,670 of the cases, broken down between 2,642 residents and 2,028 staff. 

Cumulatively, 798 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 25,562 residents and 14,043 staff, for a total of 39,605 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,226 on Nov. 3. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,841 residents deaths and 121 staff deaths.

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