As more than 5,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in New Jersey over the weekend, officials asked residents to overcome the weariness in fighting COVID-19.
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said while New Jersey is not alone with cases increasing exceptionally, tougher times are ahead.
“Many states are also seeing record cases and severe strains in their hospital capacity. Top health leaders have cautioned that they expect the situation to get worse as the weather gets colder and more people gather inside,” said Persichilli at a news briefing Nov. 5. “As I’ve said before, this virus has not taken a break and we cannot either. Pandemic fatigue is a real threat to containing COVID-19.”
Tools of the Trade
Persichilli said practices such as masking up, social distance, washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of transmission need to be done especially around loved ones and friends.
“As New Jersey is experiencing increasing community spread, we have to be steadfast in practicing our precautionary measures to protect our health and the health of others,” the commissioner stated. “While we are seeing cases related to activities such as sports or school or daycare and workplaces, the majority of our cases are not easily traced back to a single exposure, and are likely related to routine gatherings in places such as your homes.”
Gov. Phil Murphy echoed those sentiments, saying “we must recommit to doing all that we can to slow the spread of this virus and to save every life we can. That’s simple stuff, wear your mask, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, social distance, take yourself off the field if you don’t feel well or you’ve been exposed, use common sense.”
Home for the Holidays
Murphy reiterated a common sense step is not traveling outside of New Jersey for the time being, unless for essential reasons such as work, school or worship.
“Thanksgiving is just three weeks away so I encourage everyone to follow the CDC’s guidelines and plan for a smaller dinner with your immediate household family only,” said the governor. “We do not want anyone’s Thanksgiving to lead to more cases of COVID-19.”
Murphy even went back to a message used in the Spring when state officials were trying to flatten the curve.
Old Slogans New Again
“Remember, public health creates economic health. It happens in that order,” he said. “For us to get to the stronger, fairer and more resilient New Jersey when this pandemic ends, we need to take action right now.”
State officials noted the actions of the past that worked must continue as the second wave rolls through New Jersey.
“As a state, we’ve been working together for more than eight months to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have adapted to new protocols, and we’ve all adapted to new ways of life. We must continue to practice our preventive measures,” said Persichilli.
Murphy added “these are the things we need to do now just as much as we needed to do them last Spring. They crushed the curve once and we can do it again, but only if we all make that commitment.”
As of Nov. 8, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 254,595 with 5,250 new cases reported over the weekend and 15 new deaths, bringing that total to 14,629. The state listed probable deaths at 1,800, bringing the overall total to 16,429.
For North Jersey counties, Essex had a total of 617 new cases, Bergen 516 new cases, Hudson 476 new cases, Passaic 425 new cases, Morris 277 new cases, Warren 63 new cases and Sussex 43 new cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,923, followed by Bergen at 1,826, Hudson with 1,380, Passaic at 1,124, Morris at 696, Sussex at 162 and Warren with 158.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 245, Essex has 230, Hudson has 158, Morris at 145, Passaic at 141, Sussex has 36 and Warren has 13.
The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Nov. 1 was 7.7%. By region, the North has a rate of 8.7%, Central at 7.3 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 declined to 1.23 from 1.25 the day before. 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 1,439 patients are hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 284 are in intensive care units and 89 on ventilators, while 197 patients were discharged.
Essex Tops County Count
Essex has the most cumulative cases in the state with 27,266, followed by Bergen at 26,924, Hudson at 24,980, Middlesex at 23,917, Passaic at 22,551, Union at 22,054, Ocean at 17,566, Monmouth at 15,249, Camden at 13,020, Mercer at 9,960, Morris at 10.146, Burlington at 9,355, Somerset at 6,948, Gloucester at 6,163, Atlantic at 5,846, Cumberland at 4,210, Sussex at 1,888, Warren at 1,792, Hunterdon at 1,776, Salem at 1,237 and Cape May at 1,218.
Another 569 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 26 outbreaks involving 146 cases have been reported in 15 of the 21 counties in the Garden State, up from 28 outbreaks involving 122 cases a week previous. For North Jersey, Bergen County has five confirmed outbreaks with 15 cases, Warren County has two confirmed outbreaks with four cases, Sussex County has two confirmed outbreaks with five cases, Passaic County has one confirmed outbreak with nine cases, and Hudson County has one confirmed outbreak with four cases.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 194 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 4,550 of the cases, broken down between 2,511 residents and 2,039 staff.
Cumulatively, 848 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 25,758 residents and 14,312 staff, for a total of 40,070 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,235 on Nov. 6. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,863 residents deaths and 121 staff deaths.