Gov. Phil Murphy called the new COVID-19 cases announced Nov. 10 “devastating” as the state’s health commissioner expects the daily New Jersey count in the thousands to be the new norm for the foreseeable future.
State officials reported today a six-month high of 3,877 of positive coronavirus test. While New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) Commissioner Judith Persichilli had warned an inflated number would be coming the previous day due to a reporting issue, the seven-day rolling average for new cases has increased 55% over a week’s time and 233% in a month to 2,568.
“I think our reality is that we will have between 2,000 and 3,000 cases a day going forward,” said Persichilli at a press briefing Nov. 9.
Six Month Battle
“Again, the numbers are proving that the second wave is here,” stated Murphy. “This is our reality. If we can get through these next…five to six months, we will be in a strong position to finally beat this virus with a vaccine.”
Murphy said he talked recently with Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who was “unequivocal” that a vaccine would be ready by April or May, 2021.
“The good news is that a vaccine is on the horizon,” said Murphy. “I’m going to choose to be glass half-full here. This is not forever and always. We basically have a six-month window to beat the fatigue back and beat the virus into the ground. Let’s get through the remainder of the Fall and the Winter together. Let’s work harder knowing that if we can beat back this pandemic today, we can ultimately defeat it for good in the Spring.”
The statements came on the same day Pfizer released positive results about a vaccine they are working on and an antibody drug from Eli Lilly, similar to a treatment President Donald Trump received after contracting the virus, was granted emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.
“The news that we got …about the vaccine, if it holds at 90%, would be tremendous news,” said NJDOH’s Communicable Disease Service Medical Director Dr. Ed Lifshitz. “Virus vaccines for things like influenza, 40% to 60% is where it’s typically estimated its efficacy is. The FDA has said that they would approve any CVOID vaccine that was above 50% effectiveness, so 90% would exceed expectations.”
Persichilli said a key area of work to do is boosting confidence in this vaccine among the healthcare workforce. In a survey developed by the NJDOH’s educators and shared with the Medical Society of New Jersey, the New Jersey Hospital Association, and the State Nurses Association, 66% of the doctors would definitely or probably take the COVID-19 vaccine; 47% of nurses answered that they would take the vaccine.
Selling the Vaccine
Respondents who said science and vaccine safety were the top concerns, indicated they would be willing to get the vaccine at a later date when more data is available on the effectiveness and the safety of the vaccine.
“We need our healthcare heroes, who have been identified as the priority population, to get vaccinated to protect their patients, their families, and to help contain the spread of the virus in our state,” said Persichilli. “Given the level of vaccine hesitancy, the department knows that an important part of our job is to share the science and the data with healthcare professionals. We want them to feel more comfortable with getting the vaccine and recommending the vaccine to their patients once it is generally available.“
As of Nov. 10, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 260,430 with 3,877 total new cases reported and 21 new deaths, bringing that total to 14,661. The state listed probable deaths at 1,800, bringing the overall total to 16,461.
For North Jersey counties, Essex had a total of 675 new cases, Passaic 368 new cases, Bergen 354 new cases, Hudson 293 new cases, Morris 168 new cases, Warren 29 new cases and Sussex 14 new cases.
State officials noted 15 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 1,929, followed by Bergen at 1,827, Hudson with 1,381, Passaic at 1,132, Morris at 698, 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. 5 was 7.5%. By region, the North has a rate of 8.5%, Central at 6.0 and the South at 8.0%. 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 increased to 1.25 from 1.24 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 1,645 patients are hospitalized; by region, there were 872 in the North, 400 in the Central and 373 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 327 are in intensive care units and 98 on ventilators, while 112 patients were discharged.
Essex Tops County Count
Essex has the most cumulative cases in the state with 28,091, followed by Bergen at 27,361, Hudson at 25,393, Middlesex at 24,352, Passaic at 23,120, Union at 22,584, Ocean at 17,783, Monmouth at 15,558, Camden at 13,419, Morris at 10,419, Mercer at 10,228, Burlington at 9,630, Somerset at 7,140, Gloucester at 6,365, Atlantic at 6,012, Cumberland at 4,286, Sussex at 1,912, Warren at 1,859, Hunterdon at 1,831, Salem at 1,252 and Cape May at 1,237.
Another 598 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 206 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 4,588 of the cases, broken down between 2,491 residents and 2,097 staff.
Cumulatively, 866 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 25,878 residents and 14,449 staff, for a total of 40,327 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,244 on Nov. 10. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,871 residents deaths and 122 staff deaths.