Gov. Phil Murphy expressed support for the day one actions of the Biden Administration in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic even as the state confirmed the first two cases of a coronavirus mutation first identified in the United Kingdom.
“I welcome President (Joe) Biden’s focus on a strong and truly national coronavirus response plan,” said Murphy at his press briefing on Jan. 22. “From a commitment to masking, to using the Defense Production Act to getting more vaccines out, to a basic commitment to facts and science—we finally have the real leadership we need in Washington.”
The governor noted he welcomed the federalization of the approach as compared to the Trump administration’s approach that Murphy believed too often left states fighting for such items as personal protection equipment and ventilators in the early days of the pandemic and without explanation did not follow through with the promised levels of COVID-19 vaccine more recently.
“I am much more confident than I was on Tuesday,” proclaimed Murphy. “I have complete faith that the Biden Administration will get us to where we need to be.”
With the focus now on getting the COVID-19 vaccine to the states, Murphy reiterated New Jersey is ready as all six mega sites across the state are now open, including at the Meadowlands in Bergen County and at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall in Morris County
“We built the infrastructure we need, from the ground up, for an aggressive vaccination push,” said Murphy. “We have built a vaccine infrastructure that can handle this job. All we need are the millions of doses we’ve been promised.”
Murphy said as of mid-day Jan. 22, the state had delivered more than 500,000 vaccinations in the Garden State.
“We’ve done that in little more than a month,” Murphy said. “So you can see how we are pushing forward as best we can with the limited resources we have been provided.”
The governor reiterated the aim of the state to get 4.7 million residents vaccinated as well as President Biden’s 100 million shots administered in 100 days are targets that can be achieved.
Goals in Reach
“Our goal is to ensure that every New Jerseyan who raises their hand to be vaccinated gets vaccinated,” said Murphy, who noted nearly 2 million New Jerseyans have registered on the state’s website to receive the vaccine.
“I understand the anxiety of residents who are waiting to be vaccinated. We’re providing as much as possible of the limited vaccine supply in our control to the sites with the largest capacity,” he added.
But the optimism of the vaccine was tempered by the state’s Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli confirming that two cases of the U.K. mutated coronavirus were discovered in New Jersey.
New Variants Discovered
The cases involved an asymptomatic child who traveled to northern New Jersey and an Ocean County man in his 60s, who recovered without being hospitalized.
But as key metrics such as daily cases numbers, rate of transmission and hospitalizations continue to come down, Murphy hoped when the pandemic is over that this week will be remembered as the beginning of the end.
“All of us up here continue to keep our fingers crossed that what we have seen across our healthcare landscape over the past week is the beginning of a new trend for moderating case counts and lower total hospitalizations,” Murphy said.
On Jan. 22, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 584,291 with 3,694 total new PCR cases reported. There were 743 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 66,098. The total number of individual cases for the state is 646,189. Officials noted there is some unknown overlap due to health officials urging those taking a rapid test to get a PCR test.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 118 new deaths, bringing that total to 18,754. The state listed probable deaths at 2,121, bringing the overall total to 20,875. State officials noted 59 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties, Bergen had a total of 364 new confirmed cases and 45 probable cases, Essex 278 new cases and 21 probable cases, Hudson 330 new cases and nine probable cases, Morris 229 new cases and and 28 probable cases, Passaic 180 new cases and 32 probable cases, Sussex 80 new cases and 11 probable cases, and Warren 52 cases and five probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,243, followed by Bergen at 2,162, Hudson with 1,648, Passaic at 1,400, Morris at 832, Sussex at 195 and Warren County at 178.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 268, Essex has 260, Morris at 202, Hudson has 172, Passaic at 160, Sussex has 53 and Warren has 15.
The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Jan. 17, was 10.1%; by region, the rate was 9.7% in the North, 10.3% in the Central region and 10.8% in the South. 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 decreased to 1.04 from 1.07 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 3,328 patients were hospitalized with 3,103 cases confirmed and 228 under investigation. By region, there were 1,408 in the North, 1,114 in the Central and 806 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 638 are in intensive care units and 445 on ventilators. A total of 456 patients were discharged, while 401 were admitted.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most confirmed cumulative cases in the state with 56,563, followed by Essex at 56,174, Middlesex at 55,645, Hudson at 53,306, Passaic at 45,149, Union at 42,638, Ocean at 41,374, Monmouth at 41,351, Camden at 34,548, Burlington at 26,366, Morris at 25,499, Mercer at 22,366, Gloucester at 17,911, Atlantic at 15,894, Somerset at 15,379, Cumberland at 9,922, Sussex at 6,342, Warren at 5,069, Hunterdon at 4,974, Salem at 3,668, and Cape May at 2,985.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 6,345, followed by Union at 6,103, Ocean at 4,812, Essex at 4,638, Hudson at 4,247, Atlantic at 3,994, Morris at 3,979, Monmouth at 3,916, Middlesex at 3,823, Passaic at 3,730, Camden at 3,488, Somerset at 3,316, Burlington at 3,092, Cape May at 2,781, Gloucester at 2,446, Cumberland at 1,894, Mercer at 1,166, Sussex at 843, Warren at 557, Hunterdon at 494, and Salem 384.
Another 1,168 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 121 outbreaks involving 597 cases, with 10 new outbreaks accounting for 23 cases reported in the weekly update, have been reported in all 21 counties in the Garden State.
For North Jersey, Bergen County has 26 confirmed outbreaks with 115 cases, Passaic County has five confirmed outbreaks with 25 cases, Sussex has five confirmed outbreaks with 13 cases, Warren has five confirmed outbreaks with 11 cases, Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with 10 cases, Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 91 cases and Morris County has one confirmed outbreaks with five cases.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 427 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 14,669 of the cases, broken down between 6,994 residents and 7,675 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,207 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 31,670 residents and 20,904 staff, for a total of 52,574 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,688. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,627 residents deaths and 140 staff deaths.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 490,677 as of Jan. 22. Of those who have received the vaccine, 428,711 residents have received their first dose with 61,588 their second; 55% have been administered the Moderna vaccine and 45% the Pfizer.
Demographically, 61% of those vaccinated are women and 39% men. As for ethnicity, 47% are White, 20% unknown, 18% other, 6% Asian, 5% Hispanic and 3% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 27% are 65 years old or olders, 31% are between the ages of 50-64, 31% are between the ages of 40-49, and 11% are between the ages of 18-29.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 54,231 doses, Essex 39,736 doses, Hudson 22,174 doses, Morris 34,182 doses, Passaic 22,259 doses, Sussex 7,658 doses, and Warren 4,884 doses.