New Jersey’s Department of Health commissioner recently delivered the good news certain criterias have been met so that New Jerseyans can visit loved ones in long-term care facilities.
The health department notified facilities in seven counties— Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem—can restart indoor, socially distanced visitation by appointment, because they are in a region with moderate COVID activity over the past two week.
“Once they meet certain requirements and attest to them, they can schedule indoor visitations,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli at a press briefing on Feb. 24. “This is good news. We are seeing the outbreaks in our long-term care facilities decrease.”
Protocols to be Met
Persichilli said indoor visitation can only occur in facilities where the facility has sufficient staff, a mechanism for appointments and sufficient personal protection equipment and cleaning and disinfection supplies to permit safe visitation.
Additionally, a facility must have no new facility-onset coronavirus cases identified in the last 14 days and is not currently conducting outbreak testing.
The nursing homes must have a protocol to collect informed consent from both the residents and the visitors to allow visitation in a designated location for the indoor visitation and all required attestations have been submitted.
Long-term care facilities in North Jersey are still unable to provide indoor visitiations as they are in the Red High Risk category.
Vaccinations Nearing Completion
The ability to schedule appointments coincides with state officials stating the federal vaccination program has dramatically improved over the last month.
CVS and Walgreens have administered 232,627 doses, with residents receiving 126,319 and staff doses 106,308 totalling; CVS has dispensed 157,442 doses and Walgreens 75,185.
According to officials, both pharmacies are expected to have their federal contracts extended as they circle back for appointments for those who have yet to complete the two-shot dose.
“Both of the pharmacies are significantly into their third clinics and CVS actually has scheduled eight fourth clinics,” said Persichilli.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 342 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 12,951 of the cases, broken down between 6,413 residents and 6,538 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,263 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,230 residents and 20,977 staff, for a total of 53,297 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,906 on Feb. 26. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,817 residents deaths and 143 staff deaths.
As of Feb. 26, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 696,000 with 3,149 total new PCR cases reported over the two day. There were 1,007 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 86,833. The total number of individual cases for the state is 782,833. Gov. Murphy previously 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 46 new deaths, bringing that total to 20,861. The state listed probable deaths at 2,331, bringing the overall total to 23,192. State officials noted 28 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Feb. 26, Bergen had a total of 400 new confirmed cases and 199 probable cases, Essex 292 new cases and 64 probable cases, Hudson 307 new cases and 72 probable cases, Morris 195 new cases and and 63 probable cases, Passaic 180 new cases and 55 probable cases, Sussex 27 new cases and 13 probable cases, and Warren 44 cases and five probable cases.
State officials have identified a total of 53 cases of the B117 UK coronavirus variant in 12 counties in New Jersey, including eight in Essex County, four in Morris County, three in Hudson, and two each in Passaic and Warren counties.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,402, followed by Bergen at 2,333, Hudson with 1,820, Passaic at 1,508, Morris at 892, Sussex at 209 and Warren County at 197.
In regards to probable deaths reported Feb. 24, Bergen has 281, Essex has 269, Morris has 227, Hudson has 180, Passaic has 173, Sussex has 64 and Warren has 19.
As for the rate of transmission, it increased to 0.89 from 0.88 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Feb. 22, was 6.5%; by region, the rate was 6.9% in the North, 6.8% in the Central region and 5.0% in the South.
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 2,008 patients were hospitalized; 1,850 cases were confirmed and 158 are under investigation. By region, there were 969 in the North, 590 in the Central and 449 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 439 are in intensive care units and 270 on ventilators. A total of 264 patients were discharged, while 255 were admitted.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most confirmed cumulative cases in the state with 69,249, followed by Middlesex at 67,137, Essex at 66,882, Hudson at 63,044, Passaic at 51,680, Ocean at 51,553, Monmouth at 51,103, Union at 48,598, Camden at 39,194, Morris at 31,797, Burlington at 30,684, Mercer at 25,965, Gloucester at 20,915, Atlantic at 19,545, Somerset at 18,512, Cumberland at 12,058, Sussex at 7,849, Warren at 6,267, Hunterdon at 6,231, Salem at 4,192, and Cape May at 3,667.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 8,613, followed by Union at 7,677, Ocean at 6,563, Essex at 6,196, Hudson at 5,628, Morris at 5,355, Monmouth at 5,277, Atlantic at 5,061, Middlesex at 4,951, Passaic at 4,757, Camden at 4,695, Burlington at 4,446, Somerset at 4,144, Cape May at 3,496, Gloucester at 3,082, Cumberland at 2,141, Mercer at 1,612, Sussex at 1,169, Warren at 716, Hunterdon at 621, and Salem 455.
Another 878 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 152 outbreaks involving 737 cases, with 10 new outbreaks accounting for 66 cases reported in the weekly update on Feb. 24.
For North Jersey, Bergen County has 37 confirmed outbreaks with 155 cases, Passaic County has seven confirmed outbreaks with 32 cases, Sussex has six confirmed outbreaks with 15 cases, Warren has eight confirmed outbreaks with 20 cases, Morris County has four confirmed outbreaks with 32 cases, Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with 10 cases, and Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 92 cases.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 1,899,671 as of Feb. 26. Of those who have received the vaccine, 1,262,124 residents have received their first dose with 636,947 their second; 54% have been administered the Moderna vaccine and 46% the Pfizer.
Demographically, 58% of those vaccinated are women and 42% men. As for ethnicity, 55% are White, 15% unknown, 14% other, 6% Asian, 5% Hispanic and 4% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 41% are 65 years old or olders, 27% are between the ages of 50-64, 24% are between the ages of 40-49, and 8% are between the ages of 18-29.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 215,124 doses, Essex 150,829 doses, Morris 139,995 doses, Passaic 84,543 doses, Hudson 88,258 doses, Sussex 28,539 doses, and Warren 17,274 doses.