New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccine supply next week will rise nearly 20%, a number still below the quantum leap Gov. Phil Murphy is expecting from the federal government in the coming weeks.
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said at a press briefing March 24 the state will receive the week of March 29 a total of 494,430 doses, including 267,930 of Pfizer, 174,800 of Moderna and 51,700 of Johnson & Johnson— the last an amount Persichilli characterized as a “good surprise.” The doses are up from this week’s total allocation of 416,660— 231,660 of Pfizer, 174,800 of Moderna and 10,200 of Johnson & Johnson.
“Personally it isn’t quite the quantum leap that I had anticipated, but it is certainly going in the right direction,” said Murphy. “The sense we’re getting—and it’s a sense from the feds—(is) that that number is only going up. I think in fairness to them, they don’t want to give us some level and then not have the confidence that they could continue to meet that level week in and week out.”
The increase in supplies comes as large numbers of New Jerseyans are unable to schedule a shot while both state and federal lawmakers are calling for more vaccines to be delivered to urban areas, especially communities of color hardest hit during the pandemic. The latest politicians raising the issue were Sen. Bob Menendez and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.
It’s an issue that state officials are working through and planning as supplies increase.
“We remain among the top states in terms of our distribution…we are the 11th most populous state, so we have been covering a lot more ground than some of the other states which may be ahead of us in one category or another,” said Murphy. “There is still a lot of pent-up demand for vaccines. We are hopeful that we’re now entering into the last week before our supplies begin to grow significantly and that we can open up many more appointment slots.”
With the numbers of vaccinations lower in urban areas, administration officials plan to use three vans to reach those hardest to negotiate.
“We are working on getting….vans licensed under a healthcare facility to be able to give the vaccinations,” said Persichilli. “Our goal is to go deep into communities…hopefully with J&J doses we will be able to vaccinate those individuals.”
The health commissioner said the state’s goal is that everyone will be within a 15-minute walk or a 20 to 30-minute drive to a vaccine site and work to make sure every resident has access to a registered vaccine site.
“We’ve learned through our pop-ups that our percentages of individuals from communities of color increase exponentially when we’re in a community center, when we’re in a church,” Persichilli. “That is the best way to get deep into communities who otherwise have a digital divide, cannot register, have some disabilities that cannot bring them to a larger site.”
Additionally, NJDOH is working with the Department of Human Services to identify as many home-bound individuals as possible to get them vaccinated.
“We will be working with our local health departments who are authorized to go into homes,” said the commissioner. “Some of them have already done pilots going into the home to vaccinate the home-bound both with either Moderna or J&J.”
Murphy reiterated that the state’s goal is to fully vaccinate 4.7 million residents, or 70% of the state, by the end of May. As of March 25, the state has fully vaccinated 20% of New Jerseyans eligible.
“We’re going to open (vaccination eligibility) as soon as we can reasonably open it up, and I think it’s going to be somewhat dependent…on supplies that we get,” said Murphy. “I would hope sooner than later we can signal at least probably one other set of communities that will come online… not too long in the distant future. Then again, by May 1, everybody’s up to bat.”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 3,716,710 as of March 25. Of those who have received the vaccine, 2,465,545 residents have received their first dose with 1,322,235 receiving their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose; 49% have been administered the Moderna vaccine, 50% the Pfizer vaccine and 2% the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Demographically, 57% of those vaccinated are women and 43% men. As for ethnicity, 59% are White, 11% unknown, 11% other, 7% Asian, 7% Hispanic and 5% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 40% are 65 years old or olders, 28% 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 426,477 doses, Essex 284,026 doses, Morris 278,027 doses, Hudson 188,791 doses, Passaic 166,529 doses, Sussex 58,235 doses, and Warren 36,885 doses.
As of March 25, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 777,521 with 3,469 total new PCR cases reported. There were 696 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 104,361. The total number of individual cases for the state is 881,882. 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 38 new deaths, bringing that total to 21,795. The state listed probable deaths at 2,535, bringing the overall total to 24,330. State officials noted 18 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on March 25, Bergen had a total of 335 new confirmed cases and 51 probable cases, Essex 376 new cases and 29 probable cases, Hudson 285 new cases and 27 probable cases, Morris 195 new cases and 57 probable cases, Passaic 196 new cases and 59 probable cases, Sussex 85 new cases and 31 probable cases, and Warren 50 cases and four new probable cases.
There are a total of 415 coronavirus variants being reported in the Garden State. State officials documented 401 cases of the U.K. variant, seven cases of the California variants, six cases of the Brazilian P1 variant, and one case of the South African variant. Additionally, there are 80 cases of the New York variant, considered “of interest” by the CDC.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,489, followed by Bergen at 2,418, Hudson with 1,899, Passaic at 1,582, Morris at 928, Sussex at 216 and Warren County at 199.
In regards to probable deaths reported March 24, Bergen has 288, Essex has 284, Morris has 240, Hudson has 199, Passaic has 191, Sussex has 66 and Warren has 25.
As for the rate of transmission, it increased to 1.10 from the 1.09 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of March 20, was 12.5%; by region, the rate was12.5% in the North, 13.6% in the Central region and 10.7% in the South.
Officials reported 2,164 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 1,082 in the North, 660 in the Central and 422 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 443 are in intensive care units and 213 on ventilators. A total of 301 patients were discharged, while 324 were admitted.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospilizations, intensive care units, ventilators 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.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most confirmed cumulative cases in the state with 77,563, followed by Middlesex at 74,827, Essex at 74,725, Hudson at 70,296, Monmouth at 58,950, Ocean at 58,052, Passaic at 56,690, Union at 53,443, Camden at 42,369, Morris at 36,802, Burlington at 33,550, Mercer at 28,243, Gloucester at 22,860, Atlantic at 21,703, Somerset at 20,945, Cumberland at 12,976, Sussex at 9,276, Warren at 7,360, Hunterdon at 7,231, Salem at 4,620, and Cape May at 4,027.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 10,599, followed by Union at 9,053, Ocean at 8,239, Essex at 7,539, Hudson at 7,094, Monmouth at 6,768, Morris at 6,678, Middlesex at 6,073, Passaic at 5,881, Atlantic at 5,772, Camden at 5,332, Burlington at 5,230, Somerset at 4,844, Cape May at 3,979, Gloucester at 3,399, Cumberland at 2,160, Mercer at 1,909, Sussex at 1,606, Warren at 797, Hunterdon at 698 and Salem 480.
Another 1,013 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 205 outbreaks involving 947 cases have been reported, with 17 new outbreaks accounting for 57 cases in the weekly update on March 24.
For North Jersey, Bergen County has 45 confirmed outbreaks with 181 cases, Passaic County has 12 confirmed outbreaks with 42 cases, Warren has 11 confirmed outbreaks with 28 cases, Sussex has eight confirmed outbreaks with 24 cases, Morris County has five confirmed outbreaks with 34 cases, Hudson County has four confirmed outbreaks with 21 cases, and Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 92 cases.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 233 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 8,691 of the cases, broken down between 4,023 residents and 4,668 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,309 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,475 residents and 21,411 staff, for a total of 53,886 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,983 on March 25. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,848 residents deaths and 143 staff deaths.