Somber New Jersey state officials presented two coronavirus case models forecasting the passing of Winter records to prepare New Jerseyans for the pandemic that could last through the Summer.
“This pandemic is not over,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a press briefing March 31. “I know we all want to get back to things the way they were, but we cannot yet do that. We have to keep pushing for a little while longer.”
New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) Commissioner Judith Persichilli stated flatley, “We are definitely in another wave of this virus.”
In the moderate case model developed by NJDOH, there would be a daily high of 5,445 new cases on April 18. The same day hospitalizations would hit their high of 2,669, with 574 patients in ICU and 319 on ventilators. The model forecasts new cases not dropping below 3,000 daily until mid-June.
The moderate model assumes the number of new hospitalizations follows the rates seen after past religious holidays and expansions of indoor activities. Additionally, its takes into account expected increases in vaccinations and assumes vaccines average 95% efficacy against all variants.
In the high case model, the state would hit a new case high of more than 8,162 daily cases and 3,644 hospitalizations on May 18 and again in mid-June. Hospitalizations would settle into a range of 3,500 from mid-May into mid-June. There would be a peak of 2,030 patients in intensive care, with 778 on ventilators on May 20. Hospitalizations would not fall below 3,000 until July 13.
“Basically, we would be back to where we were in December and January.” Murphy noted, adding “Under this scenario, we’re in for a long, hot summer.”
The high case model assumes the COVDI-19 vaccination program continues at its current pace, but vaccines only prove 65% effective against the new variants. As residents succumb to pandemic fatigue, this rate forecasts residents lowering their guard with the warmer weather and a rate of hospitalizations from holidays and reopenings above recent history.
Ability to Change Forecasts
“We must work together and be vigilant to ensure that we do not slip backwards,” said Persichilli. “There is still an uncertainty ahead with this relentless virus that continues to change.”
Murphy echoed those sentiments by reminding New Jerseyans have and continue to demonstrate their actions can outperform the forecasts.
“These are models. They are not certainties,” Murphy said. “We can change models through our behavior. We’ve crushed the curves twice now. Let’s do it a third — and hopefully final — time.”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 4,225,964 as of March 31. Of those who have received the vaccine, 2,739.875 residents have received their first dose with 1,570.914 receiving their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose; 51% have been administered the Pfizer vaccine, 47% the Moderna vaccine and 2% the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Demographically, 57% of those vaccinated are women and 43% men. As for ethnicity, 59% are White, 11% other, 10% unknown, 8% Asian, 8% Hispanic and 5% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 39% 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 468,516 doses, Essex 312,913 doses, Morris 304,808 doses, Hudson 210,780 doses, Passaic 183,301 doses, Sussex 65,408 doses, and Warren 41,575 doses.
As of March 31, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 799,391 with 4,378 total new PCR cases reported. There were 1,316 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 109,425. The total number of individual cases for the state is 908,816. 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 44 new deaths, bringing that total to 21,993. The state listed probable deaths at 2,568, bringing the overall total to 24,561. State officials noted 25 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on March 30, Bergen had a total of 544 new confirmed cases and 135 probable cases, Essex 485 new cases and 113 probable cases, Hudson 348 new cases and 134 probable cases, Morris 228 new cases and 87 probable cases, Passaic 319 new cases and 97 probable cases, Sussex 74 new cases and 51 probable cases, and Warren 41 cases and nine new probable cases.
There are a total of 624 coronavirus variants being reported in the Garden State. State officials documented 525 cases of the U.K. variant, eight cases of the California variants, eight 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 2,506, followed by Bergen at 2,445, Hudson with 1,924, Passaic at 1,595, Morris at 932, Sussex at 217 and Warren County at 203.
In regards to probable deaths reported March 31, Bergen has 295, Essex has 290, Morris has 243, Hudson has 201, Passaic has 194, Sussex has 66 and Warren has 25.
As for the rate of transmission, it was unchanged from a day before at 1.09. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of March 27, was 14.3%; by region, the rate was 15.0% in the North, 14.4% in the Central region and 11.7% in the South.
Officials reported 2,363 patients were hospitalized; 2,221 cases were confirmed and 142 are under investigation. By region, there were 1,193 in the North, 754 in the Central and 416 in the South.
Of those hospitalized, 458 are in intensive care units and 211 on ventilators. A total of 298 patients were discharged, while 344 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 80,191, followed by Essex at 77,045, Middlesex at 77,012, Hudson at 71,988, Monmouth at 60,878, Ocean at 59,659, Passaic at 58,275, Union at 54,715, Camden at 43,203, Morris at 37,944, Burlington at 34,381, Mercer at 28,849, Gloucester at 23,424, Atlantic at 22,251, Somerset at 21,667, Cumberland at 13,173, Sussex at 9,772, Warren at 7,606, Hunterdon at 7,590, Salem at 4,750, and Cape May at 4,119.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 11,297, followed by Union at 9,454, Ocean at 8,716, Essex at 7,940, Hudson at 7,694, Monmouth at 7,104, Morris at 6,941, Middlesex at 6,320, Passaic at 6,180, Atlantic at 5,949, Camden at 5,519, Burlington at 5,471, Somerset at 5,053, Cape May at 4,129, Gloucester at 3,504, Cumberland at 2,178, Mercer at 2,000, Sussex at 1,756, Warren at 831, Hunterdon at 741 and Salem 492.
Another 899 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 16 new outbreaks accounting for 55 cases in the weekly update on March 31.
For North Jersey, Bergen County has 47 confirmed outbreaks with 185 cases, Passaic County has 12 confirmed outbreaks with 42 cases, Warren has 12 confirmed outbreaks with 30 cases, Sussex has nine confirmed outbreaks with 31 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 226 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 8,149 of the cases, broken down between 3,701 residents and 4,448 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,324 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,505 residents and 21,527 staff, for a total of 54,032 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,989 on March 31. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,849 residents deaths and 143 staff deaths.