Latest Wave of COVID-19 Cases Driven by Younger New Jersey residents

As New Jersey encounters a third wave of the pandemic, health officials noted cases are rising in younger residents of the Garden State.

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli characterized the trend of cases increasing in the state as “concerning” as hospitalizations in the last two weeks grew 28%, patients in hospitals 21%, and patients in intensive care units up 16%. The only good news was that those on ventilators declined 4% during the same time period. 

“When we compare hospitalizations in the first and last weeks of March by age group, we’re seeing the percentage of younger individuals being hospitalized (rising),” stated Persichilli at a press briefing March 31. “Ventilator use is declining because younger individuals in the hospital may not need ventilator assistance.” 

New Case Stats

According to NJDOH statistics, there was a 48% increase among individuals 40 to 49; 29% in the age group of 50 to 59; 27% between 60 to 69 years of age; and a 31% of those aged 20 and 29. Conversely, single digit increases were tracked in those aged 30 to 39 (9%), 70 to 79 (7%) and 80 or older (1%).

“These sustained increases of hospitalizations and COVID activity demonstrate that we are definitely in another wave of this virus,” said Persichilli. 

With cases rising, all 21 counties in the state are now back in high-risk activity compared with half being in moderate activity during the month of February. New cases are being driven in part by the coronavirus variants.

Hospilizations Rising

“Based on this report, we’re expecting continued increases in hospitalizations and unfortunately deaths as we follow this rise,” said the commissioner.

The comments were made on the same day Gov. Phil Murphy released models showcasing moderate and high cases scenarios through July. The forecasts show increasing hospitalizations in April through May with a very slow recovery over the Summer. 

In the moderate case NJDOH model, 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.

High Case Model

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.”

“It is important to note that models change daily and if you change even one factor in the modeling, the scenarios can vary, and they are very helpful for planning purposes,” said Persichilli. “As the Governor stated, we use certain assumptions to develop these models, but it is our behaviors that can impact the trajectory that we are on.”

Fighting Fatigue

While noting pandemic fatigue, state officials continue to implore residents to redouble efforts of those behaviors to fight the coronavirus and its new variants—including wearing a mask, moving as much as they can activities outdoors, continually washing hands, and social distancing practices. 

“There is still an uncertainty ahead with this relentless virus that continues to change,” said  Persichilli. “All of the country’s in a race to vaccinate as variants are contributing to the surges.”

Vaccine Distribution

The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 4,350,920 as of April 1. Of those who have received the vaccine, 2,809,654 residents have received their first dose with 1,630,837 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, 56% of those vaccinated are women and 44% 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 492,422 doses, Essex 329,601 doses, Morris 317,184 doses, Hudson 226,437 doses, Passaic 194,800 doses, Sussex 69,443 doses, and Warren 43,910 doses. 

Daily Data

As of April 1, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 804,037 with 4,699 total new PCR cases reported. There were 1,251 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 110,385. The total number of individual cases for the state is 914,422. 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 30 new deaths, bringing that total to 22,023. The state listed probable deaths at 2,568, bringing the overall total to 24,591. State officials noted 21 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

For North Jersey counties on April 1, Bergen had a total of 449 new confirmed cases and 136 probable cases, Essex 609 new cases and 91 probable cases, Hudson 411 new cases and 119 probable cases, Morris 240 new cases and 83 probable cases, Passaic 335 new cases and 68 probable cases, Sussex 132 new cases and 33 probable cases, and Warren 54 cases and 22 new probable cases.

There are a total of 575 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 2,507, followed by Bergen at 2,448, Hudson with 1,928, Passaic at 1,600, Morris at 933, Sussex at 218 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.

State Testing 

As for the rate of transmission, it declined to 1.08 from 1.09 the day before. 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 2,292 patients were hospitalized; 2,221 cases were confirmed and 142 are under investigation. By region, there were 1,157 in the North, 722 in the Central and 413 in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 437 are in intensive care units and 237 on ventilators. A total of 340 patients were discharged, while 269 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 80,613, followed by Essex at 77,652, Middlesex at 77,443, Hudson at 72,394, Monmouth at 61,219, Ocean at 59,957, Passaic at 58,612, Union at 55,050, Camden at 43,429, Morris at 38,181, Burlington at 34,549, Mercer at 28,978, Gloucester at 23,528, Atlantic at 22,365, Somerset at 21,801, Cumberland at 13,207, Sussex at 9,905, Warren at 7,661, Hunterdon at 7,653, Salem at 4,761, and Cape May at 4,137.  

In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 11,408, followed by Union at 9,550, Ocean at 8,808, Essex at 8,009, Hudson at 7,810, Monmouth at 7,138, Morris at 6,990, Middlesex at 6,370, Passaic at 6,224, Atlantic at 5,979, Camden at 5,571, Burlington at 5,546, Somerset at 5,086, Cape May at 4,153, Gloucester at 3,513, Cumberland at 2,176, Mercer at 2,021, Sussex at 1,784, Warren at 851, Hunterdon at 748 and Salem 491.

Another 942 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 225 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 8,042 of the cases, broken down between 3,676 residents and 4,366 staff. 

Cumulatively, 1,324 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,515 residents and 21,542 staff, for a total of 54,057 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,989 on April 1. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,849 residents deaths and 143 staff deaths.

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