New Jersey Officials “Cautiously Optimistic” Coronavirus Third Wave Has Peaked

State officials are hopeful that a third wave of the coronavirus has crested.

“It’s baby steps but we like that the numbers are starting to go in a better direction,” said Gov. Phil Murphy at a press briefing on April 19. “For my taste, it’s still too early to declare victory…but I am quietly, cautiously optimistic.” 

The number of new cases for April 19 was 2,323, brokedown between 1,935 confirmed new PCR cases and 388 positive antigen tests. The governor did say he was still worried about such metrics as high positivity rates, in low double digits on weekends and high single digits during the week. 

Comparatively, the daily high’s in the most recent waves were 4,699 cases on April 1 and 6,922 Jan. 13 this year. Noted highs in 2020 was 4,391 on April 17 at the beginning of the pandemic and 6,247 on Dec. 12. The lowest reported of cases over the last 13 months was 144 on June 19, 2020.

Below Best Case Model

At the beginning of the month, the state released estimates of best, moderate and worst cases scenarios they had modeled. The best case scenario has the state reaching highs on April 18 of new coronavirus cases at 4,344, hospitalizations at 2,129, patients in intensive care at 458 and ventilators in use at 255. For the moderate forecast, highs are reached on the same April date of new coronavirus cases at 5,445, hospitalizations at 2,669, patients in intensive care at 574 and ventilators in use at 319. 

In the worst case model, new coronavirus cases peak at 8,162 and hospitalizations at 3,633 on May 18, while patients in intensive care reach 776 on May 21 and ventilators in use top off at 421 May 12.  Murphy at the time believed the numbers would come in between the best and moderate cases scenarios.

State officials believe that continuing to follow the health protocols of social distancing and wearing a face mask, doing things more outside and the continued increase of vaccinations in New Jersey is helping to lower new daily cases.

Cautiously Optimistic

“I agree that it’s a little too early to predict our trajectory but we can be cautiously optimistic,” stated Dr. Christina Tan of the Department of Health, who notes activity levels have dropped recently. “We remain in this delicate balance. Even though we are getting vaccination rates up, we still have a lot of disease still circulating in the community.”

On the day in which vaccine eligibility opened up to all residents of New Jersey 16 and older,  Murphy expressed hope that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be back in the picture to help New Jersey reach their vaccination goal for the beginning of Summer.

If vaccine supplies continue to stay steady, the governor said, “I have complete confidence that we’ll be able to get to our goal of getting 4.7 million adults vaccinated by the end of June … hopefully before.”

Vaccine Distribution

The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 6,068,731 as of April 19. Of those who have received the vaccine, 3,807,986 residents have received their first dose with 2,507,736 receiving their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose; 52% have been administered the Pfizer vaccine, 44% the Moderna vaccine and 4% the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Demographically, 55% of those vaccinated are women and 45% men. As for ethnicity, 56% are White, 10% Hispanic,10% other, 9% Asian, 9% unknown and 6% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 38% are 65 years old or olders, 29% are between the ages of 50-64, 25% are between the ages of 40-49, and 9% are between the ages of 18-29.  

In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 677,151 doses, Essex 470,303 doses, Morris 425,275 doses, Hudson 371,285 doses, Passaic 283,971 doses, Sussex 93,906 doses, and Warren 60,714 doses. 

Daily Data

As of April 16, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 860,447 with 1,935 total new PCR cases reported. There were 388 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 120,589. The total number of individual cases for the state is 981,036. 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 18 new deaths, bringing that total to 22,569. The state listed probable deaths at 2,592, bringing the overall total to 25,161. State officials noted 24 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.  

For North Jersey counties on April 19, Bergen had a total of 160 new confirmed cases and 34 probable cases, Essex 233 new cases and 41 probable cases, Hudson 170 new cases and 31 probable cases, Morris 77 new cases and 16 probable cases, Passaic 151 new cases and 19 probable cases, Sussex 43 new cases and six probable cases, and Warren 18 cases and two new probable cases.

There are a total of 1,936 coronavirus variants being reported in the Garden State. State officials documented 1,815 cases of the U.K. variant, 82 cases of the California variants, 36 cases of the Brazilian P1 variant, and three cases of the South African variant. 

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,559, followed by Bergen at 2,504, Hudson with 1,981, Passaic at 1,645, Morris at 952, Sussex at 222 and Warren County at 205.

In regards to probable deaths reported April 14, Bergen has 294, Essex has 291, Morris has 246, Hudson has 206, Passaic has 195, Sussex has 67 and Warren has 25.

State Testing 

As for the rate of transmission, it increased to 0.92 from 0.91 the last three days. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of April 15, was 8.2%; by region, the rate was 8.2% in the North, 7.8% in the Central region and 8.9% in the South. 

Officials reported 2,062 patients were hospitalized; 1,948 cases were confirmed and 114 are under investigation. By region, there were 1,038 in the North, 595 in the Central and 429  in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 435 are in intensive care units and 250 on ventilators. A total of 208 patients were discharged, while 233 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 86,119, followed by Essex at 84,029, Middlesex at 83,207, Hudson at 77,202, Monmouth at 65,599, Ocean at 63,660, Passaic at 62,806, Union at 58,473, Camden at 46,345, Morris at 40,959, Burlington at 36,811, Mercer at 30,600, Gloucester at 25,220, Atlantic at 24,006, Somerset at 23,370, Cumberland at 13,898, Sussex at 11,076, Hunterdon at 8,443, Warren at 8,380, Salem at 5,123, and Cape May at 4,398.  

In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 12,541, followed by Union at 10,442, Ocean at 9,645, Essex at 8,936, Hudson at 8,654, Monmouth at 7,689, Morris at 7,644, Middlesex at 7,034, Passaic at 6,852, Atlantic at 6,414, Burlington at 6,124, Camden at 6,086, Somerset at 5,494, Cape May at 4,378, Gloucester at 3,753, Cumberland at 2,200, Mercer at 2,206, Sussex at 2,103, Warren at 947, Hunterdon at 825 and Salem 513.

Another 723 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 245 outbreaks involving 1,094 cases have been reported, with five new outbreaks accounting for 24 cases in the weekly update on April 14. 

For North Jersey, Bergen County has 52 confirmed outbreaks with 198 cases, Passaic County has 15 confirmed outbreaks with 50 cases, Warren has 14 confirmed outbreaks with 34 cases, Sussex has 12 confirmed outbreaks with 48 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 236 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 6,945 of the cases, broken down between 3,081 residents and 3,864 staff. 

Cumulatively, 1,385 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,7019 residents and 21,897 staff, for a total of 54,616 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,011 on April 19. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,862 residents deaths and 143 staff deaths.

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