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Guidance on Further Easing Coronavirus Restrictions in New Jersey Expected Next Week

Gov. Phil Murphy expects to offer a timeline for further easing of coronavirus restriction next week. 

“We’re going to give a pretty significant amount of guidance by early to mid-next week,” said Murphy at a press briefing April 22. “I think people have asked of late (about opening up meaningfully,) a bunch of mayors have rightfully raised the issue.”

“There’s a lot of moving parts here, so I would just ask people’s patience for a few more days,” he added.

The governor said any opening plan will be determined by key health metrics that continue “to go in the right direction” as the number of patients in hospitals dipped below 2,000 for the first time in a month on April 22.

Neighbors Actions

“We’re the only state in America (that has not) had to pull something back and we don’t want to start that now,” he said. ”But we also owe people our best guess as to what it’s going to look like for graduations, summer on the beaches, and whatnot.”

Pressure has increased in recent days as Connecticut and New York announced plans to ease restrictions, including Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said his state will lift all coronavirus restrictions on May 19, though masks will still be required indoors. 

Murphy pushed back when asked why New Jersey is not moving at the same speed in reopening compared with its neighbors. 

“We never said we would move in concert, we never used that phrase,” he argued. “We said we would consult regularly. Our teams still do regularly…we’re largely in harmony.”

Guidance for Graduations

The expected announcement Murphy said is an effort to reduce the anxiety New Jerseyans are experiencing due to the pandemic. 

“It’s a little bit of a similar principle to why we wanted to give people a signal on when they could get vaccinated—even though we knew there was a supply-demand imbalance—because it gives people a peace of mind to know I’m up on a certain date,” opined the governor. “I know Johnny or Sally’s graduation is going to be able to take place under the following circumstances.”

But Murphy held firm that his administration will continue to ease restrictions in the same manner it has dones throughout the pandemic. 

“We’re going to continue to open up incrementally. And if we think there’s an opportunity to be something, to do something bolder than incremental, we’ll do it,” he stated. “But the numbers …our reality does not suggest that at the moment.” 

Vaccine Distribution

The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 6,310,065 as of April 22. Of those who have received the vaccine, 3,923,202 residents have received their first dose with 2,631,691 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% Asian, 10% other, 8% unknown and 6% Black. In regards to age of those having received the vaccine, 33% are 65 years old or olders, 29% are between the ages of 50-64, 27% are between the ages of 30-49, and 11% are between the ages of 16-29.  

In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 704,603 doses, Essex 493,769 doses, Morris 439,142 doses, Hudson 390,382 doses, Passaic 296,292 doses, Sussex 97,321 doses, and Warren 62,133 doses. 

Daily Data

As of April 22, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 868,541 with 2,895 total new PCR cases reported. There were 527 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 122,039. The total number of individual cases for the state is 990,580. 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 31 new deaths, bringing that total to 22,690. The state listed probable deaths at 2,611, bringing the overall total to 25,301. 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 April 22, Bergen had a total of 264 new confirmed cases and 78 probable cases, Essex 380 new cases and 31 probable cases, Hudson 260 new cases and 56 probable cases, Morris 129 new cases and 22 probable cases, Passaic 180 new cases and 41 probable cases, Sussex 48 new cases and 14 probable cases, and Warren 53 cases and four new probable cases.

There are a total of 3,808 coronavirus variants being reported in the Garden State. State officials documented 2,275 cases of the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), 1,348 cases of the New York variant (B.1.526), 131 cases of the California variants (B.1.429 and B.1.427), 51 cases of the Brazilian (P.1) variant, and three cases of the South African (B.1351) variant. 

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,568, followed by Bergen at 2,511, Hudson with 1,991, Passaic at 1,653, Morris at 958, Sussex at 223 and Warren County at 205.

In regards to probable deaths reported April 21, Essex has 295, Bergen has 294, Morris has 249, Hudson has 210, Passaic has 195, Sussex has 67 and Warren has 25.

State Testing 

As for the rate of transmission, it remained unchanged from the day before at 0.93. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of April 17, was 10.9%; by region, the rate was 10.8% in the North, 11.0% in the Central region and 11.4% in the South. 

Officials reported 1,997 patients were hospitalized; 1,961 cases were confirmed and 153 are under investigation. By region, there were 993, in the North, 580 in the Central and 424  in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 457 are in intensive care units and 245 on ventilators. A total of 288 patients were discharged, while 171 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 86,837, followed by Essex at 85,072, Middlesex at 84,027, Hudson at 77,869, Monmouth at 66,131, Ocean at 64,114, Passaic at 63,512, Union at 59,011, Camden at 46,791, Morris at 41,274, Burlington at 37,064, Mercer at 30,869, Gloucester at 25,483, Atlantic at 24,242, Somerset at 23,589, Cumberland at 14,046, Sussex at 11,204, Hunterdon at 8,526, Warren at 8,497, Salem at 5,225, and Cape May at 4,418.  

In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 12,705, followed by Union at 10,561, Ocean at 9,757, Essex at 9,019, Hudson at 8,762, Monmouth at 7,787, Morris at 7,782, Middlesex at 7,120, Passaic at 6,980, Atlantic at 6,454, Burlington at 6,207, Camden at 6,158, Somerset at 5,544, Cape May at 4,413, Gloucester at 3,778, Mercer at 2,245, Cumberland at 2,205, Sussex at 2,131, Warren at 971, Hunterdon at 842 and Salem 516.

Another 740 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 nine new outbreaks accounting for 31 cases in the weekly update on April 21. 

For North Jersey, Bergen County has 52 confirmed outbreaks with 198 cases, Passaic County has 16 confirmed outbreaks with 52 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 five confirmed outbreaks with 23 cases, and Essex County with one confirmed outbreak with 92 cases.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 234 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 6,511 of the cases, broken down between 2,836 residents and 3,675 staff. 

Cumulatively, 1,395 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,723 residents and 21,932 staff, for a total of 54,655 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,020 on April 22. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,863 residents deaths and 143 staff deaths.

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