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New CDC Guidance on Mask Mandate Mirrors Those Already in Place in New Jersey

New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will not change the mask mandates in New Jersey, according to Gov. Phil Murphy.

“For outdoors, from moment one, the feds have been mimicking what we have been doing, But from the get go, when you are outside and can socially distance, we have not required you to wear a mask,” said Gov. Phil Murphy at a press briefing April 28.

“Even with the CDC guidance relaxing the necessity of a face mask outdoors where we know where the virus is much less transmissible, remember both under the CDC guideline and our directives, masking up remains mandatory in indoor settings except when eating or drinking.”

CDC Guidance

The CDC eased its guidelines April 27 on the wearing of masks outdoors, saying fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to cover their faces anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers. Additionally, anyone can do without a mask when outdoors alone or with members of the same household as well as those attending a small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends.

Fully vaccinated people can do without a mask when attending a small outdoor gathering with a mixture of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people and dining outdoors at a restaurant with people from several households.

Federal officials said masks should still be worn by all if attending a crowded outdoor event, like a parade, sporting event or live performance or doing almost anything indoors that involves contact with people who are not members of your household. Examples include dining indoors at a restaurant; attending full-capacity worship services; traveling on an airline flight; riding mass transit; taking part in an indoor exercise class; visiting a shopping mall or museum; getting a haircut or manicure; or attending an indoor social gathering.

Rules Since Spring

Murphy said minus the vaccination element, the protocols announced by the CDC have in place for New Jersey since early in the pandemic.  

“The only thing we are asking is if you are outside and on top of other people, please wear a mask,” said Murphy. “Otherwise if you are alone or your bubble or with your family, your good.” 

Murphy stressed the two settings where masks should always be worn are indoors and when social distancing can not be maintained outdoors.

Bar Business to Expand?

“Inside, where we know the virus is a lot more lethal, we still have to wear a mask. It’s the right thing to do and will save you others around you,” said Murphy. “If you are on a crowded boardwalk or a park, someplace where you are on top of each other outside—you’ve got to wear a mask.”

The governor did state he expects to “accelerate” the opening of business next Monday after the news New York will allow patrons to begin sitting at bars May 3. 

“It is quite clear that this thing has turned and turned for the better. And that is really good news” said Murphy. “Don’t let your guard down…don’t let that lull you into not getting vaccinated. ”

Vaccine Distribution

The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 6,834,212 as of April 28. Of those who have received the vaccine, 4,167,316 residents have received their first dose with 2,915,754 receiving their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose. 

Demographically, 55% of those vaccinated are women and 45% men. As for ethnicity, 55% are White, 11% 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 12% are between the ages of 16-29.  

In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 761,753 doses (329,759 fully vaccinated), Essex 539,629 doses (220,943), Morris 468,770 doses (204,165), Hudson 441,548 doses (175,076), Passaic 324,272 doses (134,939), Sussex 105,786 doses (44,856), and Warren 67,132 doses (28,478). 

Daily Data

As of April 28, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 869,344 with 1,838 total new PCR cases reported. There were 423 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 123,779. The total number of individual cases for the state is 993,123. 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 35 new deaths, bringing that total to 22,884. The state listed probable deaths at 2,625, bringing the overall total to 25,509. 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 28, Bergen had a total of 178 new confirmed cases and 38 probable cases, Essex 203 new cases and 42 probable cases, Hudson 133 new cases and 51 probable cases, Morris 57 new cases and 17 probable cases, Passaic 231 new cases and 30 probable cases, Sussex 24 new cases and six probable cases, and Warren 25 cases and five new probable cases.

There are a total of 2,959 coronavirus variants being reported in the Garden State. State officials documented 2,721 cases of the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), 141 cases of the California variants (B.1.429 and B.1.427), 91 cases of the Brazilian (P.1) variant, and six cases of the South African (B.1351) variant. 

Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,597, followed by Bergen at 2,526, Hudson with 2,004, Passaic at 1,664, Morris at 960, Sussex at 227 and Warren County at 208.

In regards to probable deaths reported April 28, Essex has 295, Bergen has 295, Morris has 251, Hudson has 212, Passaic has 195, Sussex has 67 and Warren has 25.

State Testing 

As for the rate of transmission, it declined to 0.80 from 0.88 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested as of April 24, was 9.0%; by region, the rate was 9.4% in the North, 8.1% in the Central region and 9.2% in the South. 

Officials reported 1,768 patients were hospitalized; 1,646 cases were confirmed and 122 are under investigation. By region, there were 876, in the North, 471 in the Central and 421 in the South.

Of those hospitalized, 375 are in intensive care units and 232 on ventilators. A total of 214 patients were discharged, while 188 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 87,710, followed by Essex at 83,410, Middlesex at 83,288, Hudson at 77,420, Monmouth at 66,175, Ocean at 64,468, Passaic at 64,107, Union at 59,166, Camden at 47,280, Morris at 41,312, Burlington at 37,320, Mercer at 30,854, Gloucester at 25,642, Atlantic at 24,300, Somerset at 23,691, Cumberland at 14,145, Sussex at 11,290, Hunterdon at 8,620, Warren at 8,637, Salem at 5,317, and Cape May at 4,446.  

In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 12,884, followed by Union at 10,715, Ocean at 9,887, Essex at 9,171, Hudson at 8,940, Morris at 7,930, Monmouth at 7,873, Middlesex at 7,198, Passaic at 7,077, Atlantic at 6,501, Burlington at 6,295, Camden at 6,285, Somerset at 5,597, Cape May at 4,461, Gloucester at 3,824, Mercer at 2,289, Cumberland at 2,212, Sussex at 2,171, Warren at 983, Hunterdon at 862 and Salem 520.

Another 749 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, a total of 263 outbreaks involving 1,157 cases have been reported, with 18 new outbreaks accounting for 63 cases in the weekly update on April 27. 

For North Jersey, Bergen County has 52 confirmed outbreaks with 198 cases, Passaic County has 16 confirmed outbreaks with 52 cases, Sussex has 14 confirmed outbreaks with 55 cases, Warren has 14 confirmed outbreaks with 34 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 223 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 5,823 of the cases, broken down between 2,477 residents and 3,346 staff. 

Cumulatively, 1,417 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,772 residents and 22,026 staff, for a total of 54,798 cases. 

The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,027 on April 28. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,871 residents deaths and 286 staff deaths.

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