The Delta variant is now the predominant strain of the coronavirus in New Jersey.
For the week ending June 26, the Delta variant accounted for 70% of the cases identified in the state and marked the first time the variant was the leading cause for cases in the Garden State, according to the New Jersey Department of Health. The state monitors the variants in four-week spans.
State officials noted the current COVID-19 vaccines available have proven to be successful against variants and the key health metrics the state uses to ease restriction—including more serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths—are now almost exclusive from the Delta variant.
Fighting Emerging Variants
Dr. Christina Tan, an epidemiologist with the state’s health department, said the proportions of variants in general will “fluctuate over time.” She gave noted the COVID-19 variant that first spread at the start of the pandemic in the Spring of 2020 is no longer detectable.
“That’s why it’s really important for us to monitor that activity, but most importantly to keep these new variants from emerging,” Tan said. “We really have to get the vaccination coverage optimized.”
“We encourage residents who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their children, their loved ones, and the community,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli at a press briefing July 13. “Virtually all COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are among those who are unvaccinated.”
Vaccination Prevents Cases
While New Jersey’s vaccination rate of over 70% is credited with preventing more large-scale Delta outbreaks seen in the U.S., Gov. Phil Murphy stressed that unvaccinated residents remain exposed and give the virus an opportunity to still spread in the state.
The governor urged those still deciding to “please get vaccinated.”
Murphy was understanding of legitimate concerns about the vaccine from those in the Black community as well as those with certain health issues. But he was much harsher for those spreading misinformation about the vaccines available.
“There’s multiple of those populations of people who are listening to myths, listening to garbage,” Murphy said. “They need to be called out.”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 10,154,028 in-state, plus an additional 355,649 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 10,509,677 as of July 13. Of those who have received the vaccine, 4,968,764 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 153,259 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 5,122,023.
Demographically, 53% of those vaccinated are women and 47% men. As for ethnicity, 49% are White, 15% Hispanic, 11% Asian, 7% Black, 9% other and 9% unknown. In regards to the age of those having received the vaccine, 25% are 65 years old or olders, 27% are between the ages of 50-64, 29% are between the ages of 30-49, and 19% are between the ages of 12-29.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,155,845 doses (568,626 fully vaccinated), Essex 854,686 doses (414,322), Hudson 781,359 doses (374,844), Morris 637,568 doses (311,716), Passaic 529,025 doses (256,866), Sussex 148,502 doses (73,615), and Warren 95,715 doses (47,132).
As of July 13, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 895,855 with 333 total new PCR cases reported. There were 165 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 130,794. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,026,649.
As for those that have passed, the state reported seven confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 23,807. The state listed probable deaths at 2,709, bringing the overall total to 26,516. State officials noted one death occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that has not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on July 13, Bergen had a total of 34 new confirmed cases and 20 new probable cases, Essex 33 new cases and 20 new probable case, Hudson 28 new cases and 11 new probable cases, Morris 18 new confirmed cases and four new probable cases, Passaic 17 new cases and 12 new probable case, Sussex four new case and one new probable case, and Warren had no new cases and two new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,727, followed by Bergen at 2,591, Hudson with 2,090, Passaic at 1,741, Morris at 980, Sussex at 239, and Warren County at 212.
In regards to probable deaths reported July 7, Essex has 302, Bergen has 302, Morris has 261, Hudson has 218, Passaic has 201, Sussex has 68 and Warren has 26.
As for the rate of transmission reported July 13, it increased to 1.01 from 0.95 three days earlier. The daily rate of infections from those tested July 8 was 1.7%; by region, the rate was 1.5% in the North, 1.7% in the Central region and 2.5% in the South.
Officials reported 310 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 145 in the North, 94 in the Central and 71 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 56 are in intensive care units and 26 on ventilators. A total of 38 patients were discharged.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospitalizations, 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 90,508, followed by Middlesex at 85,346, Essex at 85,149, Hudson at 79,208, Monmouth at 68,348, Ocean at 66,342, Passaic at 66,121, Union at 60,824, Camden at 49,354, Morris at 42,170, Burlington at 38,516, Mercer at 31,805, Gloucester at 26,728, Atlantic at 25,092, Somerset at 24,512, Cumberland at 14,981, Sussex at 11,797, Warren at 9,033, Hunterdon at 9,033, Salem at 5,591, and Cape May at 4,672.
In regards to probable cases, Bergen had the most at 14,782, followed by Union at 11,175, Ocean at 10,478, Essex at 9,589, Hudson at 9,377, Morris at 8,365, Monmouth at 8,247, Middlesex at 7,526, Passaic at 7,471, Camden at 6,810, Atlantic at 6,666, Burlington at 6,053, Somerset at 5,846, Cape May at 4,648, Gloucester at 4,069, Mercer at 2,453, Sussex at 2,364, Cumberland at 2,296, Warren at 1,034, Hunterdon at 904, and Salem 545.
Another 735 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 15 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 65 of the cases, broken down between 33 residents and 32 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,490 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 32,797 residents and 22,233 staff, for a total of 55,030.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,063 on July 13. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,878 residents deaths and 144 staff deaths.