The first COVID-19 vaccine mandate in New Jersey went into effect today.
Employees in certain state and private healthcare facilities and high-risk congregate settings contracted with the state are now required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subjected to testing at minimum one to two times per week.
Impacted state settings include Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, Paramus, Menlo Park and Vineland Veterans Memorial Home, developmental centers, University Hospital in Newark, state correctional facilities and juvenile justice commission facilities
Long-term Care Facilities Face Deadline
Additionally, private facility settings include long-term care and assisted-living facilities, county jails, acute-care hospitals and specialty hospitals, short-term and post-acute in-patient rehabs, licensed behavioral health facilities and home health agencies
If workers in the facility/setting have not demonstrated that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, employers are required to have a plan in place to begin a testing program for those workers.
“Individuals in healthcare facilities should have confidence in their caretakers, and this measure will help ensure peace of mind for those in higher-risk settings,” stated Gov. Phil Murphy when the mandate was announced Aug. 2. “We are prepared to consider additional measures if we do not see a satisfactory increase in vaccination uptake in those settings as this new requirement is put into effect.”
Next Up is Teachers, State Employees
Since then, the state announced that state workers and teachers will be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face testing requirements similar to the one for healthcare workers. Teachers, administrators and staffers, whether full or part time, face the choice of being fully mandated or face testing of up to twice a week. The order applies to all public, private, and parochial preschool programs and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools.
Further, Murphy said that all state employees—including those at state agencies, authorities, New Jersey State Police officers and public colleges and universities—are required to be fully vaccinated or undergo regular testing at a minimum of once to twice each week by the third Monday of October. In conjunction with the vaccine mandate, state employees are expected to return to their offices that day.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 11,236,035 in-state, plus an additional 407,756 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 11,643,791 as of Sept. 7. Of those who have received the vaccine, 5,470,466 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 176,279 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 5,646,745, passing an 80% threshold.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,260,100 doses (615,731 fully vaccinated), Essex 969,226 doses (464,855), Hudson 879,646 doses (421,875), Morris 685,728 doses (334,093), Passaic 602,406 doses (290,267), Sussex 160,942 doses (79,624), and Warren 104,713 doses (51,290).
As of Sept. 7, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 962,278 with 268 total new PCR cases reported on Labor Day. There were 109 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 142,515. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,104,793. State officials said the daily number was dramatically lower than in recent weeks due to a lab processing error. The error is expected to be resolved Wednesday, expected to result in significantly higher cases than normal Sept. 8.
As for those that have passed, the state reported eight confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 24,229. The state listed probable deaths at 2,749, bringing the overall total to 26,978. State officials noted 10 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Sept. 7, Bergen had a total of 14 new confirmed cases and 22 new probable cases, Essex 14 new cases and one new probable case, Hudson 33 new cases and 13 new probable cases, Morris six new confirmed cases and five new probable cases, Passaic 19 new cases and no new probable cases, Sussex four new cases and five new probable cases, and Warren five new cases and two new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,782, followed by Bergen at 2,618, Hudson with 2,128, Passaic at 1,764, Morris at 995, Sussex at 244, and Warren County at 217.
In regards to probable deaths reported Sept. 6, Essex has 309, Bergen has 304, Morris has 262, Hudson has 222, Passaic has 204, Sussex has 68 and Warren has 26.
Of the 5,175,016 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of Aug. 15, 12,242 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated, resulting in 307 COVID-related hospitalizations and 68 COVID-related deaths.
In the last week, breakthroughs accounted for 12.5% of all new cases (1,637 of 13,118), 3.8% of new hospilizations (31 of 807), and none of the 36 deaths—the fourth week in a row of no deaths from those fully vaccinated.
As for the rate of transmission reported Sept. 7, it remained at 1.04 for a second consecutive day. The daily rate of infections from those tested Sept. 2 was 5.4%; by region, the rate was 4.5% in the North, 6.0% in the Central region and 6.6% in the South.
The state reported 1,094 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 382 in the North, 314 in the Central and 358 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 257 are in intensive care units and 129 on ventilators. A total of 90 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.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 148 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 1,010 of the cases, broken down between 547 residents and 463 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,659 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 33,393 residents and 22,730 staff, for a total of 56,123.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,479 on Sept. 7. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,919 residents deaths and 145 staff deaths.