New Jersey health officials continue to stress the need for children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as school opens.
Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the percentage of New Jersey children between the ages of 12 and 17 who have received at least one dose of vaccine currently stands at 57%. Additionally, 66% of 16- and 17-year-olds have received at least one dose of vaccine.
“This week marks the return of many children and adolescents to classrooms, and we want that return to be as safe as possible,” remarked Persichilli at a press briefing Sept. 8. “A vital way to protect the health of children in school is to get them vaccinated if they are eligible.”
While Persichilli stated is unclear if the Delta variant causes more severe illness in children, the commissioner noted children and adolescents can experience severe COVID-19 illnesses. To drive her point home, she quoted statistics from the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly that found that from late June to mid-August, hospitalization rates in the United States for children and teenagers increased nearly five-fold.
Additionally, the report highlighted how well vaccination works to protect against severe illness in adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. Hospitalization rates were approximately ten times higher in the unvaccinated group compared to the fully vaccinated adolescents.
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“This data demonstrates that vaccines were highly effective at preventing serious COVID-19 illness in this age group during a period when the Delta variant was the dominant strain,” said the commissioner. “All individuals who are eligible should receive COVID-19 vaccines to reduce the risk of severe disease for themselves and others with whom they may come in contact, including children who are currently too young to be vaccinated.”
Vaccine Part of a Plan
Health officials reiterated getting fully vaccinated is part of a layered, preventive approach, which includes masking, frequent handwashing, physical distancing, and staying home when feeling sick.
Students, educators, staff, and visitors are required to wear face masks indoors for the start of the 2021-2022 school year, according to the executive order from Murphy announced on Aug. 6. Teachers, administrators and staffers, whether full or part time, are required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face testing of up to twice a week. The orders apply to all public, private, and parochial preschool programs and elementary and secondary schools, including charter and renaissance schools.
Additionally, districts have until Sept. 13 to opt in and participate in the state’s screening testing program that will provide screening testing for staff and students at no cost to the districts.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 11,272,945 in-state, plus an additional 412,366 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 11,685,311 as of Sept. 9. Of those who have received the vaccine, 5,489,046 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 177,766 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 5,666,812.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,263,513 doses (617,293 fully vaccinated), Essex 973,0121 doses (466,830), Hudson 883,371 doses (423,775), Morris 687,408 doses (334,853), Passaic 604,705 doses (291,519), Sussex 161,409 doses (79,880), and Warren 105,007 doses (51,437).
As of Sept. 9, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 966,946 with 1,733 total new PCR cases reported on Labor Day. There were 608 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 143,555. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,110,501.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 17 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 24,275. The state listed probable deaths at 2,749, bringing the overall total to 27,024. State officials noted 11 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Sept. 9, Bergen had a total of 179 new confirmed cases and 64 new probable cases, Essex 128 new cases and 30 new probable case, Hudson 118 new cases and 26 new probable cases, Morris 64 new confirmed cases and 52 new probable cases, Passaic 103 new cases and 29 new probable cases, Sussex 20 new cases and 17 new probable cases, and Warren 28 new cases and 12 new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,787, followed by Bergen at 2,621, Hudson with 2,132, Passaic at 1,764, Morris at 995, Sussex at 245, and Warren County at 219.
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 5,232,378 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of Aug. 23, 14,813 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated, resulting in 356 COVID-related hospitalizations and 80 COVID-related deaths.
In the the week of Aug. 16-23, breakthroughs accounted for 16.9% of all new cases (2,007 of 11,871), 4.5% of new hospilizations (44 of 978), and two of the 66 deaths—the first week deaths were reported from those fully vaccinated.
As for the rate of transmission reported Sept. 9, it declined to 1.02 after three consecutive days at 1.04. The daily rate of infections from those tested Sept. 4 was 7.9%; by region, the rate was 6.4% in the North, 9.5% in the Central region and 9.6% in the South.
The state reported 1,181 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 383 in the North, 385 in the Central and 413 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 262 are in intensive care units and 129 on ventilators. A total of 124 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 152 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 1,037 of the cases, broken down between 561 residents and 476 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,669 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 33,413 residents and 22,751 staff, for a total of 56,164.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,484 on Sept. 9. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,925 residents deaths and 145 staff deaths.