There have been six reported COVID-19 outbreaks in New Jersey schools since the year started about three weeks ago.
New Jersey Commissioner of Health Judith Persichilli reported two outbreaks in Atlantic County, and one each in Morris, Cumberland, Monmouth, and Union counties at a press briefing Sept. 15. Officials did not provide the school districts, towns or specific numbers of cases at the briefing.
“It’s a combination of both staff cases and student cases,” said Persichilli.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan acknowledged that the state has changed the definition of in-person in-school outbreak for this school year.
“We increased to three cases, because we wanted to align with CDC’s changes in their definitions of the in-school outbreak,” said Tan. “The numbers that the commissioner had mentioned earlier, the six outbreaks, represent in-school transmission outbreaks.”
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Tan highlighted the roles local health departments play in supporting school districts in the investigation of outbreaks.
Too Early to Tell
“The key to containment is early identification, and I just want to take the opportunity to remind parents that if your kids are sick, do not send them to school,” she said. “It’s really important that they stop at the door of the schools to try to minimize spread in the community.”
Gov. Phil Murphy noted it’s too early to really assess how the coronavirus is spreading in schools due to a short window of time and the interruption of in-person classes caused by Tropical Storm Ida.
Under Murphy’s mandates, students and teachers as well as anyone stepping on to a school campus are required to wear a mask. Additionally, teachers have until Oct. 18 to be fully vaccinated.
“Remember, schools, in most cases, have been back in session for a limited amount of time,” said Murphy. “We don’t know the full story yet of how school reopening is going.”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 11,432,084 in-state, plus an additional 419,387 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 11,852,345 as of Sept. 16. Of those who have received the vaccine, 5,557,246 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 180,482 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 5,737,728.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,277,367 doses (622,903 fully vaccinated), Essex 987,832 doses (473,872), Hudson 897,823 doses (430,597), Morris 695,127 doses (338,021), Passaic 614,470 doses (296,119), Sussex 164,061 doses (80,768), and Warren 106,432 doses (52,090).
As of Sept. 16, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 979,907 with 2,442 total new PCR cases. There were 690 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 146,415. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,126,322.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 26 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 24,382. The state listed probable deaths at 2,766, bringing the overall total to 27,148. State officials noted 15 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Sept. 16, Bergen had a total of 185 new confirmed cases and 85 new probable cases, Essex 181 new cases and 37 new probable case, Hudson 143 new cases and 33 new probable cases, Morris 96 new confirmed cases and 46 new probable cases, Passaic 125 new cases and 33 new probable cases, Sussex 32 new cases and eight new probable cases, and Warren 28 new cases and four new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,799, followed by Bergen at 2,626, Hudson with 2,132, Passaic at 1,770, Morris at 1,007, Sussex at 249, and Warren County at 223.
In regards to probable deaths reported Sept. 13, Essex has 310, Bergen has 306, Morris has 263, Hudson has 222, Passaic has 206, Sussex has 69 and Warren has 26.
Of the 5,212,016 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of Aug. 30, 18,390 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated, resulting in 386 COVID-related hospitalizations and 97 COVID-related deaths.
In the week of Aug. 23-29, breakthroughs accounted for 21.6% of all new cases (2,602 of 12,051), 3.7% of new hospilizations (35 of 945), and none of the 80 deaths.
As for the rate of transmission reported Sept. 16, it jumped at 1.05 after four straight days at 1.01. The daily rate of infections from those tested Sept. 11 was 7.5%; by region, the rate was 6.4% in the North, 8.1% in the Central region and 9.3% in the South.
The state reported 1,134 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 375 in the North, 375 in the Central and 384 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 253 are in intensive care units and 128 on ventilators. A total of 159 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 154 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 1,149 of the cases, broken down between 627 residents and 522 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,688 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 33,495 residents and 22,841 staff, for a total of 56,336.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,502 on Sept. 16. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,936 residents deaths and 145 staff deaths.