New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) data shows that the cases of COVID-19 in North Jersey are less than the two other regions of the state and has been trending that way for a while.
“We’re seeing the opposite of what we experienced a year ago,” said NJDOH Commissioner Judith Persichilli at an Oct. 4 press conference. “The disease was more prevalent in the North and then traveled down to the South. This is actually the opposite (now).”
In the week since her statement, the differences have grown. NJDOH offers regional outbreaks on their website for two key health metrics—rate of transmission (RT) and hospitalizations—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.
Rate of Transmission
The difference in the RT has been the most consistently different over the last month, which as of Oct. 7 was 3.9% overall. But there is a gap of 1.5% to 2.7% between regions. The North, which consists of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union and Warren counties, has a rate under the statewide one at 2.9%.
Comparatively, the Central region RT, encompassing Middlesex, Mercer, Monmouth, Ocean and Somerset counties, resides at 4.4%. And the counties making the South region—Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem—register an RT of 5.6%. A look at the state’s percent positivity map shows the trend began in June and has widened since then.
While hospitalizations have begun to lower in recent weeks, a growing trend has emerged of more patients in Southern hospitals than the other two. As of Oct. 12, the state reported 928 patients overall were hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 232 are in intensive care units and 106 on ventilators.
In the North, there are 288 patients hospitalized, 55 in intensive care units and 34 on ventilators. Central hospitals are reporting 277 patients hospitalized, 74 in intensive care units and 25 on ventilators.
Southern state hospitals are tops in all three categories: 363 patients hospitalized, 103 in intensive care and 47 on ventilators.
Department of Health Medical Advisor Dr. Ed Lifshitz pinpointed the rise to the Jersey Shore areas such as Ocean and Monmouth as well as the South are relatively higher compared to other areas.
“There are a whole bunch of reasons why that might be happening,” said Lifshitz. “Certainly part of it has to do with the fact that over the Summer months, that’s where people tended to congregate more. I’m sure there are a lot of different factors that go into those numbers but certainly we’re paying close attention.”
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 11,926,847 in-state, plus an additional 442,970 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 12,369,817 as of Oct. 12. Of those who have received the vaccine, 5,740,806 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 190,080 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 5,930,886. State officials reported 196,397 booster and third shots of Pfizer and 54,152 of Moderna third shots.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,332,872 doses (638,906 fully vaccinated), Essex 1,032,138 doses (494,598), Hudson 928,950 doses (447,607), Morris 722,585 doses (344,918), Passaic 641,394 doses (308,602), Sussex 169,584 doses (83,058), and Warren 110,845 doses (53,906).
As of Oct. 12, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 1,019,945 with 1,343 total new PCR cases. There were 375 probable cases for the day, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 154,224. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,174,169.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 15 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 24,821. The state listed probable deaths at 2,803, bringing the overall total to 27,624. State officials noted 16 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Oct. 12, Bergen had a total of 100 new confirmed cases and 34 new probable cases, Essex 84 new cases and 15 new probable case, Hudson 44 new cases and 10 new probable cases, Morris 54 new confirmed cases and 22 new probable cases, Passaic 63 new cases and 15 new probable cases, Sussex 43 new cases and 11 new probable cases, and Warren 20 new cases and two new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,824, followed by Bergen at 2,664, Hudson with 2,157, Passaic at 1,793, Morris at 1,029, Sussex at 255, and Warren County at 227.
In regards to probable deaths reported Oct. 12, Essex has 311, Bergen has 307, Morris has 265, Hudson has 223, Passaic has 206, Sussex has 70 and Warren has 26.
Of the 5,541,443 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of Sept. 20, 30,267 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated, resulting in 629 COVID-related hospitalizations and 158 COVID-related deaths. All those are less than 1% in each category.
In the week of Sept. 13-Sept. 19, breakthroughs accounted for 24.8% of all new cases (3,414 of 10,760), 4.2% of new hospilizations (42 of 1,000), and two of the 121 deaths.
As for the rate of transmission reported Oct. 12, it remained at 0.93 for the second straight day. A total of 58 patients were discharged in the last 24 hour reporting period.
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.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, the state has tracked 69 school outbreaks and 379 cases linked to those outbreaks since the 2021/2022 school year starting Aug. 7, up 30 outbreaks and 267 cases from the week previous. According to state officials, the cases account for 319 students and 60 teachers in 62 communities across 18 counties.
Outbreaks are defined as three or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with onsets within a 14 day period, linked within the school setting, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing.
For North Jersey as of Oct. 6, Passaic County has two confirmed outbreak with 62 cases, Essex County has four confirmed outbreak with 16 cases, Bergen County has four confirmed outbreak with 25 cases, Morris County has four confirmed outbreaks with 22 cases, Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with nine cases, and Sussex has three confirmed outbreak with 13 cases. No outbreaks were reported in Warren County.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 159 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 1,329 of the cases, broken down between 734 residents and 595 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,754 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 33,821 residents and 23,104 staff, for a total of 56,925.
The state’s official death total for those that are lab confirmed sits at 8,570 on Oct. 12. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,976 residents deaths and 145 staff deaths.