The state for the first time revealed a more detailed picture of the effects the coronavirus is having on students and teachers in New Jersey this year—including the percentage of teachers fully vaccinated.
“This new data provides a weekly snapshot of reporting based on reports from staff, parents and test results conducted by the school,” said New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said at a press briefing Nov. 22. “This data shows trends over time and current activity by county.”
With 2,081 K-12 school districts reporting, which only accounts for 60% of those in the Garden State, a total of 84.9% of teachers are fully vaccinated. The disclosure of the vaccination rates comes after Gov. Phil Murphy placed a series of COVID-19 vaccine mandates or testing requirements going into effect since September.
North Jersey Teachers
As for vaccination rates among teachers by county, Bergen and Somerset were the highest at 90.9% and 91.1%, respectively; the lowest for teachers was in Ocean County at 78.7%.
In North Jersey besides Bergen, the teacher vaccination rates were Warren at 88.3%, Sussex at 85.2%, Morris at 86.1%, Passaic at 84.1%, Essex at 81.3%, and Hudson at 78.8%.
The mandate for school staffers, as well as state workers, went into effect Oct. 18. The school requirement applies to all preschool through 12th grade employees at public, private, and parochial schools, including charter and renaissance schools. The state worker requirement is for all state employees, including those at state agencies, authorities, and public colleges and universities. Murphy has not supplied the number for state workers yet.
The first mandate was for all workers in New Jersey hospitals, long-term care centers, prisons, and a number of other state and private healthcare facilities and high-risk congregate settings on Sept. 7. The fourth and final one went into effect Nov. 1 for childcare workers.
Persichilli said the “this surveillance report gives an overall picture that allows us to give a better picture to make decisions.”
Cumulatively, the state reported on its dashboard 18,747 cases for students and 4,095 for school staff this year. Persichilli said among the highest case rates for students and staff were in Sussex, Gloucester and Monmouth counties and the lowest in Essex County.
Health officials noted after peaking in early October, rates have begun to rise again in the last two week.
“We are seeing an increase in cass rates among students and staff in both K-12 and institutions of higher ed,” noted Persichilli. “Rates are higher for staff than students in both settings.”
In North Jersey, Bergen the number of cases overall were 1,810 student cases and 379 staff cases for the 275 schools that have reported; Essex was 567 student cases and 158 staff cases for 147 schools; Hudson was 785 student cases and 155 staff cases for 120 schools; Morris was 718 student cases and 201 staff cases for 108 schools; Passaic was 707 student cases and 155 staff cases for 121 schools; Sussex was 682 student cases and 131 staff cases for 44 schools; and Warren was 441 student cases and 55 staff cases for 36 schools.
Statewide, 1.4% of students were excluded from school due to COVID-19, with Sussex County having the highest percentage of students doing remote learning at 3.5%.
In North Jersey, the percentage of students in remote learning for Bergen County is 1.0%, Essex is 0.9%, Hudson 0.7%, Morris 1.1%, Passaic 0.8% and Warren 2.3%. The state defined this category as a percentage of students learning remotely for reasons attributed to COVID-19 as being identified as a case or a close contact of a COVID-19 case. The data the state is using is from Oct. 13 and on.
State officials noted that key health metrics they go by in making COVID-19 decisions such as mask mandates are rising in the overall population as well as in schools.
“This dashboard breaks down the data by county, and the Department (of Health) is continuing its outreach with school districts to ensure as robust a report as possible,” said Murphy.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 13,357,431 in-state, plus an additional 515,825 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 13,873,256 as of Nov. 22. Of those who have received the vaccine, 5,939,246 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 219,549 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 6,158,795.
State officials reported boosters and third shots of 602,903 for Pfizer and 470,190 for Moderna. A total of 20,561 New Jerseyans have received their Johnson & Johnson booster shot. Overall, 1,093,654 have received a booster or third shot.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,480,129 doses (654,374 fully vaccinated), Essex 1,164,035 doses (517,531), Hudson 1,025,851 doses (465,105), Morris 805,527 doses (352,836), Passaic 706,689 doses (321,404), Sussex 190,594 doses (85,580), and Warren 125,149 doses (55,645).
As of Nov. 22, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 1,071,383 with 1,330 total new PCR cases. There were 232 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 162,128. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,233,511.
As for those that have passed, the state reported seven confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 25,442. The state listed probable deaths at 2,823, bringing the overall total to 28,265. State officials noted three deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Nov. 22, Bergen had a total of 101 new confirmed cases and nine new probable cases, Essex 72 new cases and 17 new probable case, Hudson 79 new cases and two new probable cases, Morris 88 new confirmed cases and 22 new probable cases, Passaic 56 new cases and seven new probable cases, Sussex 39 new cases and seven new probable cases, and Warren 37 new cases and one new probable case.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,863, followed by Bergen at 2,703, Hudson with 2,176, Passaic at 1,824, Morris at 1,047, Sussex at 278, and Warren County at 232.
In regards to probable deaths reported Nov. 22, Bergen has 311, Essex has 310, Morris has 267, Hudson has 223, Passaic has 207, Sussex has 71 and Warren has 26.
Of the 5,828,060 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of Nov. 8, 50,762 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated, resulting in 1,061 COVID-related hospitalizations and 300 COVID-related deaths. All those are less than 1% in each category.
In the week of Nov. 1-7, breakthroughs accounted for 18.1% of all new cases (1,707 of 9,429), 0.4% of new hospilizations (two of 525), and none of the 115 deaths.
As for the rate of transmission reported Nov. 22, it increased to 1.23 from 1.21 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested Nov. 18 was 4.8%; by region, the rate was 4.3% in the North, 5.1% in the Central region and 5.4% in the South.
The state reported 811 patients were hospitalized with 69 of the state’s 71 hospitals making their reports. By region, there were 277 in the North, 267 in the Central and 267 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 166 are in intensive care units and 78 on ventilators. A total of 74 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 as of Nov. 17, the state has tracked 179 school outbreaks and 1,026 cases linked to those outbreaks since the 2021/2022 school year starting Aug. 7, up 19 outbreaks and 166 cases from the week previous.
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 in the new report, Passaic County has eight confirmed outbreak with 102 cases, Bergen County has 16 confirmed outbreak with 74 cases, Sussex has 15 confirmed outbreak with 58 cases, Morris County has nine confirmed outbreaks with 58 cases, Essex County has eight confirmed outbreak with 34 cases and Hudson County has eight confirmed outbreaks with 28 cases. No outbreaks were reported in Warren County.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 115 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 1,154 of the cases, broken down between 624 residents and 530 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,835 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 34,114 residents and 23,327 staff, for a total of 57,441.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,671 on Nov. 22. The facilities are reporting to the state 8,010 residents deaths and 145 staff deaths.