With New Jersey residents flocking to get tested before the end-of-the-year holidays, the state shattered the record for most new COVID-19 cases for a single day with over 12,000.
On the state’s dashboard Dec. 22, 9,711 people had a positive PCR test. Additionally, 2,579 antigen tests came back positive for an overall total of 12,290. The previous PCR high was 6,922 on Jan. 13.
Earlier in the week, Gov. Phil Murphy said his administration was “planning for the worst” as the state was “now seeing daily case counts hitting levels we haven’t seen since mid-January of this year.”
The increase was not unexpected as health officials have been urging New Jerseyans to get tested before gatherings with families and friends preparing for this upcoming Christmas weekend and New Year’s the next week.
“The last thing anyone wants is for a holiday gathering to lead to more cases, so first and foremost, if you are feeling unwell, even if you just think you have a cold, please go get yourself tested and just stay home until that test comes back,” said Murphy. “Even if you aren’t showing symptoms, we encourage you to go get tested before visiting with people outside of your household to give yourself that added level of knowledge that you are in the clear.”
As a result, lines have been seen across North Jersey for people getting tested, attempting to find a test kit or receiving their vaccine and/or booster shot. There are more than 100 testing sites statewide and the New Jersey Department of Health has partnered with Vault for a free at-home COVID saliva testing to attempt the holiday crush.
For North Jersey counties, Bergen had a total of 1,195 new confirmed cases and 249 new probable cases, Essex 1,885 new cases and 149 new probable case, Hudson 839 new cases and 106 new probable cases, Morris 506 new confirmed cases and 149 new probable cases, Passaic 639 new cases and 145 new probable cases, Sussex 112 new cases and 36 new probable cases, and Warren 98 new cases and 22 new probable cases.
Additionally, the state released its weekly in-school transmissions data for grades K-12. The state has tracked 336 school outbreaks and 1,889 cases linked to those outbreaks since the 2021/2022 school year starting Aug. 7, up 42 outbreaks and 271 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, Bergen County has 39 confirmed outbreak with 198 cases, Passaic County has 16 confirmed outbreak with 160 cases, Morris County has 27 confirmed outbreaks with 134 cases, Sussex has 25 confirmed outbreak with 121 cases, Essex County has 17 confirmed outbreak with 86 cases, Hudson County has 16 confirmed outbreaks with 63 cases and Warren County has two confirmed outbreaks with 12 cases.
As of Dec. 22, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 1,186,847 and the total of antigen tests is 186,365. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,373,212.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 28 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 25,948. The state listed probable deaths at 2,842, bringing the overall total to 28,790. State officials noted 20 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,890, followed by Bergen at 2,739, Hudson with 2,207, Passaic at 1,852, Morris at 1,069, Sussex at 288, and Warren County at 245.
In regards to probable deaths reported Dec. 20, Bergen has 312, Essex has 310, Morris has 268, Hudson has 223, Passaic has 207, Sussex has 73 and Warren has 26.
Of the 5,957,600 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of Dec. 6, 68,913 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated (1.16%). Of those 1,513 have been hospitalized and 350 COVID-related deaths—less than 1% in each category.
In the week of Nov. 29-Dec. 5, breakthroughs accounted for 22.5% of all new cases (6,082 of 27,036), 2.0% of new hospilizations (24 of 1,198), and 0 of the 116 deaths.
As for the rate of transmission reported Dec. 22, it remained at 1.23 for the second consecutive day. The daily rate of infections from those tested Dec. 17 was 13.8%; by region, the rate was 14.4% in the North, 13.5% in the Central region and 12.0% in the South.
The state reported 2,100 patients were hospitalized in a full reporting of the state’s 71 hospitals. By region, there were 896 in the North, 650 in the Central and 554 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 392 are in intensive care units and 207 on ventilators—the first time above 200 since May 6. A total of 256 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.
According to the state dashboard, new student cases totaled 5,632 and new staff cases 1,315 in the last week as of Dec. 12. Cumulatively, 34,331 cases have been reported— 36,252 students and 8,079 staffers.
The vaccination rate for teachers in the Garden State is 84.0% overall. In North Jersey counties, Sussex was tops at 86.7%, followed by Morris at 86.5%, Warren at 86.0%, Passaic at 86.0%, Essex at 82.4%, and Hudson at 78.9%, and Bergen at 78.6%, the lowest county in the state.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 243 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 1,966 of the cases, broken down between 878 residents and 1,088 staff.
Cumulatively, 2,019 long-term care facilities have reported an outbreak infecting 34,652 residents and 24,071 staff, for a total of 58,723.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,744 on Dec. 22. The facilities are reporting to the state 8,049 residents deaths and 145 staff deaths.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 12,855,943 in-state, plus an additional 498,606 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 13,332,010 as of Dec. 21.
Of those who have received the vaccine, 6,154,960 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 206,917 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 6,361,877—73% of those total eligible. A total of 7,221,774 have received at least their first dose, or 85% of those eligible, as of Dec. 20.
State officials reported boosters and third shots of 1,035,018 for Pfizer and 885,207 for Moderna. A total of 43,223 New Jerseyans have received their Johnson & Johnson booster shot. Overall, 1,963,448 have received a booster or third shot, or a total of 40% of those eligible.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has 676,570 residents fully vaccinated, Essex 542,737, Hudson 484,427, Morris 365,540, Passaic 331,191, Sussex 87,879, and Warren 57,208.