State Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-25) hit back at Gov. Phil Murphy after he instituted a new Public Health Emergency order related to the Omicron spike of COVID-19.
“While Gov. Murphy always talks about moving New Jersey ‘forward,’ he’s taking a giant leap backward by reinstating a new public health emergency,” said Bucco in a press statement after the announcement.
Murphy made the controversial call hours before the COVID-19 emergency order he had negotiated with state lawmakers was set to expire Jan. 12 and a 45-day resolution from State Senate and Assembly legislators was pulled.
Lack of Legislative Support
“While we hope to return to a state of normalcy as soon as possible, the step I am taking today is a commonsense measure that will protect the safety and well-being of all New Jersey residents while allowing the state government to respond to the continuing threat that COVID-19 poses to our daily lives,” said Murphy on Jan. 11.
Bucco argued that contrary to Murphy’s claims, the emergency order was not developed in conjunction with the state legislature
“Despite what the governor has said, his action was not taken ‘in consultation with the Legislature.’ His own party said they weren’t consulted, and neither were Republicans,” he argued.
Bucco further reiterated that the Legislature did not want to extend his emergency powers, and that Gov. Murphy was exceeding his authority.
Dems Mad Too
“Governor Murphy’s decision both circumvents legislative oversight and breaks his deal with his own party’s leadership. We need to give people hope that life is returning to normal, not returning to one man’s rule by executive order,” Bucco said.
Outgoing State Sen. Steve Sweeney noted his own concern with the governor’s action.
“Just disrespectful. We are an equal branch of government…I wasn’t consulted. It’s just aggravating,” he said.
Responding to COVID-19 ‘Tsunami’
Murphy said the extended emergency order and his declaration that the school mask mandate would remain in effect was due to the overwhelming rise of COVID-19 over the course of the past few weeks.
“We can not change gears on this in the middle of this tsunami…I will not let that happen,” he said.
The declaration would allow for continued vaccine distribution and uphold vaccinate-or-test requirements for certain settings. Additionally, it would allow for the collection of COVID-19 data and implementation of CDC recommendations.
As of Jan. 14, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 1,694,553 with 20,624 total new PCR cases. There were 3,313 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 267,645. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,962,198.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 106 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 27,090. The state listed probable deaths at 2,869, bringing the overall total to 29,959. State officials noted 73 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Jan. 14, Bergen had a total of 2,036 new confirmed cases and 338 new probable cases, Essex 1,745 new cases and 124 new probable case, Hudson 1,407 new cases and 174 new probable cases, Morris 1,022 new confirmed cases and 149 new probable cases, Passaic 1,065 new cases and 208 new probable cases, Sussex 316 new cases and 36 new probable cases, and Warren 256 new cases and 14 new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,985, followed by Bergen at 2,852, Hudson with 2,285, Passaic at 1,932, Morris at 1,107, Sussex at 313, and Warren County at 270.
In regards to probable deaths reported Jan. 10, Bergen has 314, Essex has 310, Morris has 274, Hudson has 223, Passaic has 207, Sussex has 74 and Warren has 27.
Of the 6,145,961 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of Dec. 27, 2021, 128,172 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated (2.1%). Of those 1,687 have been hospitalized and 448 COVID-related deaths—less than 1% in each category.
In the week of Dec. 20-26, 2021, breakthroughs accounted for 31.0% of all new cases (31,334 of 101,000), 0.2% of new hospilizations (4 of 2,640), and five of the 146 deaths.
As for the rate of transmission reported Jan. 14, it declined to 1.29 from 1.35 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested Jan. 8 was 32.5%; by region, the rate was 31.5% in the North, 33.4% in the Central region and 34.3% in the South.
The state’s dashboard had a count of 5,835 patients hospitalized as all 71 hospitals in the Garden State filed reports Jan. 14. By region, there were 2,580 in the North, 1,831 in the Central and 1,424 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 896 are in intensive care units and 524 on ventilators. A total of 869 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.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 550 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 19,924 of the cases, broken down between 8,566 residents and 11,358 staff.
Cumulatively, 2,340 long-term care facilities have reported an outbreak infecting 42,381 residents and 34,403 staff, for a total of 76,784.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,854 on Jan. 14. The facilities are reporting to the state 8,194 residents deaths and 147 staff deaths.
According to the state dashboard with just 50% of all New Jersey schools reporting, new student cases totaled 20,091 and new staff cases 8,308 in the last week as of Jan. 2. Cumulatively, 360,698 cases have been reported— 71,029 students and 21,014 staffers.
The vaccination rate for teachers in the Garden State is 84.7% overall. In North Jersey counties, Bergen was tops at 90.8%, followed by Warren at 88.9%, Morris at 87.9%, Sussex at 86.7%, Passaic at 85.9%, Essex at 82.0%, and Hudson at 77.6%, tied for the lowest county in the state.
In regards to outbreaks related to in-school transmissions as of Jan. 11, the state has tracked 388 school outbreaks and 2,255 cases linked to those outbreaks since the 2021/2022 school year starting Aug. 7, up four outbreaks and 28 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 48 confirmed outbreaks with 264 cases, Morris County has 31 confirmed outbreaks with 190 cases, Passaic County has 19 confirmed outbreaks with 170 cases, Sussex has 29 confirmed outbreaks with 156 cases, Essex County has 22 confirmed outbreaks with 119 cases, Hudson County has 18 confirmed outbreaks with 89 cases and Warren County has two confirmed outbreaks with 12 cases.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 13,232,112 in-state, plus an additional 524,716 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 13,756,828 as of Jan. 14.
Of those who have received the vaccine, 6,294,424 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 212,725 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 6,507,149. A total of 75% of those eligible are fully vaccinated in New Jersey and 88% have received at least one dose.
State officials reported boosters and third shots of 1,346,586 for Pfizer and 1,129,888 for Moderna. A total of 53,217 New Jerseyans have received their Johnson & Johnson booster shot. Overall, 2,529,691 have received a booster or third shot. Overall, 46% of those eligible have received their booster.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has 691,730 residents fully vaccinated, Essex 556,684, Hudson 498,421, Morris 372,986, Passaic 338,351, Sussex 89,541, and Warren 58,181.