With new cases down by two third from a week ago and other key health metrics related to COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy expressed confidence that the Winter peak has been surpassed.
“The Omicron tsunami is continuing to pull back,” said Gov. Phil Murphy during a press briefing on Jan. 24. “While yes we believe that we are on the backside of Omicron, we are not free of it.”
Murphy stressed that metrics in New Jersey’s 71 hospitals are still higher except for those seen in Spring 2020 even as they have dropped over the last week. There were 4,093 patients hospitalized as of Jan. 24, 711 are in intensive care units and 465 on ventilators. In comparison, on Jan. 17 there were 5,282 patients hospitalized, 848 were in intensive care units and 537 on ventilators.
“The metrics in our hospitals are among the most important that we watch as we can not let our healthcare system get to its breaking point,” said Murphy. “No one should be complacent even though these numbers are trending very positively—and they are—they are still higher than anything we encountered even through last Winter’s and the Delta variant’s surge from last Summer.”
Officials continued to urge that New Jerseyans still need to get COVID-19, as currently a total of 76% of those eligible are fully vaccinated, 90% have received at least one dose and 49% of those eligible have received their booster.
The Case for Vaccines
“The vaccines continue to prove their effectiveness, especially preventing COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths,” said Murphy. “The booster rate … is still meaningful lower than where it needs to be, particularly given how strong the protection that the booster gives us.”
The state provided a chart that showed the cases, hospitalizations and deaths for those being unvaccinated/received only one shot, fully vaccinated and fully vaccinated and boosted for the time period of COVID breakthrough cases from Dec. 13, 2021 to Jan. 9, 2022. There were 40,179 cases, 310 hospitalizations and 23 deaths for those boosted; 178,192 cases, 1,328 hospitalizations and 104 deaths for the fully vaccinated and 304,128 cases, 2,422 hospitalizations and 319 deaths for the unvaccinated/incomplete those fully vaccinated.
Unvaccinated are Selfish
Those numbers led Murphy to answer that putting aside people who have a legitimate reason that they’re not vaccinated or boosted, those not getting the vaccine are being “selfish…I think it’s a shirking of our collective responsibility. I do think it’s akin to drunk driving. You’re not only putting yourself at risk, you’re putting other people at risk.”
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli noted that while people are weary of pandemic messages especially with good news, “we must remain vigilant because asas this pandemic has taught us. The virus can test our healthcare system and cause severe consequences among children. A reminder that COVID-19 is not always a benign illness.”
As of Jan. 24, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 1,791,664 with 4,338 total new PCR cases. There were 617 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 280,872. The total number of individual cases for the state is 2,072,536.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 24 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 27,892. The state listed probable deaths at 2,907, bringing the overall total to 30,799. State officials noted 60 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Jan. 24, Bergen had a total of 441 new confirmed cases and 91 new probable cases, Essex 328 new cases and 26 new probable case, Hudson 655 new cases and 37 new probable cases, Morris 258 new confirmed cases and 25 new probable cases, Passaic 212 new cases and 29 new probable cases, Sussex 78 new cases and five new probable cases, and Warren 61 new cases and four new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 3,071, followed by Bergen at 2,922, Hudson with 2,344, Passaic at 1,979, Morris at 1,151, Sussex at 339, and Warren County at 274.
In regards to probable deaths reported Jan. 24, Bergen has 321, Essex has 309, Morris has 276, Hudson has 224, Passaic has 202, Sussex has 79 and Warren has 27.
As for the rate of transmission reported Jan. 24, it declined to 0.64 from 0.68 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested Jan. 20 was 15.4%; by region, the rate was 13.6% in the North, 16.6% in the Central region and 17.7% in the South.
The state’s dashboard had a count of 4,093 patients hospitalized as 70 of the 71 hospitals in the Garden State filed reports Jan. 24. By region, there were 1,643 in the North, 1,402 in the Central and 1,048 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 711 are in intensive care units and 465 on ventilators. A total of 476 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 561 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 24,088 of the cases, broken down between 10,988 residents and 13,100 staff.
Cumulatively, 2,350 long-term care facilities have reported an outbreak infecting 44,797 residents and 36,120 staff, for a total of 80,917.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,936 on Jan. 24. The facilities are reporting to the state 8,343 residents deaths and 165 staff deaths.
According to the state dashboard with 62.7% of all New Jersey schools reporting, new student cases totaled 17,820 and new staff cases 4,371 in the last week as of Jan. 16. Cumulatively, 217,685 cases have been reported— 167,619 students and 50,066 staffers.
The vaccination rate for teachers in the Garden State is 85.2% overall. In North Jersey counties, Bergen was tops at 91.0%, followed by Warren at 88.1%, Sussex at 86.4%, Passaic at 85.5%, Essex at 81.8%, Morris at 82.9%, and Hudson at 78.3%, the lowest county in the state.
In regards to outbreaks related to in-school transmissions as of Jan. 18, the state has tracked 406 school outbreaks and 2,365 cases linked to those outbreaks since the 2021/2022 school year starting Aug. 7, up 18 outbreaks and 110 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 51 confirmed outbreaks with 274 cases, Morris County has 31 confirmed outbreaks with 197 cases, Passaic County has 20 confirmed outbreaks with 173 cases, Sussex has 29 confirmed outbreaks with 156 cases, Essex County has 24 confirmed outbreaks with 128 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 13,359,778 in-state, plus an additional 545,862 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 13,905,640 as of Jan. 24.
Of those who have received the vaccine, 6,342,476 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 219,071 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 6,651,547. A total of 76% of those eligible are fully vaccinated in New Jersey and 90% have received at least one dose.
State officials reported boosters and third shots of 1,438,313 for Pfizer and 1,197,558 for Moderna. A total of 56,887 New Jerseyans have received their Johnson & Johnson booster shot. Overall, 2,692,748 have received a booster or third shot. Overall, 49% of those eligible have received their booster.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has 696,717 residents fully vaccinated, Essex 561,804, Hudson 503,029, Morris 375,236, Passaic 341,181, Sussex 89,692, and Warren 58,441.