New Jersey on Monday reported another 1,385 confirmed COVID-19 positive tests and no new confirmed deaths for the first time since late May.
But despite the low mortality report, numerous indicators suggest the virus is spreading again.
The statewide positivity rate for tests conducted Wednesday, the most recent day with available data, was 11.36%. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers positivity rates above 10% to be “high.”
New Jersey’s rate of transmission — which has been increasing recently — was 1.05 on Monday. A transmission rate below 1 is an indication that the outbreak is declining, as each new case is leading to less than one additional new case. When the transmission rate is 1, that means cases have leveled off at the current numbers and anything above 1 means it’s spreading.
There were 833 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases reported across 70 of the state’s 71 hospitals as of Sunday night. Hospitalizations remain significantly lower than when they peaked at 6,089 on Jan. 10 during the omicron wave.
The CDC now lists four New Jersey counties as having “high” transmission rates—Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, and Monmouth. The CDC recommends that people in high-risk areas wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation and stay up-to-date on vaccinations.
There are 13 counties in the medium-risk category: Bergen, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset and Union. Masks are not recommended in the medium-risk and low-risk regions.
Cumberland, Hunterdon, Sussex, and Warren are listed as low risk.
New Jersey has reported 2,138,256 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the more than two years since the state reported its first known case March 4, 2020.
The Garden State has also recorded about 362,162 positive antigen or rapid tests, which are considered probable cases. And there are numerous cases that have likely never been counted, including at-home positive tests that are not included in the state’s numbers.
The state of 9.2 million residents has reported 34,065 COVID-19 deaths — 30,977 confirmed fatalities and 3,088 probable ones.
New Jersey now has the seventh-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the US — behind Mississippi, Arizona, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee and Oklahoma — as of the latest data reported Monday. Last summer, the state had the most deaths per capita in the country.
More than 6.94 million people who live, work or study in New Jersey have received the initial course of vaccinations and more than 7.8 million have received a first dose since vaccinations began here on Dec. 15, 2020.
Over 4 million people in the state eligible for boosters have received one. That number may rise after the Food and Drug Administration approved booster shots for healthy children between the ages of 5 and 11. US regulators authorized the booster for kids hoping for an extra vaccine dose will enhance their protection as infections continue to spread.
LONG-TERM CARE NUMBERS
At least 9,279 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data.
There were active outbreaks at 346 facilities, resulting in 4,438 current cases among residents and 4,347 cases among staff, as of the latest data.
As of Monday, there have been more than 549 million COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 6.3 million people have died due to the virus.
The US has reported the most cases (more than 87.8 million) and deaths (at least 1,017,880) of any nation.
There have been more than 11.7 billion vaccine doses administered globally.
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Jackie Roman may be reached at email@example.com.