New Jersey reported 1,317 more confirmed coronavirus cases and 29 other confirmed deaths on Friday, and COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide continue to decline as vaccinations continue and the state takes a series of new measures to relax the restrictions.
The update comes on the same day that the state increased outdoor gathering limits from 250 to 500 people, increased capacity limits for outdoor sports and entertainment venues from more than 1,000 seats to 50 %, allowed the return of seats and buffets in bars and restaurants, and increased size limits for indoor catered events, such as weddings and proms, to 50% capacity, with a maximum of 250 people. Dancing is also allowed to resume during these events.
Most of these steps were originally scheduled to take place on Monday, but have been postponed for three days.
The state will then eliminate fixed percentage-based indoor capacity limits for restaurants, stores, personal services and other businesses on May 19, while also removing all outdoor gathering caps. But the rules of indoor masking and social distancing will remain, with facilities needed to keep groups at least six feet apart. This can prevent the full capacity of restaurants and other businesses.
More than 3.32 million people were fully vaccinated in New Jersey as of Thursday, or about 48% of the state’s 6.9 million adults. This includes out-of-state residents who have been vaccinated here. Another 160,084 New Jersey residents were vaccinated out of state.
The state’s goal is to vaccinate 70% of the state’s eligible population – around 4.7 million people – by the end of June.
New Jersey’s seven-day average for new confirmed positive COVID-19 tests fell to 1,254, down 31% from a week ago and 65% from a month ago. Friday marked the ninth time in 10 days the state reported fewer than 2,000 new cases.
There were 1,282 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide as of Thursday evening. This is the lowest figure since November 4.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’re getting there,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a morning TV interview on “Good Day New York,” using a phrase he repeats often.
The governor argued that New Jersey has been slower to reopen than other states – especially in the south – because it is the most densely populated state in America and the weather is colder here. , keeping more people out the door. (There are conflicting reports and studies on whether higher population density results in higher infection rates.)
But Murphy stressed that a combination of people following restrictions, vaccines being rolled out and warming weather “is now working in our favor.”
The state’s transmission rate fell to 0.54, from 0.42 the day before. Public Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli warned on Monday that recent figures could be artificially low due to a recent revision of the total number of cases to remove more than 10,000 duplicates. Any number less than 1 indicates that the epidemic is slowing down and that each new case results in less than one additional case.
New Jersey, an early coronavirus epicenter, has now reported 879,812 cases confirmed on more than 13.7 million PCR tests in more than 14 months since the state reported its first case on March 4, 2020.
There was also 127,093 positive antigen tests during the epidemic. These cases are considered probable and health officials have warned that positive antigen tests could overlap with confirmed PCR tests as they are sometimes given in tandem.
The state of 9.2 million people has reported that 25,769 residents have died from complications from COVID-19 – including 23,129 confirmed deaths and 2,640 deaths considered probable.
New Jersey has the most coronavirus deaths per capita among U.S. states, largely due to the early days of the pandemic, when the virus spread rapidly through the region.
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There were 1,282 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases Thursday evening – 29 fewer than the night before, state data showed.
This included 292 people in critical or intensive care (12 fewer), and 202 in ventilators (three more).
There were 182 COVID-19 patients discharged on Thursday.
By comparison, hospitalizations peaked at over 8,300 patients in the first wave of the pandemic in April and over 3,800 in the second wave in December.
New Jersey has reported 263 school coronavirus outbreaks, which have resulted in 1,157 cases among students, teachers and school staff this school year, state data shows.
The state defines outbreaks in schools as cases where contact tracers determined that two or more students or school staff had caught or transmitted COVID-19 in the classroom or during school activities at the school. school. These figures do not include students or staff suspected of having been infected outside of school or cases that cannot be confirmed as outbreaks at school.
There are an estimated 1.4 million students and teachers in public schools across the state, although teaching methods amid the outbreak have varied, with some schools teaching in person, some using a hybrid format and others remaining completely distant.
Murphy said schools in New Jersey are expected to resume in-person classes for the next school year.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (30.9%), followed by 50-64 (22.5%), 18-29 (19.9%), 65-79 (10.1%), 5-17 (9.9%), 80 years and over (4.4%) and 0-4 (2%).
On average, the virus has been deadlier for older residents, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Almost half of the deaths from COVID-19 in the state were among residents aged 80 and over (45.9%), followed by those aged 65 to 79 (33.6%), from 50 to 64 (16.1%), 30 to 49 (4%), 18 to 29. (0.4%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0%).
At least 8,035 of the deaths from COVID-19 in the state have occurred among residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data.
There are active outbreaks in 204 facilities, resulting in 2,291 active cases among residents and 3,076 among staff. These numbers have slowed as vaccinations continue in facilities.
As of early Friday afternoon, there had been more than 156.2 million positive COVID-19 tests worldwide, according to an ongoing count from Johns Hopkins University. More than 3.25 million people have died from complications from the coronavirus.
The United States has reported the most cases, at over 32.6 million, and the most deaths, at over 580,100.
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Brent Johnson can be reached at [email protected].