New Jersey reported another 3,938 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 26 additional deaths Saturday, as the rate of transmission dropped to a six-month low.
The rate of transmission on Sunday fell to .87, the lowest it has been since Aug. 30, when it was also .87.
A transmission rate of .87 means that for every 100 people who contract the virus, they will spread it to 87 others and the outbreak is shrinking. Any number above one means the outbreak is expanding.
The latest update from Gov. Phil Murphy was posted on Twitter and comes two days after capacity was expanded for indoor dining, gyms, personal care services and casinos.
New Jersey’s 71 hospitals reported 2,837 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, down 58 patients than the previous day. The number of patients in intensive care dropped to 571, down from 737 the day before.
New Jersey has now lost 21,990 residents in the nearly 11-month outbreak — 19,802 confirmed fatalities and 2,187 considered probable. The state has reported 455 confirmed deaths in the first six days of February. The death toll for January was 2,377 confirmed fatalities, the most in any month since May.
The total number of confirmed cases is now 645,011 out of more than 9.5 million PCR tests. There have also been 77,156 positive antigen tests, which the state recently began publicly reporting. Those cases are considered probable and health officials have warned the positive antigen tests could overlap with the confirmed PCR tests because they are sometimes given in tandem.
The positivity rate for tests conducted on Wednesday, the most recent day available, was 8.7% from the 57,990 tests administered. However, testing numbers for the first half of this week are likely skewed because of delays and closures caused by a massive snow storm that dumped more than a foot of snow, with some parts of the Garden State buried under more than 30 inches.
There were 2,837 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Saturday night.
That included 571 in critical or intensive care, with 373 on ventilators. There were also 405 COVID-19 patients discharged Saturday.
Hospitalizations had been slowly declining in recent weeks. The state hit a high of more than 8,000 hospitalizations in April.
New Jersey officials reported six new in-school outbreaks of the virus, bringing the total to 137 outbreaks and 655 cases linked among students, teachers and school staff, according to the latest numbers.
The outbreaks — defined as cases in which people were confirmed to have caught or transmitted the virus in classroom or during academic activities — were reported in all 21 counties, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Those numbers do not include students or staff believed to have been infected outside school or cases that can’t be confirmed as in-school outbreaks. Though the numbers keep rising every week, Murphy has said the school outbreak statistics remain below what state officials were expecting when schools reopened for in-person classes.
New Jersey defines school outbreaks as cases where contact tracers determined two or more students or school staff caught or transmitted COVID-19 in the classroom or during academic activities at school.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31%), followed by those 50-64 (23.4%), 18-29 (19.4%), 65-79 (11%), 5-17 (8.1%), 80 and older (5.2%) and 0-4 (1.7%).
On average, the virus has been more deadly for older residents, especially those with preexisting conditions. Nearly half the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents 80 and older (47.48%), followed by those 65-79 (32.6%), 50-64 (15.51%), 30-49 (4.04%), 18-29 (0.36%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (.02%).
At least 7,797 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. That number has been rising again at a steeper rate in recent months, with deaths at the state’s nursing homes nearly tripling in December.
There are currently active outbreaks at 419 facilities, resulting in 7,055 active cases among residents and 7,166 among staffers.
As of Sunday morning, there have been more than 105 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.3 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, with more than 26.91 million, and the most deaths, with more than 462,000.
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