New Jersey health officials on Thursday reported another 2,503 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 101 additional deaths one day before restrictions on indoor dining, gatherings and other venues will be eased.
The seven-day average for confirmed positive tests dropped to 3,417, down 21% from a week ago and 22% from a month ago. That’s the lowest seven-day average for new cases since Nov. 14.
Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday that capacity limits for restaurants, gyms and other businesses will increase Friday from 25% to 35%. The move comes just before Super Bowl weekend and also eliminates the curfew ordering bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m.
Murphy also announced New Jersey will increase the capacity limits for many public indoor gatherings from 25% to 35%, matching new limits for restaurants and other businesses. Indoor gatherings such as religious ceremonies or services, wedding ceremonies, political activities, and memorial services or funerals will remain at 150.
New Jersey has now lost 21,793 residents in the nearly 11-month outbreak – 19,606 confirmed fatalities and 2,187 considered probable. 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 633,731 out of more than 9.5 million PCR tests. There have also been 75,365 positive antigen tests, which the state recently began reporting publicly. 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 rate of transmission reported Thursday declined to 0.94 after holding at 0.95 for two consecutive days. Any number below 1 indicates the outbreak is slowing.
Hospitalizations declined slightly as of Wednesday night to 2,971, the fifth consecutive day with fewer than 3,000 coronavirus patients across the state’s 71 hospitals.
There have been 876,529 vaccine doses administered in New Jersey so far, according to the state’s dashboard. Of those, 715,226 were the first of two doses people will receive.
That’s out of more than 1.25 million doses the state has received from the federal government, according to a running tally by the federal Centers for Disease Control.
This week’s winter storm forced all six of the state’s mega sites, as well as likely many other facilities that give vaccinations, to close for two days.
VACCINATIONS BY COUNTY
- ATLANTIC COUNTY – 26,607 doses administered
- BERGEN COUNTY – 95,035 doses administered
- BURLINGTON COUNTY – 44,692 doses administered
- CAMDEN COUNTY – 51,294 doses administered
- CAPE MAY COUNTY – 13,163 doses administered
- CUMBERLAND COUNTY – 13,347 doses administered
- ESSEX COUNTY – 68,818 doses administered
- GLOUCESTER COUNTY – 30,267 doses administered
- HUDSON COUNTY – 40,326 doses administered
- HUNTERDON COUNTY – 12,019 doses administered
- MERCER COUNTY – 24,306 doses administered
- MIDDLESEX COUNTY – 64,762 doses administered
- MONMOUTH COUNTY – 67,263 doses administered
- MORRIS COUNTY – 64,352 doses administered
- OCEAN COUNTY – 53,561 doses administered
- PASSAIC COUNTY – 40,693 doses administered
- SALEM COUNTY – 5,286 doses administered
- SOMERSET COUNTY – 34,127 doses administered
- SUSSEX COUNTY – 14,254 doses administered
- UNION COUNTY – 42,398 doses administered
- WARREN COUNTY – 8,531 doses administered
- UNKNOWN COUNTY – 29,074 doses administered
- OUT OF STATE – 32,354 doses administered
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES (sorted by most new)
- Ocean County: 45,895 confirmed cases (353 new), 1,588 confirmed deaths (104 probable)
- Bergen County: 61,304 confirmed cases (295 new), 2,228 confirmed deaths (273 probable)
- Hudson County: 57,500 confirmed cases (223 new), 1,708 confirmed deaths (173 probable)
- Middlesex County: 60,933 confirmed cases (189 new), 1,733 confirmed deaths (221 probable)
- Monmouth County: 45,479 confirmed cases (162 new), 1,188 confirmed deaths (109 probable)
- Essex County: 60,824 confirmed cases (142 new), 2,304 confirmed deaths (257 probable)
- Burlington County: 28,414 confirmed cases (132 new), 643 confirmed deaths (49 probable)
- Morris County: 28,316 confirmed cases (131 new), 853 confirmed deaths (216 probable)
- Passaic County: 47,921 confirmed cases (129 new), 1,449 confirmed deaths (163 probable)
- Union County: 45,120 confirmed cases (124 new), 1,495 confirmed deaths (190 probable)
- Atlantic County: 17,637 confirmed cases (104 new), 470 confirmed deaths (24 probable)
- Camden County: 36,871 confirmed cases (101 new), 969 confirmed deaths (71 probable)
- Mercer County: 24,059 confirmed cases (90 new), 786 confirmed deaths (39 probable)
- Gloucester County: 19,427 confirmed cases (75 new), 484 confirmed deaths (22 probable)
- Cumberland County: 10,995 confirmed cases (71 new), 294 confirmed deaths (18 probable)
- Somerset County: 16,634 confirmed cases (60 new), 653 confirmed deaths (97 probable)
- Warren County: 5,624 confirmed cases (30 new), 185 confirmed deaths (16 probable)
- Salem County: 3,966 confirmed cases (27 new), 138 confirmed deaths (12 probable)
- Sussex County: 7,041 confirmed cases (18 new), 200 confirmed deaths (57 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 5,470 confirmed cases (15 new), 95 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Cape May County: 3,272 confirmed cases (14 new), 143 confirmed deaths (22 probable)
There were 2,971 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Wednesday night. That’s 15 fewer than the previous day after two consecutive days of more people being hospitalized.
That included 531 in critical or intensive care (12 fewer than the previous night), with 362 on ventilators (six more).
There were also 335 COVID-19 patients discharged Wednesday, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Hospitalizations had been slowly declining in recent weeks. Monday marked the first time in eight days the number of people hospitalized increased. 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 the 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 (31.1%), followed by those 50-64 (23.5%), 18-29 (19.3%), 65-79 (11.1%), 5-17 (7.9%), 80 and older (5.3%), and 0-4 (1.6%).
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 (47.49%), followed by those 65-79 (32.56%), 50-64 (15.52%), 30-49 (4.05%), 18-29 (0.36%), 5-17 (0%), and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,713 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 435 facilities, resulting in 7,338 active cases among residents and 7,929 among staffers.
As of Thursday morning, there have been more than 104.5 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.27 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 26.55 million, and the most deaths, at more than 450,800.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com