New Jersey on Monday reported two new COVID-19 deaths and 1,339 new confirmed positive tests as six additional counties are now at “medium” transmission rates. In “low” and “medium” areas, the CDC does not recommend healthy people wear masks.
The state’s seven-day average for confirmed COVID cases increased to 2,177 on Monday, up 21% from a week ago, and up 142% from a month ago.
There were 510 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases across 70 of the state’s 71 hospitals as of Sunday night. One hospital did not report data.
Hospitalizations have been increasing in recent weeks, though they remain significantly lower than when they peaked at 6,089 on Jan. 10 during the omicron wave that spread across the state this past winter.
There were at least 54 people discharged in that same 24-hour period ending Sunday night, according to state data. Of those hospitalized, 55 were in intensive care and 25 were on ventilators.
New Jersey’s statewide transmission rate was 1.15 on Sunday. When the transmission rate is over 1, that means each new case is leading to at least one additional case and the outbreak is expanding.
The positivity rate for tests conducted on Tuesday, April 26, the most recent day with available data, was 7.04%.
The state on Monday also reported 334 probable cases from rapid antigen testing at medical sites.
After months of all of New Jersey’s 21 counties being listed as having “low” transmission rates, eight counties are now at “medium,” according to the updated guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bergen and Morris counties were elevated to “medium” in the first few months of the year. Based on community levels determined April 28, Essex, Somerset, Middlesex, Mercer, Atlantic and Cape May counties have also been upgraded to “medium.” Healthy people in the low and medium areas are no longer recommended to wear masks.
The BA.2 strain of COVID-19 has been spreading in New Jersey for weeks, though at much lower rates than the omicron surges in December and January. Officials have said the omicron “stealth” subvariant appears to spread more easily but generally does not cause more severe illness.
For the week ending April 9, BA.2 accounted for 88.9% of the positive tests sampled (up from 87.3% the previous week), while the omicron variant accounted for 5.5% of positive tests sampled.
New Jersey has reported 1,953,193 total confirmed COVID cases out of more than 17.6 million PCR tests conducted in the more than two years since the state reported its first known case March 4, 2020.
The Garden State has also recorded 313,813 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 33,444 COVID-19 deaths in that time — 30,398 confirmed fatalities and 3,046 probable.
New Jersey has the eighth-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the US — behind Mississippi, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Arkansas — as of the latest data reported Monday. last-summer, the state still had the most deaths per capita in the country.
The latest numbers follow a major study that reveals even a mild case of COVID-19 can significantly affect the brain. Long COVID — the term commonly used to describe symptoms stemming from the virus long after a person no longer tests positive — has been found to affect between 10% and 30% of those who contract the infection, regardless of whether they have a mild or serious Case.
More than 6.86 million of the 8.46 million eligible people who live, work or study in New Jersey have received the initial course of vaccinations and more than 7.78 million have received a first dose since vaccinations began here on Dec. 15, 2020.
More than 3.5 million people in the state eligible for boosters have received one.
SCHOOL AND LONGTERM CARE NUMBERS
For the week ending April 24, with about 58% of schools reporting data, another 3,212 COVID-19 cases were reported among staff (983) and students (2,229) across New Jersey’s schools.
Since the start of the academic year, there have been 109,723 students and 31,356 school staff members who have contracted COVID-19 in New Jersey, though the state has never had more than two-thirds of the school districts reporting data in any week.
The state provides total student and staff cases separately from those deemed to be in-school transmission, which is narrowly defined as three or more cases linked through contact tracing.
New Jersey has reported 633 total in-school outbreaks, including 4,432 cases among students and staff. That includes 12 new outbreaks from data reported last week.
At least 8,994 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 192 facilities, resulting in 2,278 current cases among residents and 2,501 cases among staff, as of the latest data.
As of Monday, there have been more than 513 million COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins Universitywith more than 6.2 million people having died due to the virus.
The US has reported the most cases (more than 81 million) and deaths (at least 993,744) of any nation.
There have been more than 11 billion vaccine doses administered globally.
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Steven Rhodes may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @stevenrodasnj.