New Jersey on Wednesday reported 4,350 new cases of the coronavirus and another 56 deaths as hospitalizations across the state continue to climb.
There were 3,287 people being treated throughout the state’s 71 hospitals as of Tuesday night, the most since May 20. And as of Wednesday morning, five hospitals in the state were on divert status citing patient volume. A sixth hospital was on divert for critical care, also citing patient volume.
And though the rate of transmission of the virus has ticked down slightly, the virus continues to spread in the state. New Jersey’s current statewide transmission is 1.08, down from 1.1 on Tuesday. The positivity rate for all of Sunday’s tests was 13.68%.
The 7-day average is 4,093, about the same as a week ago and up 151% from a month ago.
Gov. Phil Murphy stressed Wednesday that “the numbers in our hospitals tell us how this virus is moving.”
“That’s because there is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the increase in the number of cases and the increase in the number of patients in our hospitals,” he said during his latest COVID-19 briefing in Trenton. “That much is not up for debate. It’s simple math. Math that we see play out every day in these slides we show with the numbers.”
Health officials have said an increase in COVID-19 patients has been part of the reason hospitals have gone on divert status, which means either the whole hospital or a unit can’t accept new patients temporarily, and those patients are sent to other medical centers.
The ones on divert as of Wednesday morning were Jefferson Washington Township Hospital in Gloucester County, Palisades Medical Center in Hudson County, St. Francis Medical Center in Mercer County (but only for critical care patients), University Medical Center Of Princeton At Plainsboro in Middlesex County, CentraState Medical Center in Monmouth County and Ocean Medical Center in Ocean County.
New Jersey has now reported 346,206 cases out of 6.1 million tests since the outbreak started March 4.
The state of 9 million residents has also reported 17,145 deaths from complications related to the virus in that time — 15,309 confirmed fatalities and 1,836 considered probable.
The daily numbers are expected to fluctuate this week due to a drop in testing and delays in results due to the Thanksgiving holiday that could produce higher and lower individual days for positive tests and deaths. On Monday, the state reported 3,199 positive tests and 15 deaths, and 4,661 tests 90 deaths on Tuesday.
The deaths reported Tuesday — which occurred between Nov. 12 and Monday, according to health officials — were the most confirmed in one day since June 13.
In addition, positive test totals during the second wave are difficult to compare to the first months of the outbreak when testing was scarce and the extent of the infections was likely undercounted. New Jersey is also not publicly reporting results from rapid tests, which have been deployed to hot spots.
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There were 3,287 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Tuesday night (158 more than the previous day).
The state’s Department of Health revised its hospital data for Sunday night. On Monday, the state’s dashboard showed there were 2,961 people being hospitalized for Sunday night. By Tuesday, it showed there were 3,057 patients on that evening — marking the first time since May 20 the number of people hospitalized exceeded 3,000.
Hospitalizations have climbed steadily for three weeks before a slight dip around Thanksgiving. The totals are still far short of the more than 8,000 patients during the initial peak of the outbreak in mid-April.
Of those hospitalized as of Tuesday night, 599 were in critical or intensive care (two fewer than the previous night, including 354 on ventilators (five fewer).
There were 367 coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals Sunday, according to the dashboard.
Although hundreds of school districts have announced coronavirus cases and dozens of New Jersey schools have temporarily switched to all remote classes since the start of the school year, state health officials have said 66 schools have had confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks.
There have now been 269 total cases of in-school transmission in those 66 schools since the start of the school year.
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.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31.6%), followed by those 50-64 (24.3%), 18-29 (18.8%), 65-79 (11.4%), 80 and older (6.5%), 5-17 (5.9%), and 0-4 (1.2%).
On average, the virus has been more deadly for older residents, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Nearly half the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents 80 and older (47.78%), followed by those 65-79 (31.58%), 50-64 (15.89%), 30-49 (4.35%), 18-29 (0.38%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,291 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 weeks.
As of Wednesday, there have been more than 64 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.48 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases with 13.73 million and the most deaths at more than 270,700.
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