New Jersey on Thursday reported 4,503 confirmed positive tests for COVID-19 and 14 deaths, as new cases showed early signs of leveling off this week.
The state’s seven-day average for confirmed cases was 3,862 Thursday, down 4% from a week ago and up 108% from a month ago. The seven-day average was between 3,800 and 4,000 daily positive tests over the past 12 days.
The nationwide transmission rate for Thursday was 1.12. If the transmission rate is above 1, it means that each new case will result in at least one more case and the outbreak is expanding. But the transmission rate had recently been above 1.2 as cases rose steadily.
As of Wednesday night, 876 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases had been reported at 70 of the state’s 71 hospitals. One hospital did not report any data. Hospital admissions still remain significantly lower than when they peaked at 6,089 on Jan. 10 during the Omicron wave.
At least 176 people were laid off in the 24 hours to Wednesday, according to government data. Of those who were hospitalized, 105 were in intensive care and 43 on ventilators.
The positivity rate for tests conducted on Saturday, the latest day with available data, was 17.86%.
The state also reported 1,120 probable cases of rapid antigen testing at medical sites on Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now lists 10 counties in New Jersey with “high” transmission rates – Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem and Sussex. People in high-risk areas are advised to wear a mask in public and on indoor public transportation and keep up to date on vaccinations, according to the CDC.
Ten counties are in the medium risk category: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset, Union and Warren. Cumberland County has a low risk. Masks are not recommended in the mid and low regions.
New Jersey has reported a total of 2,039,811 confirmed COVID-19 cases from more than 17.7 million PCR tests conducted in the more than two years since the state reported its first known case on March 4, 2020.
The Garden State has also recorded 336,168 positive antigen or rapid tests that are considered probable cases. And there are numerous cases that have likely never been counted, including positive at-home tests that aren’t included in the state’s numbers.
The state of 9.2 million people has reported 33,665 COVID-19 deaths — 30,602 confirmed deaths and 3,063 probable.
New Jersey has the seventh-most common coronavirus deaths per capita in the US — behind Mississippi, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia — according to the latest May 17 data. As of last summer, the state still had the most deaths per capita in the country.
The latest numbers follow a large study that found even a mild case of COVID-19 can significantly affect the brain. Long COVID — the term commonly used to describe symptoms attributed to the virus long after a person has stopped testing positive — has been shown to affect between 10% and 30% of people who contract the infection , regardless of whether they have a light or heavy case.
More than 6.91 million of the 8.46 million eligible people living, working or studying in New Jersey have received their first series of vaccines, and more than 7.8 million have received a first dose since vaccinations went live here on March 15. December 2020 started.
More than 3.79 million people in the state who are eligible for a refresher have received one. That number could rise after the FDA approved booster shots for healthy children between the ages of 5 and 11 on Tuesday. US regulators have approved the booster shots for children in hopes that an extra dose of vaccine will improve their protection if infections pick up again.
SCHOOL AND CARE NUMBERS
In the week ended May 15, when about 56.4% of schools reported data, an additional 11,135 COVID-19 cases were reported among staff (3,008) and students (8,127) at all schools in New Jersey.
Since the start of the school year, 125,550 students and 37,197 school staff in New Jersey have contracted COVID-19, though the state never had more than two-thirds of school districts reporting data weekly.
The state provides total student and staff cases separately from cases that qualify as school transmission, which is narrowly defined as three or more cases linked by contact tracing.
New Jersey has reported a total of 876 school outbreaks, including 6,234 cases among students and staff. That includes 69 new breakouts in the latest weekly report ending May 23. The state reported 82 school outbreaks in the previous week.
At least 9,113 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and employees of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data.
There have been active outbreaks in 336 facilities, resulting in 3,715 current cases among residents and 3,403 cases among staff, according to the latest data.
More than 527 million COVID-19 cases had been reported worldwide as of Thursday, and more than 6.28 million people had died from the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The US has reported the most cases (more than 83.7 million) and deaths (at least 1,003,797) of any nation.
More than 11.48 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.
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Deion Johnson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @DeionRJohnson