New Jersey on Tuesday reported eight COVID-19 death and 3,083 new confirmed positive tests as the seven-day average for cases rose to the highest number since Feb. 4.
The state’s seven-day average for confirmed cases increased to 2,932 on Tuesday, up 33% from a week ago, and up 127% from a month ago. The seven-day average has increased for 20 consecutive days.
Hospitalizations, which typically lag about two weeks behind case trends, have also been on the rise this month.
There were 647 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases across 70 of the state’s 71 hospitals as of Monday night. One hospital did not report data.
Hospitalizations have been climbing after hitting recent lows in mid-March, but still remain significantly lower than when they peaked at 6,089 on Jan. 10 from the omicron wave.
There were at least 79 people discharged in that same 24-hour period ending Monday night, according to state data. Of those hospitalized, 64 were in intensive care and 25 were on ventilators.
New Jersey’s statewide transmission rate was 1.24 Tuesday. 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 Thursday, the most recent day with available data, was 9.66%.
The state on Tuesday also reported 1,189 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, 14 counties are now at “medium,” according to the updated guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Based on community levels determined Tuesday, Bergen, Burlington, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Somerset, Sussex, Union counties now have “medium” transmission levels. 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 surge 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 23, BA.2 accounted for 96.7% of the positive tests sampled (slightly up from 96.6% the previous week), while the omicron variant accounted for 1% of positive tests sampled.
New Jersey has reported 1,975,972 total confirmed COVID-19 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 319,510 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 33,503 COVID-19 deaths in that time — 30,451 confirmed fatalities and 3,052 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 mood 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 6.88 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 7.79 million have received a first dose since vaccinations began here on Dec. 15, 2020.
More than 3.67 million people in the state eligible for boosters have received one.
SCHOOL AND LONGTERM CARE NUMBERS
For the week ending May 1, with about 59% of schools reporting data, another 4,928 COVID-19 cases were reported among staff (1,312) and students (3,616) across New Jersey’s schools.
Since the start of the academic year, there have been 111,905 students and 32,428 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 653 total in-school outbreaks, including 4,538 cases among students and staff. That includes 20 new outbreaks from data reported last week.
At least 9,049 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 249 facilities, resulting in 2,711 current cases among residents and 2,574 cases among staff, as of the latest data.
As of Tuesday, there have been more than 518 million COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University, with 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 998.050) of any nation.
There have been more than 11 billion vaccine doses administered globally.
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Deion Johnson may be reached at email@example.com† Follow him on Twitter @DeionRJohnson