New Jersey on Saturday reported seven more COVID-19 deaths and 4,015 new confirmed positive tests as the seven-day average continues to compared to a month ago.
The average was 3,960 on Saturday, up 10% from a week ago and up 139% from a month ago. Though the statewide rate of transmission dropped slightly Saturday to 1.25 compared to 1.28 the prior day. 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.
There were 836 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases reported across the state’s 71 hospitals as of Friday night. Hospitalizations still remain significantly lower than when they peaked at 6,089 on Jan. 10 during the Omicron wave.
There were at least 188 people discharged in that same 24-hour period ending Friday, according to state data. Of those hospitalized, 117 were in intensive care and 39 were on ventilators.
The positivity rate for tests conducted on Sunday, the most recent day with available data, was 18.85%.
The state on Saturday also reported 1,378 probable cases from rapid antigen testing at medical sites.
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” sub-variant appears to spread more easily but generally does not cause more severe illness.
For the week ending April 30, BA.2 accounted for 91.4% of the positive tests sampled (slightly up from 89.4% the previous week), while the BA2.12.1 omicron subvariant accounted for 6% of positive tests sampled (down from 6.7% the previous week).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now lists 10 New Jersey counties with “high” transmission rates — Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem and Sussex. Those in high-risk areas are recommended to wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation and stay up-to-date on vaccination, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ten counties are in the medium risk category: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset, Union and Warren. Cumberland County is at low. Masks are not recommended in the medium and low regions.
New Jersey has reported 2,021,344 total confirmed COVID-19 cases out of more than 17.7 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 331,306 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 33,610 COVID-19 deaths — 30,552 confirmed fatalities and 3,058 probable.
New Jersey has the seventh-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the U.S. — behind Mississippi, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia — as of the latest data reported Tuesday. Last summer, the state still had the most deaths per capita in the country.
The latest numbers follow a major study that revealed 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 6.89 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 7.8 million have received a first dose since vaccinations began here on Dec. 15, 2020.
More than 3.74 million people in the state eligible for boosters have received one. That number may rise after the FDA on Tuesday approved booster shots for healthy children between the ages of 5 and 11. U.S. regulators authorized the booster for kids hoping an extra vaccine dose will enhance their protection as infections once again creep upward.
SCHOOL AND LONG-TERM CARE NUMBERS
For the week ending May 8, with about 59% of schools reporting data, another 8,923 COVID-19 cases were reported among staff (2,461) and students (6,462) across New Jersey’s schools.
Since the start of the academic year, there have been 116,771 students and 34,685 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 807 total in-school outbreaks, including 5,671 cases among students and staff. That includes 82 new outbreaks in the latest weekly report ending May 16. The state reported 72 in-school outbreaks the previous 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 323 facilities, resulting in 3,482 current cases among residents and 3,144 cases among staff, as of the latest data.
As of Saturday, there have been more than 527 million COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 6.28 million people died due to the virus.
The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 83.2 million) and deaths (at least 1,002,025) of any nation.
There have been more than 11.44 billion vaccine doses administered globally.
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