“There’s only one way to make sure we have more days like yesterday: Get vaccinated,” Murphy wrote in a tweet announcing the news.
That doesn’t mean New Jersey — home to the most deaths per capita among U.S. states — reported no COVID-19 fatalities on Friday. Officials announced there were another 309 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state and an additional 12 confirmed deaths.
The deaths officials report each day do not always include fatalities in the last 24 hours and often include those that happened days, weeks, or even months ago and were just recently confirmed.
But New Jersey, an early coronavirus epicenter, continues to report some of its lowest numbers of the pandemic as vaccinations continue to help quell the outbreak after 16 months — even though officials have recently warned that once-dropping cases have now flattened, while expressing caution about the Delta variant of the virus.
More than 4.86 million people who live, work, or study in the 9.2 million-resident Garden State have now been fully vaccinated, according to state data.
Of those, more than 4.61 million have been fully vaccinated at New Jersey sites, including more than 103,900 out-of-state residents who were vaccinated here. More than 251,900 New Jerseyans have been vaccinated in other states. More than 428,000 first and second vaccine doses administered in New Jersey have gone to children under 18.
More than 5.28 million people have received at least their first dose at a New Jersey site — about 57% of the state’s residents.
The state’s seven-day average for new confirmed positive COVID-19 tests is now 197 — down 3% from a week ago and 58% from a month ago.
Still, Friday marked the first time the state reported more than 300 cases in one day since June 4.
There were 302 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 or suspected cases across New Jersey as of Thursday night — the third straight day that number has dropped. Hospitalizations had been falling steadily from the peak of the state’s second wave, when 3,873 patients were in hospitals on Dec. 22. They have hovered just above 300 patients for the past week.
The statewide transmission fell to 0.94, from 0.97 the day before. Any number under 1 indicates that each new case is leading to less than one additional case.
The latest statewide positivity rate for Saturday, the date with the most recent data, was 1.3%.
Officials have said the state’s recent numbers are largely being driven by unvaccinated people. They have not provided a specific breakdown, but they note data shows vaccines have proven to be 99.4% effective against COVID-19 in New Jersey, with fewer than 1% of vaccinated people catching the virus.
State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli also said this week said state officials are continuing to monitor the Delta variant, which federal officials say is now the dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S. and could cause another wave in the country, especially putting places with lower vaccination rates in danger. New Jersey has one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation.
New Jersey has seen a staggering death toll from the virus. The state of has now reported 26,428 deaths from complications related to COVID-19 in more than 15 months — 23,730 confirmed and 2,698 considered probable.
In all, the Garden State has reported 892,308 total confirmed cases out of more than 14.41 million tests since it announced its first case March 4, 2020.
The state has also reported 130,135 positive antigen tests during the pandemic. Those cases are considered probable, and health officials have warned that positive antigen tests could overlap with the confirmed PCR tests because they are sometimes given in tandem.
Murphy has lifted the majority of New Jersey’s coronavirus restrictions, though mask mandates remain on NJ Transit and in state buildings, among some other places. He has also ended the state’s emergency over the pandemic, though he retains some powers to keep managing the state’s response.
There were 302 patients hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s hospitals as of Thursday night — 13 fewer than the night before, according to state data.
That included 58 in critical or intensive care (five more than the previous night), with 28 on ventilators (one more).
There were 61 COVID-19 patients discharged Thursday.
By comparison, hospitalizations peaked at more than 8,300 patients during the first wave of the pandemic in April 2020 and more than 3,800 during the second wave in December.
New Jersey has reported 281 in-school coronavirus outbreaks, which have resulted in 1,263 cases among students, teachers and school staff this academic year, according to state data.
The state defines school outbreaks as cases where contact tracers determined two or more students or school staff caught or transmitted COVID-19 in the classroom or during academic activities at school. 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.
There are about 1.4 million public school students and teachers across the state, though teaching methods amid the outbreak have varied, with some schools teaching in-person, some using a hybrid format and others remaining all-remote.
Murphy has said his executive order allowing for virtual schooling in New Jersey during the pandemic will not be renewed beyond this academic year, which will officially end the option for virtual learning in the fall.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (30.9%), followed by those 50-64 (22.4%), 18-29 (20%), 5-17 (10.1%), 65-79 (10%), 80 and older (4.4%) and 0-4 (2.1%).
The virus has been more deadly for older residents, especially those with preexisting conditions. Nearly half the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents 80 and older (45.92%), followed by those 65-79 (33.15%), 50-64 (16.35%), 30-49 (4.16%), 18-29 (0.39%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 8,062 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 are active outbreaks at 30 facilities, resulting in 246 active cases among residents and 397 among staffers. Those numbers have slowed as vaccinations continue at the facilities.
As of Friday afternoon, there have been more than 180.1 million positive COVID-19 cases reported across the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 3.9 million people have died from the coronavirus.
The U.S. has reported more cases than any other nation, at more than 33.5 million, and the most deaths, at more than 603,400.
More than 2.8 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally.
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