New Jersey on Sunday reported another 2,389 confirmed COVID-19 positive tests and two new confirmed deaths as the total number of fully vaccinated New Jerseyans reached more than 6.94 million.
Over 3.98 million people in the state eligible for boosters have received one. That number may rise after the FDA 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 continue to spread.
The state’s seven-day average for confirmed cases was 2,142 on Sunday, down 3% from a week ago, and down 45% from a month ago.
The statewide positivity rate for tests conducted last Sunday, the most recent day with available data, was 7.77%. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers positivity rates above 10% to be “high.”
The statewide rate of transmission has hovered around 0.80 in recent days. A transmission rate below 1 is an indication that the outbreak is declining, as each new case is leading to less than one additional new case.
There were 711 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases reported across 70 out of the state’s 71 hospitals as of Saturday night. Hospitalizations remain significantly lower than when they peaked at 6,089 on Jan. 10 during the omicron wave.
Of those hospitalized Saturday, 96 were in intensive care and 32 were on ventilators. There were at least 151 people discharged in the 24-hour period ending Saturday, according to the latest state data.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now lists four New Jersey counties with “high” transmission rates — Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth and Morris. People in high-risk areas are recommended to wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation and stay up-to-date on vaccinations, according to the CDC.
There are 13 counties in the medium-risk category: Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset and Sussex. Masks are not recommended in the medium-risk and low-risk regions.
Cumberland, Hunterdon, Union and Warren are listed as low risk.
New Jersey has reported 2,119,698 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the more than two years since the state reported its first known case March 4, 2020.
The Garden State has also recorded about 356,860 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 34,003 COVID-19 deaths — 30,916 confirmed fatalities and 3,087 probable ones.
New Jersey has the eighth-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the U.S. — behind Mississippi, Arizona, Oklahoma, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas — as of the latest data reported Monday. Last summer, the state 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.
In New Jersey, that would mean that roughly 600,000 of the more than 2 million who have tested positive for COVID since the onset of the pandemic either have or have had long COVID.
More than 6.94 million 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.
LONG-TERM CARE NUMBERS
At least 9,215 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 353 facilities, resulting in 4,492 current cases among residents and 4,244 cases among staff, as of the latest data.
Heading into this work week, there have been more than 543 million COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 6.3 million people have died due to the virus.
The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 86.9 million) and deaths (at least 1,015,935) of any nation.
There have been more than 11.6 billion vaccine doses administered globally.
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Vashti Harris may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.