New Jersey on Thursday reported 4,913 new coronavirus cases — the highest number of positive tests in a single day — and another 64 deaths as hospitalizations continue to climb following a brief dip over Thanksgiving.
The latest figures were announced a day after Gov. Phil Murphy warned “the numbers in our hospitals tell us how this virus is moving.”
There were 3,292 people being hospitalized as of Wednesday night. The number has increased for five consecutive days. Current hospitalizations are as high as they were in mid-May, though still far below the state’s peak of around 8,000 in April.
The 4,913 new positive tests is the most since the outbreak began in March, though the scarcity of testing in the spring likely undercounted the extent of the initial outbreak. The previous high was 4,679 on Nov. 21.
“This pandemic is nowhere near over,” Murphy said in a tweet on Thursday while announcing the latest numbers. “We can’t give up the fight now. Mask up. Social distance. Wash your hands.”
The nearly 5,000 cases reported Thursday could also reflect some fluctuation in daily reports expected this week from the Thanksgiving holiday and delays in receiving results. In addition, New Jersey saw a spike in people being tested prior to Thanksgiving.
The seven-day average for new cases increased to 4,143, nearly the same as a week ago, but 150% higher than a month ago.
The rate of transmission decreased again Thursday to 1.06, down from 1.08 on Wednesday. Any number above 1 means the outbreak is expanding, but the steady decline in the transmission rate would indicate that the rate of increase is slowing.
New Jersey has had 350,999 total cases out of 6.2 million tests administered. The state has now reported 17,209 COVID-19 deaths – 15,373 confirmed and 1,836 probable.
The state has reported 281 confirmed deaths in the last week – more than the confirmed death tolls reported for the entire months of September (178) and October (231). New Jersey had 615 confirmed deaths in November.
CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage
Murphy spoke Wednesday about the stress on New Jersey’s hospitals and health care workers as he said people should avoid out-of-state travel unless it’s essential. People who do leave the state — aside from trips to neighboring states — should quarantine for 14 days, he said.
New rules that ban all indoor organized sports at the youth, high school, and adult recreation levels — both games and practices — for at least four weeks go into effect Saturday and another measure that caps outgoing gatherings to 25 people takes effect Monday.
Though Murphy has said a statewide lockdown isn’t imminent and that he favors “surgical” restrictions as the state fights the second wave of the virus.
COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES (sorted by most new)
- Bergen County: 36,226 positive tests (498 new), 1,901 confirmed deaths (252 probable)
- Essex County: 36,554 positive tests (476 new), 2,017 confirmed deaths (233 probable)
- Middlesex County: 32,028 positive tests (452 new), 1,303 confirmed deaths (205 probable)
- Hudson County: 32,898 positive tests (440 new), 1,437 confirmed deaths (159 probable)
- Camden County: 20,231 positive tests (394 new), 631 confirmed deaths (57 probable)
- Ocean County: 22,918 positive tests (367 new), 1,077 confirmed deaths (68 probable)
- Monmouth County: 21,621 positive tests (365 new), 820 confirmed deaths (92 probable)
- Passaic County: 31,340 positive tests (328 new), 1,185 confirmed deaths (144 probable)
- Union County: 29,295 positive tests (327 new), 1,273 confirmed deaths (171 probable)
- Gloucester County: 9,547 positive tests (214 new), 288 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
- Mercer County: 14,347 positive tests (177 new), 629 confirmed deaths (36 probable)
- Burlington County: 14,374 positive tests (170 new), 504 confirmed deaths (44 probable)
- Morris County: 14,258 positive tests (163 new), 717 confirmed deaths (148 probable)
- Somerset County: 9,482 positive tests (122 new), 537 confirmed deaths (76 probable)
- Atlantic County: 8,339 positive tests (121 new), 286 confirmed deaths (16 probable)
- Cumberland County: 5,305 positive tests (85 new), 174 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
- Sussex County: 2,734 positive tests (48 new), 162 confirmed deaths (38 probable)
- Warren County: 2,616 positive tests (47 new), 160 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
- Hunterdon County: 2,611 positive tests (34 new), 78 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
- Salem County: 1,726 positive tests (30 new), 89 confirmed deaths (5 probable)
- Cape May County: 1,728 positive tests (27 new), 105 confirmed deaths (10 probable)
There were 3,292 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Wednesday night (five more than the previous day).
Hospitalizations have climbed steadily for three weeks before a slight dip around Thanksgiving.
Of those hospitalized as of Wednesday night, 610 were in critical or intensive care (11 more than the previous night, including 366 on ventilators (12 more).
There were 397 coronavirus patients discharged from hospitals Sunday, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.
Although hundreds of school districts have announced coronavirus cases and dozens of New Jersey schools have temporarily switched to all remote classes since the start of the school year, state health officials have said 70 schools have had confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks.
There have now been 285 total cases of in-school transmission in those 70 schools since the start of the school year.
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.
Though the numbers keep rising every week, Murphy has said the school outbreak statistics remain below what state officials were expecting when schools reopened for in-person classes. The extensive rules for schools, which include social distancing guidelines for classrooms and strict mask requirements, have made schools among the safest places in the state, he said.
Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31.6%), followed by those 50-64 (24.3%), 18-29 (18.8%), 65-79 (11.4%), 80 and older (6.5%), 5-17 (5.9%), and 0-4 (1.2%).
On average, the virus has been more deadly for older residents, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Nearly half the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents 80 and older (47.78%), followed by those 65-79 (31.58%), 50-64 (15.89%), 30-49 (4.35%), 18-29 (0.38%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).
At least 7,291 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. That number has been rising again at a steeper rate in recent weeks.
As of Thursday, there have been 64.7 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.49 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.
The U.S. has reported the most cases with 13.9 million and the most deaths at more than 273,500.
Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com