Coronavirus Update: 168,107 Infected, 12,800 Related Deaths; Malls to Reopen June 29


Plus: the New Jersey Health Department added one of its field medical station volunteers as a deputy commissioner of public health.

By Matt Skoufalos | June 18, 2020

NJDOH COVID-19 Dashboard – 6-18-20. Credit: NJ Pen.

Another 442 New Jersey residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the statewide total to 168,107 cases, Governor Phil Murphy reported Thursday.

Sadly, 38 more residents have perished from complications related to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 12,800 lives lost during the pandemic.

In all, the state has seen just 50 COVID-19-related deaths of people younger than 30, said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. Nearly 80 percent of fatalities are among those 65 and older.

Throughout New Jersey, 1,268 people are hospitalized with a case of COVID-19, or while awaiting confirmation of their symptoms.

Of those 1,268 patients, 319 are in intensive or critical care; 257 of ICU and critical-care patients (80 percent) are on ventilators.

Overnight, 71 New Jersey hospitals admitted 73 new COVID-19 patients, and 134 others were discharged, either to a lower-acuity care setting or to their homes.

The statewide average of COVID-19 spot positivity testing stood at 2.94 percent June 13; in South Jersey, it’s higher, at 4.41 percent.

Rt, or the estimated rate of transmission of new cases of the virus, was 0.75 percent on June 16. Those figures indicate that every person infected with COVID-19 is infecting less than one other person, on average, which means the number of new cases continues to decline.

Murphy urged residents to seek out a COVID-19 test, citing the importance of ongoing sampling data to accurate calculations of spot positivity and Rt.

NJ Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli – COVID-19 Briefing 6-18-20. Credit: NJ Pen.

“I encourage everyone who has spent a day on the beach, an evening shopping at a reopened store, dining at a reopened outdoor restaurant, or a day in the streets joining a protest—we want all of you to go out and get tested,” the governor said.

Across New Jersey, 555 long-term care (LTC) centers have reported at least one case of COVID-19, and account for 35,484 infected patients and staff, or 21 percent of total cases.

That includes 23,596 residents and 11,888 staffers sickened by the virus, as well as 6,117 lab-confirmed resident deaths (48 percent of the statewide total) and 117 facility-reported staff deaths.

Of 654 veterans residing in a state-run home, 386 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 146 have died from complications related to the virus. Three veterans presently are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 226 have recovered from the virus.

At state-run psychiatric facilities, 211 of 1,232 patients and 493 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Seven staffers and 13 patients have died from complications related to the virus; unchanged since last week.

Fifteen patients are presently receiving care at one of the state’s field medical stations, which have served 489 people in total.

To date, 43 New Jersey children, aged 1 to 18, have been diagnosed with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, Persichilli said.

All have tested positive for an active COVID-19 infection or the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, indicating exposure to the virus. Five children are still currently hospitalized. No deaths have been associated with this syndrome in New Jersey.

Guidance for reopening malls. Credit: NJ Pen.

Malls may reopen for limited retail June 29

The indoor portions of retail shopping malls may reopen Monday, June 29, Murphy said Thursday.

Stores are allowed to operate at only 50 percent of capacity, and mall food outlets may only provide take-out or outdoor dining. Shoppers are asked to maintain social distancing and frequent hand-washing as well as wearing face coverings at all times. The full guidance is available here.

“Malls are part of New Jersey culture and lore,” Murphy said. “We want these businesses to get back up and running responsibly and safely.”

Unemployment update, NHDOH Names Adinaro Deputy Commissioner

Another 23,692 New Jersey residents claimed unemployment benefits last week, a declining, but still high, number, Murphy said Thursday.

In all, 1.06 million people have claimed benefits in the state from March 15 through June 13.

They have been paid $7.2 billion, $2.4 billion from state coffers and $4.8 billion in federal payments.

Finally, Persichilli announced that David Adinaro, a physician who volunteered as the Chief Medical Officer at the Secaucus Field Medical Station (FMS) and helped build up the East Orange FMS, has been named Deputy Commissioner of Public Health Services for New Jersey.

Adinaro helped hire more than 100 doctors, nurses, social workers, and respiratory and physical therapists, helped coordinate their efforts as a team, and acquired the essential equipment required to care for recovering patients.

He has been an emergency physician and executive at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, has volunteered as an EMT for 20 years, and holds multiple advanced degrees, Persichilli said.

Read our ongoing round-up of COVID-19 coverage here.

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