Coronavirus Update: 174,628 Infections, 13,532 Related Deaths; NJ Could Bond $10B to Cover Pandemic Shortfall


Even with additional borrowing, Governor Phil Murphy says New Jersey will need federal financial assistance to make up the state’s $20 billion revenue shortfall from 2020-2021.

By Matt Skoufalos | July 10, 2020

NJDOH COVID-19 Dashboard – 7-10-20. Credit: NJDOH.

Another 367 New Jersey residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the statewide total to 174,628 cases, Governor Phil Murphy reported Friday.

Sadly, 31 more residents have perished from complications related to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 13,532 lives lost during the pandemic.

In addition to those lab-confirmed fatalities, the state has recognized 1,947 probable COVID-19-related deaths.

Throughout New Jersey, 904 people are hospitalized with a case of COVID-19, or while awaiting confirmation of their symptoms. Among those patients, 162 are in intensive or critical care, and 94 of ICU and critical-care patients (58 percent) are on ventilators, the first time ventilator usage has fallen to fewer than 100 patients in weeks.

Overnight, 44 New Jersey hospitals admitted 51 new COVID-19 patients, and 83 others were discharged, either to a lower-acuity care setting or to their homes.

Rate of transmission (Rt) retreats below 1.0, spot positivity highest in South Jersey

The statewide average of COVID-19 spot positivity testing stood at 2.23 percent July 8; in South Jersey, it’s almost double that, at 4.25 percent.

On July 8, Rt, or the rate of transmission of new COVID-19 cases, stood at 0.98, down from 1.10 only two days earlier. That means that each new COVID-19 patient is infecting less than one other person, which means the virus is retreating, on average.

Rt had been steadily increasing from a low of 0.62 recorded June 9.

NJ Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli – COVID-19 Briefing 7-10-20. Credit: NJ Pen.

Long-term care accounts for almost half of all deaths, a fifth of those infected

Across New Jersey, 557 long-term care (LTC) centers have reported at least one case of COVID-19, and account for 36,839 infected patients and staff, or 21 percent of total cases.

That includes 24,366 residents and 12,473 staffers sickened by the virus, as well as 6,631 lab-confirmed resident deaths (49 percent of the statewide total) and 119 facility-reported staff deaths.

Of 654 veterans residing in a state-run home, 388 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 146 have died from complications related to the virus. Six veterans presently are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 240 have recovered from the virus.

At state-run psychiatric facilities, 212 of 1,235 patients and 503 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Seven staffers and 13 patients have died from complications related to the virus.

To date, 51 New Jersey children aged 1 to 18 have been diagnosed with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said; no new cases this week.

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

State could borrow as much as $9.9 billion through bonding

The governor announced that the state legislature has an agreement in place that could allow New Jersey to borrow as much as $9.9 billion as part of efforts to plug an approximately “$20 billion hole” in its budgets from mid-2020 to the end of 2021.

Murphy also said that there is no legislative mandate to raise taxes or institute new taxes to cover the cost of this borrowing. He added that the state will likely need federal assistance in addition to the bonding to make up for its present economic shortfall.

New Jersey State Epidemiologist Christina Tan – COVID-19 Briefing 7-10-20. Credit: NJ Pen.

Questions about herd immunity in long-term care facilities

Asked whether any of those New Jerseyans living in long-term care facilities could have developed herd immunity to COVID-19 through the course of their exposure to the virus, state epidemiologist Christina Tan offered some reasons why making such an estimation is challenging.

LTCs are full of older populations “who might have weaker immune systems” and “might have waning immunity over time,” Tan said.

Patients may be short-term residents, and are often attended by staffers who frequent multiple sites during the course of their work.

“Even if there is a bit of short-term immunity from infection, we don’t know about long-term,” Tan said. “It still doesn’t take the place of taking all the precautions we’ve been taking this entire time.”

NJ extends paperwork renewals amid long lines at newly reopened DMV facilities

Expressing frustration with reports of mass congregation outside of state motor vehicle agencies as they reopened this week, Murphy announced an extension of deadlines to renew documents that may have lapsed during the pandemic, when Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices were closed.

The deadline to renew licenses, registrations, inspection stickers, and temporary tags that expired between March 13 and May 31 has been extended to September 30. Documentation that expires between June 1 and August 31 has been extended to December 31. The extensions are automatically enacted by the state.

The governor urged residents to check online before visiting a physical DMV office to see if they can complete their transactions online instead of in-person, and asked that people avoid camping out overnight to secure a place in line. Vehicle Centers and Licensing Centers will be closed Saturday, July 11, and will return to regular operating hours Monday, July 13.

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

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