Plus: of 545 school district reopening plans already approved by the state Department of Education, 60 percent are hybrid models.
By Matt Skoufalos | September 2, 2020
Another 352 New Jersey residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the statewide total to 192,595 cases, Governor Phil Murphy reported Wednesday.
Sadly, eleven more residents have perished from complications related to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 14,181 lives lost during the pandemic.
In addition to those lab-confirmed fatalities, the state has acknowledged another 1,783 probable COVID-19-related deaths, three more since previously reported.
Rate of transmission (Rt) up to 0.96, spot positivity highest in South Jersey
The statewide average of COVID-19 spot positivity testing stood at 2.14 percent August 29. It’s highest in South Jersey, at 2.74 percent.
Rt, the variable that describes the seven-day, rolling-average rate of transmission of new COVID-19 cases, hit 0.96 from samples taken August 31. That marks a steady, weeklong increase from the 0.80 figure reported August 24.
An Rt figure less than 1.0 means that each new COVID-19 patient is infecting less than one other person, on average, and the spread of the virus is decreasing.
Since its mid-April COVID-19 spike, the highest reported RT in New Jersey was 1.48, recorded August 1. The lowest was 0.62, recorded June 9.
Long-term care accounts for half of all deaths, a fifth of those infected
Throughout New Jersey, 514 people currently are hospitalized with a case of COVID-19: 270 have tested positive for COVID-19, and 244 are awaiting confirmation of their symptoms.
Among those hospitalized patients, 99 are in intensive or critical care, and 29 of the ICU and critical-care patients (30 percent) are on ventilators.
Across the state, 656 long-term care (LTC) centers have reported at least one case of COVID-19, and 156 are dealing with an active outbreak. LTCs account for 38,277 infected patients and staff in New Jersey, or 20 percent of total cases.
That includes 24,939 residents and 13,338 staffers sickened by the virus, as well as 7,092 lab-confirmed resident deaths (50 percent of the statewide total) and 121 facility-reported staff deaths.
Of 656 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. Nine veterans presently are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 242 have recovered from the virus.
At state-run psychiatric facilities, 213 of 1,194 patients and 516 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Thirteen patients and seven staffers have died from complications related to the virus.
To date, 57 New Jersey children aged 1 to 18 have been diagnosed with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said, announcing a new case Wednesday.
All those pediatric patients have tested positive for an active COVID-19 infection or the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, indicating exposure to the virus. No deaths have been associated with this syndrome in New Jersey, although several children have been hospitalized during their treatment.
Fall COVID surge could cost New Jersey another $1B in spending
On the cusp of the Labor Day weekend, New Jersey’s pandemic numbers are going “sideways,” Murphy said, with Rt figures approaching the 1.0 threshold that indicates expansion of new cases, and hospitalization figures that have been steadily increasing all week.
Should there be a fall resurgence in COVID-19 cases, it could create “probably a billion-dollar revenue item, at a minimum,” the governor said.
In response, the state has budgeted a $2.239-billion surplus in its fall revision, and continues to stockpile personal protective equipment (PPE).
Those measures will hopefully get New Jersey “fortified enough to push back, if there is a second wave, successfully,” Murphy said.
“I think we’re probably as prepared as any American state, but nobody’s going to pat themselves on the back or do any celebrations,” he said.
Most schools file hybrid reopening plans with Dept. of Education
Acting New Jersey Commissioner of Education Kevin Dehmer reported Wednesday that 545 school district reopening plans have been approved by the state Department of Education thus far.
Another 221 plans are still under review, and the state hasn’t yet made a determination on 35 others.
Of those 545 approved plans:
- 328 (60 percent) will offer a hybrid of remote and in-person instruction
- 150 (28 percent) will provide fully remote instruction
- 50 (9 percent) are for full-time in-person instruction
- 17 (3 percent) reflect a combination of hybrid, remote, and/or in-person instruction plans within a single district
Finally, as testament to the effectiveness of small-group cohorting and social distancing, Persichilli reported that only four COVID-19 outbreaks occurred across 745 active summer camps in New Jersey.
Those affected included one camper and four staff individuals in total, “an amazing testament to the non-pharmaceutical interventions that were practiced in our camps,” she said.
Read our ongoing round-up of COVID-19 coverage here.
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