Coronavirus Update: 572,306 Infections, 18,421 Related Deaths; NJ Continues to Wait for Vaccine Doses


After the state expanded eligibility for the vaccine last week, more than 1.2 million residents pre-registered for their inoculations. But even with the opening of mega-sites, hold-ups at the federal level have left long waits.

By Matt Skoufalos | January 19, 2021

NJDOH COVID-19 Dashboard – 1-19-21. Credit: NJDOH.

Another 3,761 New Jersey residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the statewide total to 572,306 cases confirmed via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, Governor Phil Murphy reported Tuesday.

New Jersey is also reporting 1,039 new COVID-probable cases based on antigen tests, bringing the statewide total to 63,396 positive antigen tests.

Antigen tests have a faster turnaround time than PCR tests—sometime within 15 to 30 minutes—but are less reliable at detecting active infection of the virus and more capable of reporting false positives.

Sadly, 54 more residents have perished from complications related to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 18,421 lives lost during the pandemic.

In addition to those lab-confirmed fatalities, the state has acknowledged another 2,091 probable COVID-19-related deaths.

Since March, 621 of every 100,000 New Jersey residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 209 of every 100,000 have died from COVID-19-related complications.

More than 8.8 million polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 have been performed statewide, with a 6.47-percent positivity rate per 100,000 residents.

Rate of transmission (Rt) at 1.11, spot positivity slightly higher in South Jersey

The statewide average of COVID-19 spot positivity testing based on PCR test results stood at 10.12 percent January 19 ; in South Jersey, it was slightly higher, at 10.79 percent.

Rt, the variable that describes the seven-day, rolling-average, statewide rate of transmission of new COVID-19 cases, hit 1.11 from samples taken January 17.

An Rt figure greater than 1.0 means that each new COVID-19 patient is infecting more than one other person, on average, and the spread of the virus is increasing.

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.

Simulated COVID-19 patient in a hospital bed. Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Hospitalizations flat at mid 3,500s, LTC cases continue to climb

Throughout New Jersey, 3,506 people currently are hospitalized with a suspected (219) or confirmed (3,287) case of COVID-19, Murphy said.

Among those hospitalized patients, 643 are in intensive or critical care, and 429 of the ICU and critical-care patients (67 percent) are on ventilators.

In New Jersey’s 71 critical care hospitals, 347 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 yesterday, while 240 others were discharged.

Across the state, long-term care (LTC) centers have reported 1,204 cumulative outbreaks of COVID-19, and 431 are dealing with an active outbreak. LTCs account for 52,341 infected patients and staff in New Jersey, or nine percent of total cases.

That includes 31,588 residents and 20,753 staffers sickened by the virus, as well as 7,668 lab-confirmed resident and staff deaths (42 percent of the statewide confirmed total), with facilities self-reporting 142 staff deaths.

Of 656 veterans residing in three state-run homes, 434 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 155 have died from complications related to the virus — one more than previously reported, according to New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

Five veterans presently are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 283 have recovered from the virus.

At state-run psychiatric facilities, 325 of 1,142 patients and 868 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Fourteen patients and seven staffers have died from complications related to the virus.

NJ Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli – COVID-19 Briefing 1-19-21. Credit: NJ Pen.

To date, 76 New Jersey children aged 1 to 18 have been diagnosed with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, Persichilli said—one more than previously reported.

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.

Since August 1, 121 COVID-19 outbreaks encompassing 597 individual cases have been traced to schools in 19 New Jersey counties. In Camden County, 13 outbreaks have been linked to 66 cases, second-most in the state.

Across New Jersey overall, 388,160 vaccinations have been administered to date; 343,957 first doses, and 43,969 second doses. Of those, 22,383 have been administered in Camden County.

To date, 1,262 vaccine clinics have been scheduled for residents and staff at LTC centers throughout the state, Persichilli said.

Gov. Phil Murphy – COVID-19 Briefing – 1-19-21. Credit: NJ Pen.

Residents flock to vaccine registration, still waiting for doses to arrive

Access to a number of vaccine doses sufficient to meet statewide demand remains the biggest issue delaying more widespread inoculation, officials said.

At the end of December, New Jersey received 18 percent less than its anticipated dose allocation, but is only down 1.5 percent from its planned allocation in January, Persichilli said.

The state has received 55,575 Pfizer and 56,100 Moderna doses thus far this year.

If a new vaccine formulation from Johnson and Johnson receives approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “that’s a game-changer,” Murphy said, noting that the potential for a third, viable vaccine is “only additive to any amount of optimism.

“I still believe we’re in a dramatically different and better place by Memorial Day,” the governor said.

For those residents looking to schedule a vaccine appointment over the phone, the New Jersey Department of Health has established a bilingual, “interactive voice platform,” at 855-568-0545, Persichilli said.

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

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