Coronavirus Update: 696,000 Infections, 20,861 Related Deaths; NJ to Expand Community Vax Program to Five More Cities


The second round of the federally backed, equity-based vaccine rollout will come to Camden City, Jersey City, Newark, Orange, and Pleasantville in the next two weeks.

By Matt Skoufalos | February 26, 2020

NJDOH COVID-19 Dashboard – 2-26-21. Credit: NJDOH.

Another 3,149 New Jersey residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the statewide total to 696,000 cases confirmed via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, Governor Phil Murphy reported Friday.

New Jersey is also reporting 1,007 new COVID-probable cases based on antigen tests, bringing the statewide total to 86,833 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, 46 more residents have perished from complications related to the virus, bringing the statewide, confirmed death toll to 20,861 lives lost during the pandemic.

In addition to those lab-confirmed fatalities, the state has acknowledged another 2,331 probable COVID-19-related deaths.

Since March 2020, 722 of every 100,000 New Jersey residents have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and 237 of every 100,000 have died from COVID-19-related complications.

More than 10.24 million polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 have been performed statewide, with a 7.88-percent positivity rate per 100,000 residents.

Rate of transmission (Rt) at 0.89, spot positivity lowest in South Jersey

The statewide average of COVID-19 spot positivity testing based on PCR test results stood at 6.53 percent February 22; in South Jersey, it was lowest, at 4.96 percent.

Rt, the variable that describes the seven-day, rolling-average, statewide rate of transmission of new COVID-19 cases, hit 0.89 from samples taken February 25.

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 continue to trend downward

Throughout New Jersey, 2,008 people currently are hospitalized with a suspected (158) or confirmed (1,850) case of COVID-19, Murphy said.

Among those hospitalized patients, 439 are in intensive or critical care, and 270 of the ICU and critical-care patients (61 percent) are on ventilators.

In New Jersey’s 71 critical care hospitals, 255 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 yesterday, while 264 others were discharged.

Across the state, long-term care (LTC) centers have reported 1,263 cumulative outbreaks of COVID-19, and 342 are dealing with an active outbreak. LTCs account for 53,207 infected patients and staff in New Jersey, or 7.6 percent of total cases.

That includes 32,230 residents and 20,977 staffers sickened by the virus, as well as 7,906 lab-confirmed resident and staff deaths (38 percent of the statewide confirmed total), with facilities self-reporting 143 staff deaths.

Of 656 veterans residing in three state-run homes, 439 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 155 have died from complications related to the virus.

Eight veterans presently are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 295 have recovered from the virus.

MISC cases and schools

At state-run psychiatric facilities, 332 of 1,151 patients and 935 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Fourteen patients and eight staffers have died from complications related to the virus.

To date, 105 New Jersey children aged 1 to 18 have been diagnosed with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MISC), according to New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli—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, and one currently is.

Since August 1, 152 COVID-19 outbreaks encompassing 737 individual cases have been traced to schools in 19 New Jersey counties. In Camden County, 14 outbreaks have been linked to 70 cases, second-most in the state.

COVID-19 vaccine bottle mock-up. Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

Vaccination update

Across New Jersey overall, 1.89 million vaccinations have been administered to date: 1.262 million first doses, and 636,947 second doses.

Of those, 100,013 have been administered in Camden County, seventh-most in the state.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing emergency authorization of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

If the agency should approve the use of the vaccine, New Jersey could expect an additional shipment of 70,000 doses next week, Murphy said, calling the potential of a third vaccine “a game-changer.”

NJ to roll out second round of equity-based community vaccination partnership

The second phase of New Jersey’s federally backed, community-based vaccination partnership, which seeks to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines in underserved communities throughout the state, will hit another five cities in the coming weeks.

The program, which began its roll-out in Elizabeth, Paterson, Somerset, Trenton, and Vineland, will soon visit Camden City, Jersey City, Newark, Orange, and Pleasantville. In all, it should vaccinate more than 34,000 New Jersey residents.

The sites are supported by staffers from the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and Office of Emergency Management (OEM), as well as the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), in conjunction with community leaders from faith-based, nonprofit, and other local organizations.

The cities were chosen for the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 there, as well as being “some of the most diverse and socio-economically challenged communities in the state,” the governor’s office said in a written memo Friday.

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

Please support NJ Pen with a subscription. Get e-mails, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, or try our Direct Dispatch text alerts.


Comments are closed.