N.J. coronavirus update: State now ranks 3rd in U.S. for hospitalizations

The Garden State ranks third in the nation for hospitalizations per capita and seventh nationwide for COVID-19 deaths per capita, officials said Wednesday.

Miriam Palomino, right, receives the COVID-19 vaccine in Paterson

Miriam Palomino, right, received the COVID-19 vaccine in Paterson, N.J., Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Updated 5:23 p.m.

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New Jersey reported another 3,578 new positive PCR tests Wednesday as well as 1,067 new positive antigen tests. The state has now recorded 937,979 positive COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

The positivity rate for all PCR tests recorded on Saturday was 12.37%. The statewide rate of transmission was 1.04.

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As of Tuesday night, there were 2,375 coronavirus patients in New Jersey hospitals, including 455 patients in critical care and 249 requiring ventilators. Hospitals discharged 338 live patients.

New Jersey also reported another 45 deaths from complications of COVID-19. Since the pandemic began, the state has now recorded 22,176 lab-confirmed fatalities and another 2,573 probable deaths.

‘Unrelenting’ virus makes N.J. another hotspot

The Garden State ranks third in the nation for hospitalizations per capita and seventh nationwide for COVID-19 deaths per capita, officials said Wednesday.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli reminded residents that even though the state is vaccinating thousands of people per day, the virus has not been eradicated.

“Despite the increasing number of vaccinations, we must remain vigilant,” Persichill said. “The statistics demonstrate that this virus is unrelenting, and we are still in the midst of this battle.”

State statistical projections shown during a Wednesday press conference predicted a peak in new cases on April 18 in a best or moderate scenario. In a worst case, New Jersey could see more than 8,000 cases per day by mid-May.

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Health officials said people could change the projections by adhering to public health measures, but they also suggested cases could decline slowly after the next peak, which means the numbers could remain high for a while.

Gov. Phil Murphy said that was why New Jersey continues to enforce its statewide mask mandate.

“It is also a reason why we moved up our vaccine eligibility time frame aggressively, so we can now have more people into the ranks of the fully vaccinated in a shorter amount of time,” he added.

Starting April 19, anyone over 16 who lives, works, or studies in New Jersey will be able to make a vaccine appointment.

New Jersey has fully vaccinated about 40% of the 4.7 million people it hopes to inoculate against COVID-19 to reach herd immunity.

Persichilli also said the state’s hospitals are seeing more young people with COVID-19 requiring medical care, a change from earlier in the pandemic.

Murphy scheduled for vaccine shot

Gov. Murphy and his wife Tammy are scheduled to get their coronavirus vaccines this week.

The Democrat said the pair went online and secured appointments at the Atlantic County megasite for this Friday.

“We were already planning on being there to complete our circuit of visiting all six vaccination mega sites, and we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to showcase a terrific location,” Murphy said.

He did not say which vaccine he and the First Lady would receive.

Murphy added that the megasite at the Atlantic City convention center had available appointments now and for next week, and he encouraged eligible people to apply.

But he added that the opportunity may be fleeting, as the state expects a decline in Johson and Johnson vaccine supply in the coming weeks.

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