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N.J. reports 64 more COVID deaths, 2,679 cases. ‘Many’ vaccinations to be rescheduled due to shipment delays, Murphy says.

New Jersey on Friday reported another 2,679 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 64 additional deaths, while Gov. Phil Murphy warned residents that nationwide shipping delays due to winter weather will cause “many” vaccination appointments to be rescheduled.

The Garden State has administered 1,559,569 vaccine doses as of Friday morning, including 1,102,687 first doses and 456,045 second doses, officials said. That’s out of 1.79 million doses the state has received, according to a running tally by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

But three of New Jersey’s mega-sites were forced to close and two others shut down early on Thursday as another winter storm hit the state with up 10 inches of snow.

Meanwhile, Murphy said planes at major hubs for both FedEx and UPS were grounded this week because of winter storms, causing delays of coronavirus vaccine shipments. About 230,000 doses New Jersey was expected to receive Monday — including both first and second doses — have not yet arrived, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.

“We are working with all of our vaccinators for them to use existing inventory to satisfy their current appointments,” Murphy said during his latest COVID-19 briefing in Trenton. “However, we are keenly aware that not all sites have the inventory on-hand to be able to do this, and this will result in many appointments needing to be rescheduled.”

Murphy said the state has told vaccination sites to “prepare to ramp up operations and extend hours” to make up for the delay.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the state expects some first Pfizer doses to arrive at mega-sites Saturday.

New Jersey’s seven-day average for new confirmed COVID-19 positive cases is now 2,679, down 19% from a week ago and down 47% from a month ago.

The number of coronavirus patients in New Jersey’s hospitals fell for the 16th straight day, dropping to 2,202 as of Thursday night. That’s down 43% from a recent peak of 3,872 on Dec. 22 and the fewest number of patients since Nov. 15.

The latest statewide rate of transmission is 0.91 for the third consecutive day. When the rate is below 1, that indicates the state’s outbreak is slowing. The rate recently rose for six straight days after weeks of steadily declining.

The positivity rate for tests conducted on Monday, the most recent day available, was 7.58% based on 43,848 tests.

New Jersey has now reported 678,308 confirmed coronavirus cases out of more than 10.2 million PCR tests in the more than 11 months since the state reported its first case March 4, 2020. There have also been 83,192 positive antigen tests. Those cases are considered probable, and health officials have warned that positive antigen tests could overlap with the confirmed PCR tests because they are sometimes given in tandem.

The state of 9 million people has also reported 22,784 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19 — including 20,495 confirmed fatalities and 2,289 considered probable. The state has reported 1,155 confirmed coronavirus deaths in February.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

As the outbreak numbers continue to improve, Murphy said Friday that state officials are discussing possibly reopening the state further from coronavirus restrictions but repeated that uncertainty surrounding more contagious variants of the illness is holding up those plans.

“What we don’t want to do is lurch forward and have to pull back,” the governor said. “We’ve not done that and we don’t want to start doing that now, so we’ve got to keep an eye on those variants.”

Only one COVID-19 variant has been discovered in New Jersey — the one that emerged in the United Kingdom, officials have said. So far, the state has recorded 50 cases of that variant.

Health officials say vaccines appear to be effective against the variant, but the strain is more contagious than the typical coronavirus strain.

Persichilli said vaccination appointments in New Jersey remain scarce because of federal supply, which she stressed is “a national problem.”

But she said the state expects to “keep seeing increases” in supply from the federal government.

“I ask for your continued patience until we receive increased supply from the federal government,” Persichilli added.

VACCINATIONS BY COUNTY

  • ATLANTIC COUNTY – 49,369 doses administered
  • BERGEN COUNTY – 175,879 doses administered
  • BURLINGTON COUNTY – 80,302 doses administered
  • CAMDEN COUNTY – 90,624 doses administered
  • CAPE MAY COUNTY – 22,816 doses administered
  • CUMBERLAND COUNTY – 22,282 doses administered
  • ESSEX COUNTY – 128,947 doses administered
  • GLOUCESTER COUNTY – 55,336 doses administered
  • HUDSON COUNTY – 71,093 doses administered
  • HUNTERDON COUNTY – 20,528 doses administered
  • MERCER COUNTY – 42,956 doses administered
  • MIDDLESEX COUNTY – 119,630 doses administered
  • MONMOUTH COUNTY – 117,360 doses administered
  • MORRIS COUNTY – 113,805 doses administered
  • OCEAN COUNTY – 92,391 doses administered
  • PASSAIC COUNTY – 71,168 doses administered
  • SALEM COUNTY – 9,893 doses administered
  • SOMERSET COUNTY – 59,623 doses administered
  • SUSSEX COUNTY – 24,064 doses administered
  • UNION COUNTY – 76,107 doses administered
  • WARREN COUNTY – 14,552 doses administered
  • UNKNOWN COUNTY – 51,760 doses administered
  • OUT OF STATE – 49,084 doses administered

COUNTY-BY-COUNTY NUMBERS (sorted by most new cases)

  • Middlesex County: 65,532 confirmed cases (293 new), 1,833 confirmed deaths (224 probable)
  • Bergen County: 66,074 confirmed cases (276 new), 2,303 confirmed deaths (280 probable)
  • Hudson County: 61,386 confirmed cases (267 new), 1,788 confirmed deaths (177 probable)
  • Monmouth County: 49,454 confirmed cases (250 new), 1,252 confirmed deaths (118 probable)
  • Essex County: 65,234 confirmed cases (235 new), 2,368 confirmed deaths (266 probable)
  • Ocean County: 50,020 confirmed cases (229 new), 1,691 confirmed deaths (115 probable)
  • Union County: 47,596 confirmed cases (198 new), 1,536 confirmed deaths (196 probable)
  • Passaic County: 50,849 confirmed cases (195 new), 1,491 confirmed deaths (169 probable)
  • Morris County: 30,787 confirmed cases (149 new), 878 confirmed deaths (225 probable)
  • Camden County: 38,484 confirmed cases (99 new), 1,032 confirmed deaths (79 probable)
  • Somerset County: 17,959 confirmed cases (74 new), 675 confirmed deaths (102 probable)
  • Mercer County: 25,461 confirmed cases (72 new), 821 confirmed deaths (39 probable)
  • Atlantic County: 19,058 confirmed cases (70 new), 523 confirmed deaths (26 probable)
  • Burlington County: 29,988 confirmed cases (62 new), 675 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
  • Gloucester County: 20,501 confirmed cases (52 new), 502 confirmed deaths (26 probable)
  • Sussex County: 7,661 confirmed cases (46 new), 206 confirmed deaths (62 probable)
  • Cumberland County: 11,742 confirmed cases (44 new), 328 confirmed deaths (21 probable)
  • Hunterdon County: 6,005 confirmed cases (24 new), 102 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
  • Warren County: 6,051 confirmed cases (21 new), 192 confirmed deaths (19 probable)
  • Cape May County: 3,536 confirmed cases (11 new), 150 confirmed deaths (26 probable)
  • Salem County: 4,121 confirmed cases (3 new), 149 confirmed deaths (11 probable)

HOSPITALIZATIONS

There were 2,202 patients hospitalized with confirmed (2,028) or suspected (174) COVID-19 cases across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals as of Thursday night — 125 fewer than the previous night.

That included 443 in critical or intensive care (31 fewer than the previous night), with 300 on ventilators (six fewer).

There were also 323 COVID-19 patients discharged Thursday, while 216 new patients were admitted, according to the state’s dashboard.

SCHOOL CASES

New Jersey has reported 144 in-school coronavirus outbreaks, which have resulted in 686 cases among students, teachers, and school staff this academic year, according to the state’s dashboard.

Outbreaks — defined as cases in which people were confirmed to have caught or transmitted the virus in the classroom or during academic activities — have been reported in all 21 counties, according to the state’s dashboard.

Those numbers do not include students or staff believed to have been infected outside school or cases that can’t be confirmed as in-school outbreaks. Though the numbers keep rising every week, Murphy has said the school outbreak statistics remain below what state officials were expecting when schools reopened for in-person classes.

New Jersey defines school outbreaks as cases where contact tracers determined two or more students or school staff caught or transmitted COVID-19 in the classroom or during academic activities at school.

There are about 1.4 million students and teachers across the state, though teaching methods amid the outbreak have varied, some are in-person, some are hybrid and others are all-remote.

AGE BREAKDOWN

Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have caught the virus (31%), followed by those 50-64 (23.4%), 18-29 (19.4%), 65-79 (11%), 5-17 (8.2%), 80 and older (5.1%), and 0-4 (1.7%).

On average, the virus has been more deadly for older residents, especially those with preexisting conditions. Nearly half the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents 80 and older (47.36%), followed by those 65-79 (32.7%), 50-64 (15.55%), 30-49 (4.02%), 18-29 (0.36%), 5-17 (0%), and 0-4 (0.02%).

At least 7,873 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

There are currently active outbreaks at 379 facilities, resulting in 6,899 active cases among residents and 7,021 among staffers.

GLOBAL NUMBERS

As of early Friday afternoon, there have been 110 million positive COVID-19 tests across the world, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 2.4 million people have died from coronavirus-related complications.

The U.S. has reported the most cases, at more than 27.9 million, and the most deaths, at more than 493,500.

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Brent Johnson may be reached at [email protected].

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