N.J. reports 1,608 COVID cases, 20 deaths. Transmission rate remains below key benchmark. – NJ.com

New Jersey on Wednesday reported another 1,608 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 20 more confirmed deaths a day while the statewide rate of transmission remained below the key benchmark indicating that the outbreak is not expanding for a second day.

The seven-day average for confirmed positive tests dropped to 1,730, down 10% from a week ago, but up 2% from a month ago. The seven-day average for new confirmed cases fell below 1,800 on Sunday for the first time since Sept. 11.

New Jersey’s statewide rate of transmission dropped to 0.97, from 0.99 Wednesday. Any rate of transmission rate over 1 indicates that each new case is leading to more than one additional case and shows the state’s outbreak is expanding.

There were 1,060 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases as of Tuesday night, according to state data. That’s down by 18 patients from the previous night. The number has also mostly leveled out over the past month with only slight increases and decreases over the weeks. There were 112 patients discharged in the 24 hours leading up to Tuesday night.

Of those hospitalized, 233 were in intensive care (seven more than the night before), with 126 on ventilators (seven more).

The delta variant continues to dominate cases in New Jersey with nearly all of sampled cases in the four weeks ending Sept 11.

School districts in the state have reported at least 39 in-school outbreaks for a total of 219 cases, more than double the cases reported a week ago, according to the state’s dashboard. The positive tests include 37 for educators and other school staff and 182 for students.

In-school outbreaks are defined as three or more cases that are determined through contact tracing to have been transmitted between staff or students while at school. They do not include total cases among staff and students. For example, Toms River schools have had more than 218 students and 33 teachers test positive since the start of the school year, but the state does not list any outbreaks or cases in Ocean County.

The positivity rate for tests conducted on Thursday, the most recent day available, was 4.67%.

More than 5.8 million people who live, work or study in New Jersey have been fully vaccinated as of Thursday. More than 6.35 million people have received at least one dose, and 129,000 people have received third-doses or boosters of the Pfizer vaccine.

All of New Jersey’s 21 counties continue to be listed as having “high” rates of coronavirus transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is recommending people in all 21 counties wear masks for indoor public settings regardless of the state’s vaccination rates.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

New Jersey has now reported 27,400 total COVID-19 deaths in 18 months — 24,613 confirmed and 2,787 considered probable, according to the state dashboard. The probable deaths, which are revised weekly, increased Monday by 14 fatalities.

New Jersey has the second most coronavirus deaths per capita in the U.S. The state had long topped the list of most COVID-19 deaths per capita but was recently eclipsed by Mississippi.

At least 8,543 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data.

There are active outbreaks at 151 facilities, resulting in 641 current cases among residents and 537 among staffers.

In all, the state of 9.2 million residents has reported 1,001,635 total confirmed cases out of the 15.5 million PCR tests conducted since it announced its first case on March 4, 2020. The state has also reported 150,608 positive antigen tests, which are considered probable cases.

As of Wednesday, there have been more than 232.9 million positive COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University, with more than 4.76 million people having died due to the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 43.2 million) and deaths (more than 693,200) than any other nation.

More than 6.17 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally.

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Matt Arco may be reached at marco@njadvancemedia.com.

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