With coronavirus and influenza expected to converge this fall, New Jersey health officials are urging everyone get the flu vaccine to lessen the chance of straining the health care system.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said at Wednesday's coronavirus news briefing that New Jersey is getting a large supply of flu vaccines this season in an attempt to lessen the chance of people needing hospitalization with flu-like symptoms as coronavirus continues to sicken people.
The state normally gets just under 50% of people vaccinated for flu, Persichilli said. She is hoping that number goes up this flu season to lessen the blow to health care systems in the state.
“As bad as COVID-19 is there is other stuff we have to deal with,” Gov. Phil Murphy said about flu and other issues.
Persichilli noted that all health-care workers and children attending day care and preschool need to get a flu shot each season.
Persichilli said that people getting flu vaccines should try to do so in early fall, but that the vaccine is still helpful into early 2021.
Murphy on Wednesday revealed new totals of cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19. As of Wednesday, New Jersey reported more than 188,000 COVID-19 cases with at least 14,097 confirmed deaths. Eleven new confirmed deaths were announced Wednesday.
There have been an additional 1,800-plus deaths suspected to be related to coronavirus.
In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases and deaths attributed to the virus have remained mostly steady at levels far below the state’s peak in the spring. But, with a rate of transmission around 1, the virus is still spreading more than Murphy would like.
The first-term Democrat has slowed reopenings in his state as COVID-19 cases have leveled off. As of Wednesday the Rt, which measures the number of people infected by an infectious person, was at 1.06.
Indoor businesses like gyms and indoor dining remain closed due to transmission concerns.