What to Know
- Gov. Phil Murphy says the rate of transmission of COVID-19 in New Jersey has exceeded 1.0 for the first time in weeks.
- The governor said Monday in his daily news conference that there were several outbreaks across the state that officials found to be directly tied to travel to other hot spots.
- New Jersey Transit on Monday resumed full rail and light rail service after a break because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
New Jersey Transit on Monday resumed full rail and light rail service after a break because of the coronavirus outbreak. But, the ramping up of rail service came as one of the state's key COVID-19 indicators hit a weekslong high.
The rate of transmission – the rate at which COVID-19 is spread from one person to another – on July 4 was above 1 for the first time in weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.
That’s the average number of people infected by each infectious person, the first-term Democrat noted.
Murphy noted that with slowly reopening the economy, the state took on risk of coronavirus spread. He also noted a recent Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, wedding and other visits by New Jerseyans to virus hot spots fueling COVID-19's spread.
Visitors to New Jersey from South Carolina and 15 other states were asked last month to self-quarantine for two weeks.
"We need to be smarter and work harder," Murphy said while urging people who have traveled to virus hot spots to self quarantine for 14 days to prevent further spread.
Despite the alarming increase in transmission rate, New Jersey is seeing other numbers like spot positivity and hospitalizations continue to be lower.
Murphy noted that people should be covering their faces, even on hot days. "COVID-19 doesn’t care about the weather – it only cares about finding another person to infect."
But, he has yet to mandate face coverings outdoors, only requiring masks inside public places. Murphy urged people to "mask up" no matter where they are in public, recommending masks even outdoors.
"This isn’t about you," he said. "It isn’t about politics. It isn’t about how you think you look in a mask. This is about public health and saving lives. It’s about us being able to continue down our road back as one New Jersey family."
There have been nearly 174,000 positive cases in New Jersey, with a confirmed death toll of 13,373, with 20 new deaths from coronavirus-related complications on Monday. There are 1,854 other fatalities that officials say likely stemmed from COVID-19.
On Monday youth day camps, in-person summer school and school graduation ceremonies, capped at 500 people and required to be outside, resumed.
Murphy had earlier announced the reopenings as part of Stage 2, of three. Before the Fourth of July holiday, nearly a dozen different sectors reopened, though with limited capacity. They include: amusement parks, aquariums, boardwalk arcades, bowling alleys, casinos, libraries and museums.
Rail riders and NJ Transit workers must wear masks under the governor's reopening mandate.
With the primary election set for Tuesday, Murphy urged anyone not feeling well who planned to vote in person, rather than mail, to stay home and contact their county clerk to vote by mail.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.
Murphy, who has been holding daily virus news conferences Monday through Friday since mid-March said that starting this week, they will only be held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.