What to Know
- New Jersey added 1,301 new positive coronavirus cases overnight — the highest daily level since late May — Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday.
- The biggest increases are in Ocean and Monmouth counties, the Democratic governor said during a news conference.
- The uptick in cases and hospitalizations could mean a return outbreak. “We are anticipating a second wave, and we are preparing based on our prior experiences," Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. ”This wave has a potential to become a surge."
As Ocean and Monmouth counties deal with a recent surge in coronavirus cases, New Jersey reported its highest daily total of daily COVID-19 cases in months.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced 1,301 new COVID-19 cases at his coronavirus news briefing Thursday to bring the statewide total of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began to more than 211,000.
"When we get 1,301 cases in one day, we know we are still in the fight," Murphy said while calling out people, like President Donald Trump, who say to not fear the virus.
Of the 1,300 new cases, more than 21% came from Ocean County with almost 10% from Monmouth County, Murphy said.
Over the past couple of weeks, New Jersey health officials have focused on Ocean and Monmouth counties as cases have jumped in those communities. Murphy even held a roundtable with local and religious leaders in Ocean County on Friday.
Lakewood, in Ocean County, has seen its cases go up around the Jewish high holidays, officials said.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said of the 285 new cases in Ocean County, 206 are in Lakewood and mostly among men up to 49 years old.
The state has ramped up testing in the Lakewood area -- administering more than 1,000 tests on Wednesday alone -- and contact tracing as they look to slow the virus' spread.
Other instances of community spread are believed to have occurred as well in that community and others. Persichilli said that college-aged people in Monmouth and Middlesex counties have also seen an uptick in recent cases.
Murphy also announced another 11 deaths Thursday to bring the confirmed statewide total of deaths attributed to coronavirus to at least 14,373. Another nearly 1,800 deaths are suspected to be due to coronavirus.
Murphy reminded people that despite what they may hear from others that the coronavirus is far more deadly than flu.
"The number of New Jerseyans who have died from COVID-19 in just seven months is nearly 11 times the total number of residents who died from flu-related complications in the entire 2018-2019 flu season," Murphy said.
Murphy and Persichilli urged people to continue to socially distance from each other, wear masks in public and properly wash their hands as cold weather sets in and more people move indoors.
“We are anticipating a second wave, and we are preparing based on our prior experiences," Persichilli said. ”This wave has a potential to become a surge."
The state has stockpiled personal protective equipment, ventilators and the therapeutic drug remdesivir. She said the biggest concern will be health care staffing because other states sent health workers in March and April, but those people are confronting the outbreak in their on states now.
She didn't give a time frame for when the wave could hit.
Hospitalizations are already trending up with the highest daily total of people requiring treatment since early August.
Health officials urged people to keep up with mitigation efforts calling the recent increases "concerning," but also something that models have shown could happen.
"Let’s have a surge in due diligence to prevent a surge in COVID-19," Murphy said. "Let’s keep up the fight. Let’s keep using our commonsense for the common good."