“This is not a speech about the closure of the country”
The number of Covid-19 cases in New Jersey is rising, but hospitals are staying within their capacity, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Monday.
“We are now seeing the number of daily cases rise to levels we have not seen since mid-January of this year,” said Murphy, a figure echoed by Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, who said the Sunday’s 6,533 positive PCR tests marked the highest day. positive tests since January 2021.
The statewide percentage of positivity is 12.11%.
Yet, the governor said, hospitalizations are not increasing at the same rate.
“We continue to stay at hospitalization levels which are only a fraction of what they were at this time last year, even as the number of recent cases is increasing at such a rate,” Murphy said .
“This is only possible because vaccines prevent even people who have a case of breakthrough infection from developing serious illness linked to Covid,” he added.
The state reports 1,902 people currently hospitalized with the virus. Hospitalizations peaked at the start of the pandemic with 8,270 hospitalizations reported in April 2020.
“We’re a long way from where we were,” Murphy said.
According to state data, 73% of eligible New Jersey residents have received a full first round of immunization, and 40% of those who can get a boost.
There has been a slight increase in transmission of Covid-19 at school, Murphy said, with 47 outbreaks linked to transmission at school during the week of December 6 – the most recent data available – against 15 epidemics three weeks previously.
Murphy said that despite the increase, “these cases are still somewhat rare.”
To that end, Murphy lent his support when asked about a so-called test-and-stay program for students at New Jersey schools. He and Persichilli said they are preparing a pilot program for such a policy, in which students known to be in close contact with people who are Covid-positive can take frequent Covid-19 tests instead of quarantine.