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October 11, 2020

COVID-19 cases on the rise across New Jersey as state warns against second wave

Religious celebrations, informal gatherings are likely causes of recent uptick in infections, officials said

Prevention Coronavirus
new jersey covid-19 infections Edwin J. Torres/New Jersey Office of the Governor

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is urging residents to continue complying with the state's guidelines as the COVID-19 pandemic enters its eighth month.

New Jersey recorded over 1,300 new coronavirus infections on Thursday, the highest daily amount that the state has reported since May.

As of Thursday, more than 650 new patients were admitted to the hospital because of the virus, the highest number that the state has recorded since August.

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the state isn’t a blip on the radar; New Jersey is reporting some of the highest daily numbers it has seen since earlier in the pandemic.

The state reported over 900 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, pushing the statewide total to 212,877. New Jersey has had 14,383 lab-confirmed deaths due to COVID-19.

The main driver of the recent uptick in infections has been tied to Ocean County, state officials say, where there has been an increased spread of the virus among the county’s significant Orthodox Jewish population at religious celebrations and gatherings.

Of the over 1,300 new coronavirus cases that the state reported on Thursday, 285 stemmed from Ocean County. On Saturday, an additional 129 positive COVID-19 cases were recorded in the county.

However, the state is also seeing a surge in cases among adolescents and young adults who are experiencing mild or moderate symptoms. 

Officials said that they are monitoring increases among college-aged students, specifically in Monmouth and Middlesex counties where informal gatherings are taking place. The two counties reported a total of 179 new coronavirus infections on Saturday.

While the state is not concerned about indoor dining or in-person instruction, limits on indoor gatherings could be further tightened to prevent a second wave of the virus, Gov. Phil Murphy said. 

The indoor gatherings limit is currently set at a maximum of 25 people or 25% of a room’s capacity — whichever number is lower. 

Events such as weddings, funerals and memorial services, as well as religious and political activities, are exempt from the capacity limit. 

In the meantime, the state is working with local health departments and other community officials in all three counties to expand COVID-19 testing availability and contact tracing efforts.

In order to prevent a further resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic to levels last seen in the spring, state officials are urging residents to continue wearing face masks, practicing social distancing, washing hands, staying home when not feeling well, quarantining if exposed to someone with the virus, and getting tested.

“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.”

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