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July 06, 2020

New Jersey's COVID-19 transmission rate jumps to highest level since April

As officials consider making masks mandatory, Gov. Murphy says state will slow down reopening until this trend reverses

Illness Coronavirus
New Jersey COVID-19 transmission rate Edwin J. Torres/New Jersey Office of the Governor

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says the COVID-19 transmission rate will decline if residents wear face masks, quarantine for 14 days after traveling to disease hotspots and get tested for the virus.

For the first time in 10 weeks, the rate of COVID-19 transmission in New Jersey has exceeded 1.0 — meaning that every new coronavirus case in the state is leading more than one additional infection.

The rate the virus is spreading from person to person now stands at 1.03, which Gov. Phil Murphy said is an early warning sign that residents need to do more to mitigate new cases. 

New Jersey officials said the spike can be attributed to travelers coming from COVID-19 hotspots across the country.

The COVID-19 transmission rate will decline if residents wear face coverings, quarantine for 14 days after traveling to hotspots for the disease and get tested for the virus.

"One selfish person can undo the hard work of everyone else," Murphy said Monday. "I do not want to have to hit another pause on our restart because a small number of New Jerseyans are being irresponsible and spreading COVID-19 while the rest of us continue to work hard to stop it."

New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, implemented travel advisories last month to strongly encourage people coming from a COVID-19 hotspots to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival to the region. 

The travel advisory applies to those coming from states where the COVID-19 transmission rate either exceeds 10 infections per 100,000 residents over during the seven-day rolling average or more than 10% of the state's total population tests positive over a seven-day rolling average.

Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Washington currently fall into one or both of those designations

New Jersey, New York and Connecticut residents who travel to impacted states also are expected to self-quarantine for two weeks upon returning home.

Face coverings are required to be worn in all public indoor places that have reopened in New Jersey, and masks are strongly encouraged to be worn outdoors — especially when social distancing is difficult.

Murphy admitted Monday the state is considering mandating that people wear face masks in all public spaces that have reopened, with or without social distancing.

Murphy also advised residents that they should not expect any other activities or businesses resume operations until the rate of COVID-19 transmission declines.

New Jersey reported 216 more positive coronavirus cases on Monday, increasing the statewide total number of cases to 173,611. The lab-confirmed statewide death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 13,373 after the state recorded 20 new fatalities.

South Jersey has had 22,924 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,536 lab-confirmed deaths due to COVID-19.

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