Editor’s Note: The title of this article has been adjusted to remove a term used by health officials to describe the number of COVID-19 cases recently reported among younger residents after some readers found the term to be misleading. 

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The latest reported totals for COVID-19 cases and deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus within the Township of Livingston came along with a breakdown of 521 cumulative cases according to age that demonstrates a spike in cases among young adults over the last two months.

The list below depicts the number of cases reported within certain age ranges between March 1 and Aug. 4, according to the Livingston Health Department.

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These numbers represent the 521 cases reported among Livingston residents up until that date rather than the total of 523 cases reported through Essex County as of Friday afternoon.

  • Ages 0-10:  8 cases
  • Ages 11-20: 11 cases
  • Ages 21-30:  44 cases
  • Ages 31-40:  46 cases
  • Ages 41-50:  76 cases
  • Ages 51-60:  98 cases
  • Ages 61-70:  77 cases
  • Ages 71-80:  50 cases
  • Ages 81-91:  74 cases
  • Ages 91-100:  37 cases

According to the Livingston Health Department, the township has nearly flattened the curve in the last two months with only 22 new cases reported between June and July. Of those 22 COVID-19 patients, however, half were under the age of 45.

Livingston Director of Health Louis Anello explained on Friday that the township is starting to see more positive cases in the younger population—mostly due to more widespread testing, but also due to an increase in gatherings during the summer months.

“The 20-to-24 age group needs to be more vigilant because it seems like that age group is the only one that’s really spiking,” said Anello. “That age 20-to-24, we’re seeing an increase in those kids congregating and socializing without proper PPE (personal protective equipment) or social distancing. That, I think, is what really has to be focused on because they’re the ones that are going to bring [the virus] back to other people like their family members and other more vulnerable people because they’re the ones that are going out and contracting it.”

As seen in the age breakdown below of the 22 Livingston residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 since June 1, nine of them (or approximately 41 percent) were between the ages of 20 and 24.

  • Ages 15-19:  1 case in June, 0 cases in July
  • Ages 20-24:  3 cases in June, 6 cases in July
  • Ages 25-34:  0 cases in June, 1 case in July
  • Ages 35-44:  1 case in June, 3 cases in July
  • Ages 45-54:  0 cases in June, 1 case in July
  • Ages 55-59:  0 cases in June, 1 case in July
  • Ages 60-64:  0 cases in June, 2 cases in July
  • Ages 65-74:  0 cases in June, 1 case in July
  • Ages 75-84:  2 cases in June, 0 cases in July
  • Ages 85 and older:  0 cases in June, 0 cases in July

Anello added that he expects all school-age populations to see an increase in cases come September if academics return in person.

“That’s the trend that we’re seeing: kids going back to school, regardless of the age, are seeing an increase in the number of cases when the social-distancing aspect isn’t there and they’re not wearing the masks,” said Anello, adding that none of these recent cases are associated with outbreak situations in any type of setting. “We haven’t had any outbreak situations in any of our nursing home. It’s just the actual testing and the contact tracing that has gone up.”

Although the outbreaks have slowed at Livingston’s LTC facilities, more than 76 percent of all local COVID-19 deaths have been reported from those communities, according to the township.

Prior to one new death reported on Friday through the county—bringing Livingston’s total to 70 deaths attributed to the coronavirus—the Township of Livingston provided a breakdown of the 69 deceased individuals according to age group and number of deaths reported from LTC facilities.

According to the data, 53 of the 69 known coronavirus deaths within Livingston were reported from LTC facilities, and the age range of the 69 deceased individuals was broken down as follows:

  • Ages under 55: 1.49 percent
  • Ages 55 and older: 98.51 percent
  • Ages 70 and older: 86.57 percent
  • Ages 80 and older: 79.1 percent
  • Ages 90 and older: 35.82 percent
  • Ages 100 and older: 4.48 percent

At the start of August, the average age of deceased individuals from LTC facilities was 86.14, while the average age of deceased individuals from private residences was 78.02. According to the township, the average age of deceased individuals overall is 84.2.

Of the 16 deaths reported from private residences in Livingston, the youngest was a 37-year-old resident who had multiple serious underlying medical conditions. Eight individuals who ranged in age from 55 to 75 years old also had one or more underlying medical conditions.

Seven deceased Livingston residents—three in their 90s, three in their 80s and one in his or her 60s—did not have any known health issues, according to township officials.

Although the county reported a new total of 70 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday afternoon, the number of deaths in Livingston has been fluctuating between 67 and 70 since July 1. The township and county continue to reiterate that all reported COVID-19 data is subject to change according to investigations being conducted into each positive test result.

As the summer continues and Labor Day Weekend approaches, Anello urged the younger population, particularly those in their early 20s, to “be more vigilant” in the coming weeks.

“As things progress and places start to open, you still have to be vigilant, you still have to make sure you’re wearing your mask and social distancing, and anybody who is symptomatic should definitely stay home and get tested,” he said. “I think those are the most important protocols as far as keeping the curve as flat as possible…

“I think we did a good job originally other than with the nursing homes, which was kind of out of our control because there were outbreak situations in such a vulnerable population. But in general, compared to March, April and May, we’ve definitely flattened the curve. So now it’s just about maintaining that. We just can’t be so lax about our attitude just because we’re not getting as many cases in.”

He also noted that the county reports any air travelers coming into Livingston from one of the states included on Gov. Phil Murphy’s 14-day quarantine travel advisory list, there is no way for the township to know of travelers who are driving to and from those states. He warned that residents should be responsible and quarantine for 14 days upon returning from one of those 35 states, even if they are not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

“People can be asymptomatic, may not even know they have it and could be spreading it, so they should make sure—especially if they do come down with symptoms—that they quarantine and get tested,” he said.

As of this week, there are 35 states included on the governor’s travel advisory list, which can be found HERE.

During Murphy’s COVID-19 briefing on Friday, the state reported an additional 384 positive coronavirus screenings and 12 deaths—bringing the statewide total to 184,061 cases and 15,860 deaths (including 1,853 probable deaths and the remainder lab-confirmed) since March 4.

Health officials also confirmed that 551 people are currently being hospitalized in New Jersey, with 298 who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 253 who are under investigation. According to officials, there are 120 people in intensive care with 73 on ventilators.

Additionally, the rate of transmission (Rt) has decreased once again to 1.15 as of Friday in New Jersey.

In Essex County, the total of COVID-19 cases among residents remained steady from Thursday to Friday afternoon at 19,715.

The total number of deaths contributed to the novel coronavirus as of Friday was 1,865—indicating an increase of two deaths since Thursday and eight deaths since Monday across all 22 municipalities.

CLICK HERE for more from Murphy’s press conference on Friday, where the governor spoke about recent issues with contact tracing and a dashboard being established to help track those efforts.  

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