OCEAN COUNTY, NJ - Less than two weeks into November, the Ocean County Health Department reported more than 1,000 new COVID-19 positive test results.  By month end, nearly 5,000 new cases were documented throughout the various municipalities in Ocean County.

Health authorities have stressed that confirmed cases are documented by individuals and not repeat tests in New Jersey. Officials dispute allegations of inflated numbers and suggest positive results would be higher if more people were tested.

As a whole, Ocean County saw a 29.2 percent increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, moving from 16,982 to 21,939 individuals testing positive. Smaller communities are experiencing the surge relative to their size.

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Ocean Township (Waretown) started off the month with a total of 86 cases and rose to 146 by the end of the month. The additional 60 positive test results amounted to a percentage increase of nearly 70 percent.

Case numbers in other Southern Ocean County municipalities rose substantially as well. Lacey’s 202 new positive tests represented a 44.4 percent increase from the beginning to end of November.  Stafford saw 187 new cases for a 39.7 percent uptick, while Barnegat’s 156 positive results represented a 41.2 percent increase.

Ship Bottom was the only municipality to see a decline in reported numbers since the start of November. They began the month with 27 positive test results and ended with 20. The cases may have been reassigned to other locations in this seasonal part of the county.

Over 3.6 percent of Ocean County’s estimated population has tested positive for the coronavirus since the Ocean County Health Department began counting results in March.  Reports indicate that 6.6 percent of Lakewood’s estimated 104,157 residents are confirmed as having COVID-19.

Two weeks ago, the State of New Jersey reported that 1,827 individuals were hospitalized statewide for COVID-19 related treatment. As of today, 3,287 patients are receiving in-patient care for the coronavirus. The number of people on ventilators has more than tripled, from 117 to 354.

A review of positive test results in Ocean County shows that 15 percent of all confirmed cases came from long term care facilities. Fifty percent of the county’s 1,058 deaths were related to long term care facilities.

Almost 79 percent of those testing positive for COVID-19 in Ocean County were age 64 or younger.  Those who died under the age of 65 account for 16 percent of the total deaths. Nearly 37 percent of the mortality rate is attributable to individuals over the age of 85. Cardiovascular disease continues to be he most frequently underlying condition in cases resulting in death.

Hours have increased at Ocean County College’s COVID-19 Drive Thru Testing Site for those wishing to schedule an appointment. Rite Aids and CVS pharmacies are also conducting testing by appointments made on their website. Other area urgent care facilities may also require appointments.