OCEAN COUNTY, NJ - Earlier this week, Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli shared her opinion that confirmed coronavirus cases were heading further south. According to data just released by the Ocean County Health Department, the numbers document Persicilli's predictions.

Positive COVID-19 test results statewide now total 85,301. Ocean County is nearing the 4700 mark, with 4680 confirmed cases.  Lakewood has been in excess of four digit positives for more than a week. However, Toms River is quickly catching up.

Barnegat has reached 150 confirmed cases, while Ocean Township (Waretown) added just one more and is at 26. As far as other Southern Ocean County municipalities Stafford is at 141 and Lacey at 121.  The charts below track the growth throughout Ocean County in 18 separate towns.

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In keeping with their promise for transparency, the state provides information concerning hospitalizations and ventilator use. As of 10 pm last evening, 7,495 were confined to hospitals for treatment related to COVID-19. Of that population, 1628 required ventilators in order to supplement their breathing.

Hospital discharges offer hope to many following the coronavirus numbers. Within the last 24 hours, 780 patients were released from New Jersey hospitals. As noted previously, that information does not suggest recovery has been reached. Unfortunately, two different anecdotal stories paint a chilling picture. One came by way of a tweet from a mother whose son lost his 25-year-old friend.  

While this young man's death may seem an anomaly, there's no true way of knowing what happens when patients are discharged from the hospital. Beds are equipment are needed to care for a great many people. COVID-19 does not seem to discriminate. It is not just a bad flu or something that only impacts the elderly. The vast majority of patients will not even require hospitalization. However, those that do worry their lives are at stake. And, that they could die alone.

As of today, 4,202 New Jersey residents reportedly died of the coronavirus. State officials report that 217 lived in Ocean County before they passed away.

When reviewing data reports for analysis, it is critical to make comparisons to population size.  The calculations for Ocean County appear below: