OCEAN COUNTY NJ - Today's statewide reports brought some encouraging news as far as hospitalizations and patient need for ventilators. Weeks ago, over 8,000 individuals were in New Jersey hospitals for COVID-19 related or suspected symptoms. Not only has that number dropped to 6,407, but ventilator usage is now the lowest in quite some time. Those needing mechanical assistance to breathe account for 1,303 in the patient population statewide.

Within the last 24 hours, New Jersey hospitals reported that 480 coronavirus patients were discharged. When it comes to overall data regarding discharge status, approximately half of those discharged return to their homes to recover. Some will require outside services to help with the process. Notably, 11% of those discharged to home die after discharge.

Statewide, New Jersey now has a total of 111,188 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The death toll now exceeds 6,000 with 6,044 reported as dying from the deadly disease. According to the Ocean County Health Department, 336 of the decedents gave a mailing address within the county when they were tested.

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In Ocean County, the total number of COVID-19 confirmed tests is nearing the 6000 mark at 5984. Barnegat has four new cases for a total of 182. Ocean Township (Waretown) has two more for a total of 35. Lacey is up 3 to 153, while Stafford has two more confirmed cases for a total of 171.

Data provided by the Ocean County Health Department offers some other interesting information.  Just under 27 percent of the confirmed cases reportedly involved individuals over the age of 65. Yet, over 76 percent of those who died from COVID-19 related complications were over the age of 65.

At today's press conference, Governor Phil Murphy released plans to reopen the state. The first principle relies on demonstrated sustained reductions in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.