TRENTON, NJ — Newly released COVID-19 figures that show New Jersey maybe heading in the wrong direction could mean the state will be forced to remain in Stage 2 of its recovery plan longer than expected.

During their daily press briefing on July 6, Gov. Phil Murphy and Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said that the rate of transmission or “Rt” is over 1.0 for the first time in 10 weeks. The last two days saw an Rt of 1.03 — meaning every new additional positive COVID-19 case is leading to at least one more. 

Another concerning figure, the health department has been made aware of multiple outbreaks stemming from nationwide “hot spots” — 12 of 13 new Hoboken cases tied to travelers from several states known to have severe spikes and several cases in North Jersey from attendees of a wedding in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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“We're not going to be jumping the gun on a whole lot more opening-up steps right now,” Murphy said. “We are where we are now and my guess is we're going to be here for a bit. If we see these numbers, particularly the RT go down again precipitously and the spot positivity rates stay down…that will allow us to take some steps that I don't think we feel comfortable taking today.”

One step under consideration by Murphy is requiring that face masks be worn in public outdoors. Currently, the practice is strongly encouraged outdoors, but mandatory indoors, except for children under age 2 and individuals whose health would be inhibited by wearing a face covering.

Following July 4 weekend, Murphy announced 216 new coronavirus cases (total: 173,611) and at least 20 new deaths (total: 15,229). Of the fatalities announced, 13,373 are lab-confirmed and 1,856 are considered “probable.”

As far as those receiving treatment, there are now 861 hospitalizations, 187 patients in intensive/critical care and 152 people on ventilators.  

Monday marked the tail end of Stage 2, with the allowance of graduation ceremonies, reopening of in-person summer education, youth day camps and expanded NJ Transit and light rail service. 

According to the state’s website, “in Stage 3, higher-contact activities restart with significant safeguarding." However, a date has not been issued over when that will take effect. 

Known locations to have seen significant jumps in their daily coronavirus outbreaks — leading in many instances to a pullback on reopenings — are in states that include: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah. Travel rules are in effect for anyone touching down at Garden State airports, as officials continue to stress the wearing of face masks and social distancing. 

“We know it is an inconvenience to separate yourself from others and to stay home for 14 days, but it is vital to break in the chain of transmission,” Persichilli said.

In addressing the expected interruption to its phased plan with a second wave coming, the governor said that the state Health Department and his office were aware of the risks of reopening, “but there's a further element of risk associated with hotspots (and) that is something that we weren't planning on a month ago.

In Monmouth County, as of July 6, there were 35 new positive cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 9,492. No deaths were reported — a total that now stands at 724 in the county.

The breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality is as follows:

  • Aberdeen: 247
  • Allenhurst: 9
  • Allentown: 9
  • Asbury Park: 326
  • Atlantic Highlands: 37
  • Avon-by-the-Sea: 14
  • Belmar: 47 (Belmar officials reported there are seven current cases after recoveries and individuals who live in other municipalities but share the Belmar 07719 zip code were removed from the borough’s total.)
  • Bradley Beach: 61
  • Brielle: 40
  • Colts Neck: 93
  • Deal: 37
  • Eatontown: 313
  • Englishtown: 51
  • Fair Haven: 32
  • Farmingdale: 14
  • Freehold Borough: 420
  • Freehold Township: 708
  • Hazlet: 338
  • Highlands: 36
  • Holmdel: 318
  • Howell: 706
  • Interlaken: 4
  • Keansburg: 203
  • Keyport: 108
  • Lake Como: 18
  • Little Silver: 40
  • Loch Arbour: 1
  • Long Branch: 641
  • Manalapan: 506
  • Manasquan: 37
  • Marlboro: 514
  • Matawan: 217
  • Middletown: 767
  • Millstone Township: 91
  • Monmouth Beach: 22
  • Neptune City: 67
  • Neptune Township: 635
  • Ocean: 374
  • Oceanport: 67
  • Red Bank: 263
  • Roosevelt: 7
  • Rumson: 51
  • Sea Bright: 12
  • Sea Girt: 18
  • Shrewsbury Borough: 56
  • Shrewsbury Township: 11
  • Spring Lake: 20
  • Spring Lake Heights: 29
  • Tinton Falls: 235
  • Union Beach: 47
  • Upper Freehold: 67
  • Wall: 423
  • West Long Branch: 77
  • Unknown: 8

Below is a video of Gov. Murphy's July 6 briefing:


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