TRENTON, NJ -- Gov. Phil Murphy expressed concern about rising COVID-19 figures in New Jersey and said at his COVID press briefing in Trenton on Wednesday that new predictive models indicate the state could be heading for a new COVID-19 peak over May and June. The state had 4,586 new COVID-19 cases on March 31, the third day in the past week that the number has risen above 4,000 new cases.
He warned that given current trends, the state could reach a worst-case scenario of more than 8,162 cases and 3,644 hospitalizations in mid-May. Meanwhile, a moderate scenario estimated a possible April 18 peak of 5,405 positive cases and 2,669 people in the hospital, according to the latest state models.
"Under the High Case Model, we would hit a high in new cases of more than 8,000 daily in mid-May and again in mid-June, and hospitalizations would settle into a range of 3,500 from mid-May into mid-June," said Murphy. "Basically, we would be back to where we were in December and January."
“This model assumes that the number of new hospitalizations follows the rates that we have seen after past religious holidays and expansions of indoor activities, including indoor dining,” the governor said. "These are projections, not certainties. Through our behavior, we can affect the projected numbers of new cases."
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli cited the surge in the B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the UK and "less cautious behaviors” as two reasons for the increase in COVID figures.
The governor also announced the launch of the beta version of the state's Vaccine Appointment Finder. He said that although vaccine appointments are still limited, this new tool "will take some of the stress out of your search."
The governor reported during the briefing that the state continues to make unmistakable progress in vaccinations. New Jersey has administered 4,225,964 total doses of the COVID vaccine, including 2,653,329 first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and 1,570,907 second doses (fully vaccinated individuals). Nationally, New Jersey now ranks:
- 3rd in vaccine supply administered (88.4%);
- 8th in daily doses administered (93,733);
- 8th in percentage of population having received at least one dose (32.7%).
However, Murphy warned that the virus continues to spread, and the pandemic is not over.
"We must continue to wear our face masks, social distance, use common sense, and take this seriously," Murphy said.
Latest NJ COVID Figures
- 4,586 new positive PCR tests, for a state total of 799,391 total PCR positive cases since the pandemic began
- 1,316 new positive antigen tests, raising the state figure to 109,425 total positive antigen tests
- 44 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths, bringing the cumulative loss of life to 21,993
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