LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Livingston Health Department (LHD) has reported the first COVID-19 death from one of Livingston’s long-term care (LTC) facilities since early August this week, bringing the total of Livingston lives lost to the novel coronavirus to 75 as the township marked its 905th case of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

According to the LHD, there have been 110 new cases reported among Livingston residents over the last 14 days, including 24 new cases reported in the first two days of December after more than 225 new cases were reported during the month of November.

Since Oct. 15, there have been seven new COVID-19 cases and one new death recorded among Livingston residents residing in local LTC facilities for a total of 272 cases and 57 deaths within those facilities since the start of the pandemic. During the same time period, from Oct. 15 to Dec. 2, there have been 320 cases and three COVID-19 deaths reported overall in Livingston. 

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Whereas more than 50 percent of local COVID-19 cases were being reported from LTC facilities at the height of the pandemic, that number has decreased to approximately 30 percent of Livingston’s cumulative 905 cases as of Dec. 2, according to the latest data from the LHD. Updated data from Wednesday also indicates that 76 percent of resident deaths attributed to the coronavirus have been from LTC facilities.

Prior to the health department's LTC facility report on Dec. 2, there had been zero COVID-19 cases recorded from LTC facilities in Livingston since early August.

Although the most recent age report from the LHD is reflective of cases recorded in October, Livingston Health Officer Lou Anello has indicated in recent weeks that the majority of new cases being reported to the LHD have been between the ages of 21 and 41, although school-age children and older adults have also been among those testing positive in recent weeks. Additional cases are expected in the coming weeks as a result of pre-and post-holiday testing. 

Livingston’s elementary schools were closed for in-person instruction on Monday and Tuesday, and the secondary schools are closed for the full week, in anticipation of any new cases that may arise as a result of Thanksgiving gatherings or travel plans. There has been no official update on case and quarantine totals reported within the schools since Nov. 20, although the district had seen a significant increase in the number of both staff and students either testing positive, being qualified as “assumed positive” or being quarantined as a result of potential exposure during the weeks leading up to the holiday. CLICK HERE to read more COVID-19 information from the Livingston Public Schools district.  

Statewide, Gov. Phil Murphy reported on Wednesday that there have been four new in-school COVID-19 outbreaks confirmed in New Jersey over the past week, leading to a total of 285 cases of in-school transmission from 70 total outbreaks since start of the school year. According to the governor, there are currently 89 school districts open for fully in-person instruction in New Jersey; 438 districts offering a hybrid of in-person and remote instruction; 246 districts moving to all-remote instruction; and 38 districts operating with a mix.

“We remain confident in the protocols in place to protect against in-school transmission,” said Murphy, who also reported 56 additional COVID-19 deaths and 4,350 new cases on Wednesday for a cumulative total of 346,206 cases, 15,309 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 1,836 “probable” deaths.

The positivity rate for all PCR tests recorded on Nov. 28 was 13.68 percent, and the statewide rate of transmission is 1.08 as of Wednesday.

Also as of Wednesday, there were 3,287 patients in New Jersey hospitals, including 599 patients in intensive care units (ICU) and 354 on ventilators. Although there were 507 residents admitted to hospitals on Wednesday with positive COVID-19 diagnoses, there were also 367 patients discharged on Tuesday. However, Murphy reiterated that there were 51 in-hospital deaths reported on Tuesday as well.

“There is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the increase in the number of cases and the increase in the number of patients in our hospitals,” said Murphy. “That is not up for debate. It’s simple math…

"We can never forget that behind every one of the numbers we report each day—new cases, hospital patients, ICU patients, patients on ventilators, new hospital admittances, hospital discharges, deaths—is a human face,” said Murphy. “If you need a reason to fight through the pandemic fatigue, there’s 17,000.”

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