LIVINGSTON, NJ — The total number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 among Livingston residents dropped from 69 to 67 on Monday, days after the township released details about why data has been inconsistent from day to day as a result of case investigations.

According to county data released Monday, Livingston saw three new COVID-19 cases from the previous day, bringing the township’s total to 508 residents who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The five-day rolling average of new cases in Livingston has remained below one since July 15, with the latest report showing a 0.8 average as of July 22.

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During his COVID-19 press briefing on Monday afternoon, Gov. Phil Murphy pleaded with New Jersey’s youth and their parents to protect public health by not holding large indoor gatherings.

“We have many examples of people congregating indoors without face coverings, without social distancing and in close proximity," he said. "There is no good that will come from this.”

Murphy added that there have now been numerous examples of such activities around the state that have led to outbreaks of the virus, particularly among younger residents.

“Please, I’m asking parents and asking the kids themselves," he said. "Be responsible in your own home. It’s okay to gather, but gather outside and gather responsibly.”

Murphy and New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli acknowledged recent gatherings at homes in Middletown—the governor’s hometown—and on Long Beach Island at which young residents, teenagers and older, were the source of worrisome outbreaks at a moment when infection rates around the state have steadily decreased since their peak in April and remained low for several consecutive weeks.

State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan also reported on a large house party in Jackson on Sunday night that was attended by approximately 700 people and took law enforcement five hours to clear. Neighbors reported that party-goers spilled out of the house and into the streets.

Persichilli said that although younger individuals generally do not experience severe symptoms with COVID-19, they should still “take the disease seriously” in order to avoid spreading it to more vulnerable populations.

According to Murphy, state officials have been generally pleased with the success of outdoor dining and drinking rules and that these have been a major step toward returning to a sense of normalcy in New Jersey. The governor pulled the plug on impending indoor dining relaxations in June, leading state officials to speculate that these activities are moving “underground.”

During Monday's briefing, Murphy reported 446 new COVID-19 cases for a state total to 179,812. He reiterated that the recent spike in positive results is mostly due to testing labs catching up after experiencing a delay in reporting over the last two weeks.

The state’s positivity rate—or the percentage of people who test positive for the virus against all who have been tested—remained low on Monday at 1.72 percent.

However, the rate of transmission ticked up to 1.09 in New Jersey on Monday. Any measure above 1 shows that each infected person is transmitting the disease to one or more people. The rate of transmission had been below 1 for the several days prior to Monday's press briefing.

The number of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 in New Jersey continues to trend downward and was reported at 695 on Monday. There were also 17 new fatalities reported Monday, bringing the state’s total to 13,884 lab-confirmed deaths and 1,920 deaths most probably caused by the virus.

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