LIVINGSTON, NJ — In an effort to clarify the rapid fluctuation in daily COVID-19 data being reported from county and state sources, the Livingston Township Council, in conjunction with the Livingston Health Department and Township Manager Barry Lewis, recently vowed to provide detailed breakdowns of local statistics more frequently as the coronavirus continues to spread.
Although county data showed 511 active cases and 68 deaths in Livingston on Friday—indicating the township’s highest daily increase since May 23 with seven new cases reported since Thursday—local officials reminded residents that both the case and death counts fluctuate regularly as a result of investigations being conducted on each patient.
According to the county, for instance, further investigation into a positive COVID-19 test result or coronavirus-related death occasionally reveals a need to reassign that individual’s place of residence after he or she was already included in a previous day’s total for another municipality.
In response to nationwide spikes and unease among Livingston residents who believe more specific data about local cases will help them determine the extent to which they should be concerned about their children’s safety, the Township of Livingston is working to provide accurate totals more frequently as well as additional information such as the age and gender of COVID-19 patients and the number of patients coming from long-term care facilities.
As it had done previously when the township’s average daily increase was in the double digits, the township also plans to resume sharing its five-day rolling case averages in order to more accurately demonstrate the speed at which the virus is spreading within the township.
Since Livingston saw its first COVID-19 case on March 18, the greatest number of new COVID-19 cases that the township reported in one day in Livingston was 29 on April 14, while the highest five-day case average was recorded at 17.8 on April 7.
By the end of that month, the five-day rolling case average in Livingston was 3.8 and has remained in the single digits since then. Toward the end of June, at which point the township was seeing very few if any new cases each day, there was a negative five-day average.
As seen in the charts above, the five-day case average remained below one this week, with the latest report showing a 0.8 average as of July 22.
There are no additional statistics to report at this time, although the township manager said on Friday that his office is currently gathering more information.
Further Explanation of Inconsistent Data
In order to put the Township of Livingston’s explanation of the day-to-day inconsistencies in case data into perspective, the following statistics from West Orange demonstrate the differences in the daily reports being provided at state, county and local levels.
On Friday afternoon, Essex County reported a total of 1,270 cases and 184 deaths attributed to the coronavirus in West Orange—indicating two new cases and zero new deaths since the previous day.
West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi distributed his own set of statistics around the same time on Friday that differed from the county numbers.
According to Parisi, the total number of deaths stood at 184 on Friday with three new cases that brought the township’s total to 1,449. He also specified that this number indicates the total “intake” of cases in West Orange, while the current total of “active” cases in West Orange is 142. (Deaths are considered active cases until the full investigation is complete, he added.)
He further explained that 1,231 cases of COVID-19 in West Orange have been “recovered and closed” and that 76 cases have been officially transferred to other municipalities since the start of the outbreak.
The three West Orange residents added to the township’s case total on Friday were 36, 45 and 70 years old.
County and State Data as of Friday, July 24
During his COVID-19 press briefing on Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey’s spot positivity rate for tests from July 20 was 2.36 percent, while the state's rate of transmission stands at 0.84.
“These are among our best indicators related to the continuing spread of coronavirus,” said Murphy. “The lower both numbers get, the slower the spread. Let’s keep them low.”
The governor announced 488 new positive COVID-19 test results, which upped the statewide cumulative total to 178,345.
As of Friday afternoon, there were 800 COVID-19 patients in New Jersey hospitals, 388 of whom have tested positive for COVID-19 and 412 who are listed as “persons under investigation” pending the return of test results. Of those hospitalizations, 138 patients are in either critical or intensive care, and 62 of them are on ventilators, according to Murphy.
He also announced 36 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state total number of confirmed deaths to 13,845 since March. The number of “probable deaths”—or deaths assumed but not confirmed to be caused by complications related to the coronavirus—remains at 1,920.
In Essex County, Friday’s data showed 19,255 total cases and 1,842 deaths. There have also been 107,948 negative test results reported from county testing centers since the start of the outbreak.
The county reported the following breakdown for the age range of COVID-19 patients and deaths as of July 22. (Note: 34 cases, or .2 percent, are not included due to insufficient data.)
- Ages 0-4: 88 cases (0.5 percent); 0 deaths
- Ages 5-17: 307 cases (1.6 percent); 0 deaths
- Ages 18-29: 2,166 cases (11.3 percent); 10 deaths (0.5 percent)
- Ages 30-49: 6,461 cases (33.6 percent); 108 deaths (5.9 percent)
- Ages 50-64: 5,547 cases (28.8 percent); 403 deaths (22 percent)
- Ages 65-79: 2,919 cases (15.2 percent); 652 deaths (35.6 percent)
- Ages 80+: 1,709 cases (8.9 percent); 658 deaths (35.9 percent)
Of the 1,831 deceased county residents included in this data, 55.3 percent were male and 44.7 percent were female. The gender breakdown of positive cases in Essex County is currently about 52 percent female and 47 percent male. (The gender of at least 127 confirmed COVID-19 patients is unknown at this time.)
Click on the headlines below to read more from Friday's state COVID-19 briefing:
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