LIVINGSTON, NJ — The Township of Livingston has recorded 35 new cases of COVID-19 over the last five days for a cumulative total of 810 cases as of Friday morning.

Although there have been no new deaths recorded in Livingston this week, there were 23 additional deaths reported statewide on Friday, and 27 people died in New Jersey hospitals on Thursday, according to Gov. Phil Murphy. This brings the statewide total to 14,900 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, and the number of probable deaths remained at 1,812 as of Friday.

The governor also reported 3,635 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the cumulative statewide total to 297,370 since March 4.

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The positivity rate for all Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests recorded on Nov. 16 was 7.98 percent, and the current rate of transmission in New Jersey is 1.40.

“This is not going to be the regular holiday season—from Thanksgiving through New Year’s,” said Murphy. “We have to get into a different mindset for the next six weeks, and put our health and the health of our loved ones before our want to party. We need to safely make it into 2021.”

Murphy also provided an update on testing during Friday’s COVID-19 press briefing, stating that testing has “increased exponentially throughout this pandemic.”

According to the governor, the state recently reached an all-time high of 70,000 tests in one day and is currently averaging 45,000 tests per day during the month of November. There are also more than 400 active testing sites throughout the state, and 1.75 million tests are expected to be delivered from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the near coming days.

Additionally, Murphy said there have been 600,000 BinaxNOW antigen rapid tests distributed to New Jersey’s long-term care facilities and 160,000 distributed to rapid-response teams as well as county-based testing sites.

“We are in a far, far different place than we were at the early stages of this pandemic,” he said. “We have a testing program in place that is working overtime. We have the resources to continue to ensure a full testing regime across the state, and to ramp-up testing when hotspots emerge.”

Earlier this week, 207 new contact tracers began their training and will be deployed over the next few days. New Jersey will now have more than 2,300 contact tracers on the ground.

Just prior to the weekend, there were 2,505 patients in New Jersey hospitals, including 333 new COVID-positive patients who were admitted on Thursday. As of Friday, there were 452 patients in New Jersey’s intensive care units and 233 ventilators in use.

Murphy concluded that Pfizer is expected to apply to the United States Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization for its new vaccine. If approved, the governor announced that the state’s first shipment of 130,000 doses could be expected to arrive around Christmas.

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