TRENTON, NJ -- Gov. Phil Murphy began his Wednesday COVID-19 briefing with information for the mental health of frontline medical workers and first responders. He announced that the state had a number of resrouces available to address the emotional and mental health of these individuals who have put themselves at risk by doing their jobs.

"For countless frontline workers, the pandemic has taken a toll on your mental health,"Murphy said. "This holiday season, it’s okay not to be okay. Help is just a phone call away."

  • The NJ Dept. of Human Services and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care are providing emotional support and crisis counseling to health care workers and first responders impacted by COVID-19. Visit or call 833-416-8773.
  • For law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS professionals and other first responders, RISE offers live support from specialists and peers daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with emergency support available 24/7. Visit or call 833-237-4325.
  • Any New Jersey resident can find free, confidential emotional support from the Mental Health Association in New Jersey daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Visit, call 866-202-HELP, or text "NJHOPE” to 51684.

Latest COVID Numbers

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As of Tuesday night:

  • 3,841 patients in our hospitals
  • 765 patients in our ICUs
  • 485 ventilators in use
  • 426 patients discharged
  • 498 COVID-positive patients admitted 62 in-hospital deaths
  • Positivity for all PCR tests recorded on Dec. 19: 12.97%.
  • Rate of transmission: 0.97.

"Sadly, we must report another 103 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, bringing our statewide total to 16,521," Murphy said. "The number of probable deaths is 1,945. The scale of this pandemic is staggering."

"The numbers remain sobering – and they remain the biggest reason why we can’t get lax in our precautions, in our social distancing, and in wearing our masks. And it’s the reason why this year CANNOT be the year for the large Christmas with family and friends," he said.

"In the weeks following Thanksgiving, the numbers of residents needing hospitalization, needing an ICU bed, or needing a ventilator all jumped. Our health care workers are doing heroic things – but it is up to us to keep our loved ones out of the hospital," he added.

The governor announced that over the past week, there were seven new confirmed instances of in-school COVID transmission with a subsequent 31 new cases. In total, between Aug. 1 and Dec. 21, the cumulative total for in-school transmission are 105 outbreaks and 459 cases, which accounts for 0.2% of all cases statewide.

Murphy said that earlier in the day, he and NJ Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli, visited Ocean Health Initiatives in Toms River to support health care workers receiving the Moderna vaccine. 

"Our community-based vaccine plan is up and running in time for the holidays," he said.