The omicron wave is showing early signs of waning in New Jersey, according to Gov. Phil Murphy and the latest figures from the New Jersey Department of Health.
After the total COVID-19 hospitalization count peaked above 6,000 patients for several days beginning on Jan. 10, that figure began to drop below the nearly record-high benchmark.
As of the evening of Jan. 12, the state logged 5,933 people hospitalized with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
State health officials were expecting a mid-January peak of between 6,000 and 9,000 total patients.
Meanwhile the rate of transmission, or how fast the virus spreads, has started to drop, albeit slowly. It was 1.29 on Jan. 13, compared to 1.35 the day before and 1.44 on Jan. 11. Anything above the 1 benchmark means that for every person that gets COVID-19, it spreads to at least one other person.
On Jan. 1, the transmission rate reached 1.92, meaning that for every person that was infected with COVID-19, it spread to nearly two other people.
“I think it’s a little bit of early signs of better moments and better days,” Murphy said at an unrelated event in Teaneck on Thursday morning, calling the latest numbers “a little bit of good news.”
Earlier this week the governor declared a state of emergency in response to the omicron surge, but assured that such a declaration would not mean any change in daily life—nor would it mean new business restrictions like the ones that threw the economy into turmoil and drove unemployment to record-high levels.
Rather, the declaration will help the state get “critical testing supplies and vaccines” to “communities where they are needed the most,” the governor said in his annual State of the State address on Jan. 11. And it “protects the ability of our hospitals to care for the hundreds of New Jerseyans entering them because of COVID every day,” the governor said in his speech.
As of the latest count, the state logged 20,338 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Over the past month that figure occasionally pushed past 30,000 confirmed cases for the first time in the 22-month pandemic.
But December and January’s record-high surges are difficult to compare to the virus’s first wave between March and May 2020 when testing capacity was limited – meaning many cases simply were not counted, according to state health officials.
Of the 5,933 COVID-19 patients logged Wednesday, 907 were in intensive care and 460 were on ventilators, according to state health data.
All told, more than 6.48 million people in New Jersey have been fully vaccinated – be it from the Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson jab – according to the latest state figures. Meanwhile, more than 2.44 million eligible New Jerseyans have gotten the booster.