New Jersey reported 3,877 new cases of COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the highest number since daily cases peaked in April, and as state health officials announce the first business restrictions in months in a bid to reverse the latest surge.
“These numbers are devastating,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a Twitter post Tuesday afternoon. “We are still in the midst of a pandemic. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe.”
Tuesday morning, the governor signed an order requiring restaurants to stop indoor dining at 10 p.m., while indoor high school sports will be off-limits for the near future. Seating at indoor bars is banned altogether, but outdoor dining will be allowed to continue operations.
“People are starting to let their hair down at clubs, lounges, restaurants, especially bars with restaurants,” Murphy said on Monday.
Some of the new cases, however, may come from computer glitches at the state’s hospitals, according to New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli on Monday. That led to cases being under-reported Monday, when 2,075 new infections were confirmed.
“Our reality is that we will have between 2,000 and 3,000 cases a day going forward,” she said on Monday.
Essex County reported 675 new cases, Union and Bergen counties reported more than 300 new cases each, while Hudson, Middlesex and Camden counties each reported more than 200 new cases.
Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, where the bulk of the new cases are situated, is enacting sweeping new restrictions in some of the neighborhoods hardest-hit by the recent spread.
At the height of the first wave on April 23, the state saw 4,247 new positive cases. Total infections clocked in at 260,430, while the virus has claimed 14,661 lives, according to the governor.
The state reported 1,645 total COVID-19 hospitalizations, a level not seen since the start of June. State health data shows that 872 of the total hospitalizations were based out of the eight counties that make up the North Jersey region.
With federal authorization of a vaccine on the horizon, potentially from drugmaker Prifzer, Persischilli said that the state is wargaming actions for a “large-scale vaccination plan” that would run “the end of December and go through July.”
The goal is to inoculate over 4 million New Jerseyans in the six months following the vaccine’s approval, starting with roughly half a million health care workers, Persichill said in a recent 60 Minutes segment.
As part of Operation Warp Speed, the federal government’s nationwide vaccination plan, the state expects a shipment of roughly 120,000 doses, which would be enough for half that amount because of the potential double shots required for each patient.r