New Jersey logged more than 1,000 COVID-19 hospital patients for the first time since May 11, as the delta variant drives surges of the virus among those in the state who have not been vaccinated.
There were 1,012 COVID-19 patients admitted to the state’s 71 acute-care hospitals as of Aug. 24, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.
Metrics like new daily cases, the positivity rate among tests, fatalities and the rate of transmission – or how fast the virus spreads – have also climbed over the summer.
With no restrictions in place – such as on indoor and outdoor business capacities – or mask mandates, the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 has surged nationwide. Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli say it is almost exclusively spread among those without the vaccine.
New Jersey’s 21 counties are all listed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as having “high” transmission of COVID-19, meaning indoor masks should be worn when in public regardless of vaccination status.
“We’ve come too far to go backwards,” Murphy tweeted on Aug. 25.
We are back over 1,000+ COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time since May 11th.⁰⁰We’ve come too far to go backward. Data shows the vaccines continue to be highly effective against hospitalization. Get vaccinated and let’s end this.⁰⁰https://t.co/DpwxnEAPpS
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 25, 2021
Hospitalizations still, are far from what was seen in previous waves–like the more than 8,000 COVID-19 patients in April 2020 or the more than 3,800 patients during the second peak in December.
More than 5.49 million people in New Jersey have been fully vaccinated, leaving roughly 4 million people without the shot. Interest in getting the vaccine has lagged severely.
This Monday, Murphy ordered all state and K-12 workers, including university staff and faculty, to get the shot by Oct. 18.
Health care and other frontline workers who interact with vulnerable populations have until Sept. 7 to get the shot or submit to routine testing. And many businesses have slowly opened up to requiring the vaccine for their staff, patrons or both. Restaurants and live event venues have adopted vaccine requirements.
United Airlines, which operates a major hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, announced on Aug. 5 that all of its workers must be vaccinated by October. Delta Airlines followed suit, announcing on Aug. 25 that it would charge its unvaccinated workers $200 a month.