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NJ coronavirus update: Large arenas can reopen Monday with limited capacity

NJ coronavirus update: Large arenas can reopen Monday with limited capacity

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Updated: 4:15 p.m.

As of Monday, 2,847 new positive coronavirus cases were reported in New Jersey. The positivity rate was 6.35% as of last Thursday, Feb. 18. In New Jersey hospitals, 2,023 patients are being treated for COVID-19, 438 are in ICUS and 289 require a ventilator.

The state confirmed 17 more deaths due to COVID-19, bringing the total loss up to 22,874.

There are currently more than 2,000 people hospitalized in New Jersey because of the virus, down from the state’s spring peak of more than 6,000 people.

Close to 1.7 million people have received an initial dose of vaccine.

Large venues can reopen Monday

Sports and entertainment venues large enough to hold 5,000 or more people can reopen next Monday with limited capacity, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday morning.

Indoor venues that meet that criteria can reopen Monday, March 1 at 10% capacity, starting at 6 a.m. Outdoor venues can reopen March 1 at 15% capacity.

According to Murphy, the state took into account hospitalizations, transmission rates, and vaccination efforts in the Garden State when making the call to reopen these arenas.

“Everybody’s got to do the stuff that we’re all used to these days,” said Murphy. “Face coverings, social distancing … If you bought your tickets together you can sit together, but otherwise, we gotta stay away from each other.”

The New Jersey Devils, who play at the Prudential Center, lauded Murphy’s decision in a statement. They plan to host fans on March 2 for the game against the New York Islanders.

Murphy announced additional changes to collegiate sports. Effective immediately parents or guardians of collegiate athletes, two per athlete are allowed to watch their children play. Capacity limits still apply, said Murphy.

Earlier this month, the governor announced parents of high school athletes could return as spectators.

Vaccines delayed by weather to arrive

Winter weather delayed vaccine shipments from Pfizer and Moderna last week, but officials said they are expected to receive some of those backlogged doses on Monday.

Around 230,000 doses from the federal stockpile were delayed by snow, causing cascading delays in the vaccine delivery calendar.

As of Saturday, all six of the state’s mega-sites received deliveries of Pfizer vaccine, and the backlogged doses from that company are expected to arrive at those sites Monday, said Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

“We are still awaiting an update on this week’s allocation of Pfizer doses,” she said.

Backlogged Moderna doses will also begin arriving on Monday, and about half of the delivery sites will also receive this week’s budget doses on the same day.

“We know that these shipping delays have caused some appointments to be rescheduled, and we certainly understand how disappointing that is,” said Persichilli, noting that extreme weather caused issues with distributing doses from the federal stockpile all across the country.

So far, 1,676,496 vaccine doses have been administered in the Garden State, including 1.14 million first doses and 509,000 second doses.

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