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N.J. reports 1,292 COVID cases, 7 deaths. Daily case average trending down. - nj.com

N.J. reports 1,292 COVID cases, 7 deaths. Daily case average trending down. - nj.com

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New Jersey on Sunday reported another 1,292 confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven more confirmed deaths, as the number of counties listed as having high rates of community transmission continues to shrink.

The state’s seven-day average for newly confirmed positive tests is 1,447, down almost 12% from a week ago and 16% from a month ago.

The statewide rate of transmission rose slightly to 0.91 Sunday after holding steady at 0.90 for the previous two days. Any transmission rate below 1 indicates that each infected person is passing the virus to less than one other person and the outbreak is no longer expanding.

There were 862 people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases across 68 of the state’s 71 hospitals as of 10 p.m. Saturday, according to state data. Three hospitals did not report data.

Of those hospitalized Saturday, 205 were in intensive care (20 fewer than the previous night), with 111 on ventilators (11 fewer).

There were 126 patients discharged in the 24 hours leading up to Saturday night.

The number of patients has mostly leveled out over the past month, with only slight increases and decreases.

The statewide positivity rate for tests conducted Tuesday, the most recent day available, was 3.79%.

Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday during his latest coronavirus briefing that hospitalization numbers are are “generally going in the right direction.”

The delta variant of the virus continues to dominate cases in New Jersey, with nearly all of sampled cases in the four weeks ending Sept 18.

New Jersey’s drop in cases mirrors a national trend. The U.S. on Friday recorded fewer than 100,000 new cases for the first time since early August. Nationwide cases have steadily declined since a recent peak of about 172,500 average positive tests on Sept. 13.

State officials warned Wednesday there will likely be an increase in overall COVID-19 cases statewide as the weather cools, especially after Thanksgiving.

“I think it’s unavoidable that once we conduct more of our lives inside that this thing is going to kick up in some form,” Murphy said.

But the governor stressed the state will be helped by relatively high vaccination rates, and state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said she expects hospitals to be able to handle increases in patients.

More than 5.92 million people who live, work or study in New Jersey — a state of about 9.2 million residents — have been fully vaccinated as of Sunday. Murphy said more than 75% of eligible people in New Jersey have been fully vaccinated.

Nearly 6.6 million people have received at least one dose, and more than 244,691 people have received third doses or boosters.

All but five of New Jersey’s 21 counties continue to be listed as having “high” rates of coronavirus transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Somerset and Union counties were downgraded to substantial transmission, but the CDC is recommending people in all 21 counties wear masks for indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

New Jersey has now reported 27,597 total COVID-19 deaths in slightly more than 19 months — 24,800 confirmed and 2,797 considered probable, according to the state dashboard. That’s the second-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the U.S.

The state has reported 1,017,837 total confirmed cases out of the more than 15.66 million PCR tests conducted since it announced its first case March 4, 2020. The state has also reported 153,736 positive antigen tests, which are considered probable cases.

At least 8,570 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data. As of Friday, there are active outbreaks at 160 facilities, resulting in 693 current cases among residents and 587 among staffers.

Through Sept. 20, there have been 30,267 COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated people in New Jersey. Of those, only 629 have been hospitalized and 158 have died.

School districts in New Jersey have so far reported at least 69 in-school outbreaks, for a total of 379 cases through Friday. The positive tests include 60 for educators and other school staff and 319 for students.

In-school outbreaks are defined as three or more cases that are determined through contact tracing to have been transmitted between staff or students while at school. They do not include total cases among staff and students.

As of Sunday, there have been more than 237.6 million positive COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University, with more than 4.84 million people having died due to the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases (44.3 million) and deaths (nearly 713,000) than any other nation.

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Jackie Roman may be reached at jroman@njadvancemedia.com.

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