Latest coronavirus updates in New Jersey Monday, March 22, 2021

Coronavirus
Masks worn in New Jersey mall store

Meghan Griffin stands at the entrance of a store offering masks, gloves and hand sanitizer at the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, N.J., Monday, June 29, 2020.

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NEW JERSEY — Below you will find the most up-to-date information on coronavirus news impacting New Jersey. You can find additional resources and coverage on our coronavirus page.

COVID-19 pandemic updates

Gov. Phil Murphy held a coronavirus briefing. Watch the news conference below.

Nursing home visitation

  • The Health Department is releasing a new executive directive related to nursing homes and long-term care facilities that will allow in-person visits regardless of vaccination status where COVID-19 activity is lowest.
  • Visitation options for essential caregivers, compassionate care, and outdoor visits will continue to be available.
  • Indoor visitation should be limited in areas with high or very high COVID activity when less than 70% of facility residents are fully vaccinated. Only those residents who are fully vaccinated should be receiving indoor visitation.
  • In all cases, everyone must properly wear face masks.
  • Anyone who encounters difficulty with visitations should contact the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman: 877-582-6995 or http://nj.gov/ooie.

June primary voting

  • The June 8 primaries will be conducted primarily in-person.
  • All of the state’s regularly operated polling places will be open for all voters who wish to cast their ballots on the voting machines.

Small business support

  • The application period for the EDA’s small and micro business PPE Access Program is extended through May 28.
  • Small businesses can save up to 70% off purchases of PPE.
  • Visit http://covid19.nj.gov/ppeaccess to learn more.

Vaccine update

  • As of Monday morning, 3,510,311 total doses have been administered statewide.
  • More than 2.3 million people have either received their first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • The state is now roughly halfway to its initial goal of vaccinating 4.7 million individuals.

Daily indicators

  • 2,608 new positive PCR tests
  • 767,583 total PCR tests
  • 697 new positive antigen tests
  • 101,454 total antigen tests
  • 1,992 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide
  • 428 patients in ICUs
  • 217 ventilators in use
  • 28 new lab-confirmed COVID-19 fatalities
  • 21,666 total lab-confirmed deaths since March 2020
  • 2,515 additional probable deaths related to COVID-19
  • The positivity rate for all 45,099 PCR tests recorded on March 18 was 8.48%
  • The statewide rate of transmission is 1.09
  • “There is no magic wand we can wave to stop the spread of COVID. Only you can stop the spread of this virus. We still have to work together,” Murphy said. 
  • “Being vaccinated does not mean that you become incapable of spreading the virus. Until we reach our vaccination goal, we all have to continue wearing our facemasks, taking precautions, and using common sense,” the governor said.

COVID-19 variants update

  • Over 400 reports of CDC variants of concern in New Jersey
  • These variants are considered more transmissible and able to cause more serious disease.
  • 389 cases of the U.K. variant
  • 3 cases of the Brazil strain
  • 1 case of the South African variant
  • 7 total cases of two different California strains
  • 65 cases of the New York variant, which is considered of interest because of vaccine efficacy, Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.

DOH Commissioner Judy Persichilli vaccinated

  • The commissioner confirmed she received the Moderna vaccine.
  • She said she had arm soreness after the first dose and she “felt a little funky” the day after receiving the second dose, but then felt fine.
  • “I didn’t jump the line. I was eligible,” she said.

When will NJ make everyone eligible for the vaccine?

  • Murphy said he couldn’t give a specific date, but that he doesn’t expect it to be a long time from now.
  • To turn the corner, Murphy said the state needs higher weekly allotments of vaccine from the federal government.
  • The president asked everyone in the country to at least be registered by May 1 and Murphy said he is comfortable that the state will get there.

Should the Legislature have a say in the governor’s emergency declarations?

  • “We want to end the state of emergency and health emergency as much as anyone else does,” Murphy said.
  • The governor said he’s had very constructive conversations with Legislature leadership. 
  • For the most part, Murphy said, the cooperation has been outstanding.
  • “I don’t have any news or updates on that other than we do what we do for a reason,” he added.

Why not lower eligibility below 65+ like New York and Connecticut?

  • There is still a big supply-demand issue, Murphy said.
  • We’re trying to methodically and doggedly get to a good place, he said, but we need more doses.

Reopenings on pause as virus variants surge

New Jersey residents likely will not see any new reopening announcements in the coming weeks as the state battles a surge in COVID-19 variants, Gov. Murphy said Monday. Current capacity limits, which rose to 50% for indoor dining on Friday, could stay this way for quite some time, Murphy said.

Latest official numbers:

As of Monday, there have been 767,583 confirmed cases in the state since March 2020, and there have been 21,666 lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths, according to the state Health Department.

COVID-19 timeline: How novel coronavirus spread

Tips to protect yourself and others amid coronavirus outbreaks

The New York state coronavirus hotline is 1-888-364-3065; information is also being posted here

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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