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.
Gov. Phil Murphy held a coronavirus briefing. Watch the news conference below.
- Beginning March 19, the following businesses can increase indoor capacity to 50%:
- Recreational and amusement
- Gyms and fitness clubs
- Barber shops, salons, and other personal care businesses
- The state’s ban on seating at bars remains in effect, Murphy said.
- Also on March 19, the limit on indoor gatherings that are not religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals, memorial services or performances will be capped at 25 individuals — up from 10.
- The limit on outdoor gatherings that are not religious services or ceremonies, political events, weddings, funerals or memorial services will be capped at 50 individuals — up from 25.
- “Unlike some states where governors are prioritizing politics over public health – Texas and Mississippi come immediately to mind – our mask mandate remains in effect and will continue to be enforced,” Murphy added.
- New Jersey’s digital divide has finally closed.
- Last summer, 231,000 students did not have remote learning tools.
- The state committed $54 million in federal pandemic relief funds earmarked specifically for education to close this divide. As of Wednesday, that investment has paid off.
- Of 812 public school districts, charter schools, renaissance schools, and schools for students with disabilities:
- 110 are open for all-person instruction
- 125 are all-remote
- 541 are open for hybrid instruction
- 36 are using a mix of options across buildings
Visiting long-term care facilities
- Compassionate care, essential caregiver, outdoor, and end-of-life visitation by appointment should be permitted at long-term care facilities even when indoor visitation is otherwise restricted.
- Anyone experiencing a challenge in navigating visitation options can contact the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman at 1-877-582-6992 or http://nj.gov/ooie.
- First case of South African variant identified in New Jersey, Health Department Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.
- 2,671,480 vaccine doses have been administered as of Wednesday morning:
- 1,772,167 first doses
- 899,234 second doses
Long-term care vaccination efforts
- 72% of residents in LTC facilities are fully vaccinated
- 90% of residents in assisted living facilities are fully vaccinated
- Both facilities each report about 50% of staff are fully vaccinated
- State health officials are working to reduce vaccine hesitancy among staff members in the state.
- The state’s vaccine assistance hotline, 1-855-568-0545, re-launched Tuesday after more in-depth training of call center agents.
- The hotline is open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Hotline workers can help callers in more than 240 languages
- Agents are trained to register people into the state’s vaccination system and schedule appointments, among other forms of assistance.
- To date, over 30,000 individuals have been registered and 11,000 appointments have been made through the call center.
- 3,047 new positive PCR tests
- 729,403 total PCR tests
- 948 new positive antigen tests
- 93,414 total antigen tests
- 1,961 COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide
- 408 patients in ICUs
- 235 ventilators in use
- 56 new lab-confirmed deaths
- 21,294 total lab-confirmed deaths
- 2,474 additional probable COVID-19 deaths, including 714 from within long-term care facilities, both residents and staff.
- The positivity rate for all 22,756 PCR tests recorded on March 6 was 10.56%
- The statewide rate of transmission is 1.04
NJ has the highest infection rate in the country, how is that possible?
- Dr. Eddy Bresnitz: There’s likely a mix of things contributing to the high positivity rate in the state, including high population density, proximity to New York City, presence of virus variants and recent bad weather that could have driven more people to gather indoors.
- The good news is that we are seeing lower hospitalization and death numbers.
What about implementing a digital vaccine passport?
- Dr. Bresnitz: I’m not sure how I feel about the idea of a digital passport that could be fraudulently doctored compared to using existing symptom screening and testing efforts, but if it were to be something like a federal passport then it may work.
Latest official numbers:
As of Wednesday, there have been 729,403 confirmed cases in the state since March, and there have been 21,294 lab-confirmed coronavirus deaths, according to the state Health Department.
To find the nearest free COVID-19 testing location, click here.
Call New Jersey’s coronavirus hotline at 1-800-222-1222. You can also click here for additional information