Latest coronavirus updates in New Jersey: Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Virus Outbreak New Jersey

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy tours a field medical station inside the Atlantic City Convention Center, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, in Atlantic City, N.J. The center was converted into a makeshift hospital to handle patient overflow in response to COVID-19. (Joe Lamberti/Camden Courier-Post via AP, Pool)

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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 briefing

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

  • Murphy extended the public health emergency in New Jersey for another 30 days.

Reopening updates

  • On Friday, indoor gathering limit increases to 25 people; outdoor gathering limit increases to 50 people; indoor capacity limits for restaurants, gyms and health clubs, recreational facilities and arcades, and personal care businesses increases to 50% capacity.
  • The state’s mask mandate remains in effect.

Interstate youth sports update

  • Ban on outdoor interstate youth sports competitions will expire on Friday.
  • Ban on indoor interstate sports competitions will remain in effect.
  • Health and safety protocols must be adhered to.

Schools update

  • Murphy said he expects every school in the state will reopen in September for full-time in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 academic year
  • Thursday marks one year since schools were closed statewide and students transitioned to all-remote learning because of the pandemic.
  • “Now is the time for all of our schools to meaningfully move forward with a return to in-person instruction, whether it be full-time or through a hybrid schedule,” Murphy said. “The American Rescue Plan is providing nearly $2.8 billion for our schools, with much of this funding meant to help our schools reopen and to combat learning loss.”
  • Of 811 public school districts, charter schools, renaissance schools, and schools for students with disabilities statewide:
    • 142 open for all-person instruction
    • 534 open for hybrid instruction
    • 37 using a mix of options across buildings
    • 98 all-remote
  • There have been about 800 total instances of in-school virus transmission since August. That’s less than two-tenths of 1% of the state’s cases over that time, Murphy said.

COVID-19 variants

  • Total: 209 CDC variants of concern cases in NJ
    • 206 are UK strain
    • 2 Brazilian variant
    • 1 South African variant

Vaccine update

  • On Monday, the state crossed the threshold of 3 million vaccinations.
  • As of Wednesday morning, 3,143,096 doses have been administered.
    • 2,043,117 first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines
    • 1,099,509 fully vaccinated people
  • The Health Department’s initial goal was to get 70% of the state’s population – 4.7 million people – vaccinated.
  • Currently, about 45% of the population has received at least a first shot.
  • CVS, Walgreens and RiteAid are reserving appointments for, and prioritizing, educators and child care workers.
  • Walmart is setting aside a minimum of 10,000 doses weekly for seniors ages 65 and older.

Daily indicators

  • 3,590 new positive PCR tests
  • 751,082 total PCR tests
  • 1,017 new positive antigen tests
  • 97,794 total antigen tests
  • 1,895 COVID-19 patients hospitalized statewide
  • 407 patients in ICUs
  • 231 ventilators in use
  • 38 new lab-confirmed deaths
  • 21,530 total deaths since March 2020
  • 2,515 additional probable deaths
  • The positivity rate for all 20,626 PCR tests recorded on March 13 was 11.87%
  • The statewide rate of transmission is 1.05

Latest official numbers:

As of Wednesday, there have been 751,082 confirmed cases in the state since March, and there have been 21,530 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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