Latest coronavirus updates in New Jersey: Wednesday, March 24, 2021

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy attends the opening of the Morris County vaccination site in Rockaway on Jan. 8, 2021.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy attends the opening of the Morris County vaccination site in Rockaway on Jan. 8, 2021. (Saarah Blesener/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

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.

1 p.m.

Gov. Phil Murphy gave an update on NJ’s COVID-19 response. Watch in video below or click here.

Schools in NJ

  • Dept. of Health releasing revised guidance for local health departments on K-12 in-class operations
  • Public school districts, charter schools, renaissance schools and schools for students with disabilities 
    • 143 open for all in-person instruction (96,926 students)
    • 534 open for hybrid instruction (833,095 students)
    • 90 all-remote learning (301,856 students)
    • 44 combination across buildings (121,600 students)

Daily health indicators

  • New cases: 3,227 (Statewide total: 774,100)
  • Hospitalizations: 2,136
    • ICU: 430
    • Ventilators: 218
  • New deaths: 28 (Death toll: 21,727) 
  • The daily percent positive for test: 12.49%
  • The statewide rate of transmission: 1.09
  • Vaccines administered: 3,638,002
    • First dose: 1,289,353
    • Second dose: 2,416,860

Health commissioner update

  • Based on data, in-person learning is not connected to community transition. 
  • K-12 schools among last settings to close among all other mitigation methods have been deployed and among the first to reopen when it’s safe to do so. 
  • Middle and high school students have higher rate of transmission
  • Students and staff must remain home if sick, or if they’ve been in contact with someone for COVID-19. 
  • Quarantine: Best practice is 14-day quarantine period. Or 10-day period of no testing or 7-day period with a negative test. 
  • Holidays: These are times usually for congregate settings, but we ask people to limit gatherings. 
  • 415 reports of CDC variants of concern


  • Push to get kids childhood immunizations, which dipped. Have those numbers increased since?
    • This is a case where life marches on. 
    • Persichilli: 2021 immunization records not ready 
  • Is it time for legislature to eliminate religious exemptions of immunizations? 
    • No further comment on this.
  • Will parents have the option to do virtual learning in September?
    • As of right now, no. We’re expecting in-person learning Monday through Friday.
  • Vaccines: Newark mayor called for vaccinations for all adults. What are your thoughts?
    • We’re going to open things up when we can. It depends on supply. 
  • Comments on goal to have 4.7 million first doses by May. What’s the focus now?
    • Our objective continues to be 4.7 million fully vaccinated by May. If i said first doses, that was likely for J&J but intent is full vaccination.
  • How are vaccines distributed to each site? Is it subjective? 
    • Persichilli: Next week, NJ getting 494,430 doses of vaccines 
    • We know how exact;y to distribute them (Equity, disease burden, social vulnerability index, how many doses can be dispensed in a day, inventory) 
  • Will community based sites be enough? 
    • Many work with FEMA hope we can move and open more. 
  • How is access to vaccines going to be improved?
    • It’s more supply than access, but it’s both yes. 

Latest official numbers:

As of Wednesday, there have been 774,100 confirmed cases in the state since March 2020, and there have been 21,757 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

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