NJ COVID latest: Monday, April 26, 2021


FILE – In this May 19, 2020, file photo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wears a mask during his daily coronavirus news conference at the War Memorial in Trenton, N.J. A year after becoming a global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, New York and New Jersey are back atop the list of U.S. states with the highest rates of infection. Murphy said in recent days that he is hitting pause on further loosening of the rules because of New Jersey’s resurgence. (Chris Pedota/The Record 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.

NJ COVID reopening announcement

BREAKING: Gov. Phil Murphy announced major COVID-19 reopening updates Monday afternoon.

Indoor capacity limits increase for catered events

  • Beginning May 10, capacity for indoor catered events — including wedding receptions and school proms — will increase to 50% or a maximum of 250 individuals.
  • Dance floors will be allowed to open at such events. However, social distancing and mandatory mask requirements remain in effect.
  • The dance floor allowance does not apply to bars or other businesses such as nightclubs — only to catering halls and private events such as weddings and school proms.
  • The increased 50% capacity limit or 250-person maximum also applies to all indoor political events, funerals, memorial services, and indoor performances.

Outdoor gathering limit increases

  • Beginning May 10, the general outdoor gathering limit will increase to 500 individuals — up from its current 200-person limit. 
  • Another gathering limit increase could be announced before Memorial Day, as long as public health metrics continue to trend downward.
  • Also starting May 10, large outdoor venues with 1,000 or more fixed seats can host crowds at 50% capacity as long as 6 feet of distance can be maintained between seated groups.
  • “So, while this may preclude some stadiums, like our minor league baseball stadiums, for example, from being able to reach a full 50%, we know that this is a welcome step and an advance from the current 30% capacity limitation and for venues with less seating that were previously excluded from this category,” Murphy said.
  • “Further, when it comes to outdoor venues, we are aware that the CDC is currently reviewing its outdoor guidelines, more generally, and we will be prepared to relax the 6-foot distancing requirement outdoors accordingly should the CDC move in that direction,” the governor added.
  • Also beginning May 10, outdoor carnivals and fairs can begin operating at 50% capacity — the same capacity limit as other outdoor amusement parks.
  • “This means that county and other fairs – including the New Jersey State Fair – can enjoy the same 50% capacity limit that an establishment like Six Flags Great Adventure does,” Murphy said.

What about high school and college graduation ceremonies?

Murphy said the state is hoping schools will choose outdoor gatherings or large stadiums, which have larger capacity limits, but added that the state Department of Education will release formal guidance on graduations and proms later Monday.

What about larger events such as the balloon festival?

  • Murphy: A Memorial Day parade, for example, can proceed as long as people are masked up. But if there’s an event like a band stand at the end of the parade route, then that area would be subject to the outdoor gathering capacity limit.
  • Murphy aide: We’d need to know more about the specific event, but generally if there’s a place where people are congregating then that would be subject to the outdoor gathering limit, however, if it’s an event held at a fairground then that may fall under the 50% capacity limit for fairs and carnivals, which would allow for more people.

Summer camp guidance expected later this week

Murphy said the state will release follow-up guidance for both day and overnight summer camps on Wednesday.

Restaurant capacity reminders

  • Outdoor dining is not subject to a numerical capacity limitation. The only restriction is the number of groups you can place outdoors that can be spaced 6 feet apart.
  • Indoor dining remains at 50% capacity.

Update: New COVID cases, hospitalizations, deaths in NJ

  • 1,247 new positive PCR tests
  • 865,700 total PCR tests
  • 311 new positive antigen tests
  • 123,186 total antigen tests
  • 1,797 COVID patients hospitalized
  • 398 patients in ICUs
  • 246 ventilators in use
  • 19 new COVID fatalities
  • 22,788 total COVID deaths
  • 2,611 additional probable deaths
  • The statewide rate of transmission was 0.9
  • The positivity rate for all 38,732 PCR tests recorded on April 22 was 6.44%

COVID vaccine update

As of Monday morning, 6,661,861 total doses have been administered and 2,819,226 New Jersey residents were fully vaccinated — 60% of the way to the state’s goal of 4.7 million fully vaccinated adults by June 30.

COVID schools update

  • Of the state’s public school districts, charter schools, renaissance schools, and schools for students with disabilities:
    • 246 open for all in-person instruction
    • 470 open for hybrid instruction
    • 47 all-remote learning
    • 48 using a mix of options across buildings

With OK from experts, NY, NJ resume use of J&J vaccine

With a green light from federal health officials, New York and New Jersey resumed use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine on Saturday. 

Latest official numbers:

As of Monday, there have been 865,700 confirmed cases in the state since March 2020, and there have been 22,788 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

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