NJ gathering limits loosen Friday despite surge in COVID cases

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NEW JERSEY — An unsettling spike in COVID-19 cases is being seen in New Jersey, with the state surpassing 800,000 total confirmed cases Thursday.

The Garden State had the second-highest case rate in the country over the past week, only behind Michigan, and health officials say many of those cases are in younger residents.

Hospitalizations among residents ages 20 to 29 have increased 31%, while increasing a staggering 48% for those 40 to 49.

Despite the numbers, New Jersey’s outdoor gathering limit increased Friday from 25 people to 200.

Additionally on Friday, venues that seat 2,500 people can now increase their indoor capacity from 10% to 20%, while the capacity for outdoor venues increases from 15% to 30%.

The state has been trying to outpace the spread of COVID variants with vaccinations.

Currently, nearly a quarter of New Jersey adults are fully vaccinated, with the state on track to vaccinate 70% of eligible adults by the end of May.

Hudson County is awaiting a major vaccine shipment after previously receiving only 5% of the state’s allocated doses.

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