TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday said the state is in the ‘midst of a war’ as COVID-19 positivity statewide climbed to 12%. There were 3,517 new cases reported by the state on Thursday and 3,339 cases reported Friday, Murphy said as the second wave of COVID-19 has clearly arrived in the Garden State. Murphy urged New Jerseyans to continue social distancing, mask-wearing and to not let their hair down.
When you bring everything that we have done over the past several months together, and I’m hardly spiking any footballs here, we are in the midst of a war, let there be no doubt. Whether that’s our efforts to build a sizeable PPE stockpile, our enhanced testing capabilities, our ability to move resources around at a moment’s notice and now, giving our local governments the ability to take surgical action within their own borders, we are prepared to fight the second wave.
But none of this can be successful unless every New Jerseyan also recognizes their responsibility in this fight as well. We cannot let up on social distancing, on wearing our masks, or in practicing strong hand hygiene. We have got to get back to the mindset that saw us crush the curve throughout the spring. Look at all the places where and ways in which this virus is spreading. We can get a hold of this if we can get back to what worked in the spring and stick to it.
Especially with masks. The CDC has released updated guidance based on new evidence that wearing a mask is a stronger measure of protection than previously thought, protecting not just those people around the wearer, but the mask wearer as well. There is no reason whatsoever for us to stop wearing our masks. And yes, it also means that with Thanksgiving only two weeks away, we have to recognize that this is not a year for a large family gathering with loved ones coming in, especially from out of state or across age groups. Or conversely, for you all to travel to visit someone else out of state. We strongly urge you to have a smaller gathering with just your immediate cohabitants, family bubble. Anything else and you are risking your dinner table becoming a COVID hotspot.
To put a fine point on that, let me go through our current reality. 3,517 new cases today, cumulative total since March 4th, 266,986; 10,472 cases just since Monday. Essex County, more than 400 cases added today. Bergen, Passaic and Union over 300 added today. Camden, Hudson, Middlesex and Monmouth over 200. Five others over 100. We now have confirmation, with the heaviest of hearts, that another 18 New Jerseyans have died from COVID-related complications. A total of 14,694 blessed souls lost, with another 1,801 probable deaths.
Our positivity rate on test taken on Sunday is over 12%. Our rate of transmission is above one, it has been above one, it’s now at 1.3. There are 1,827 patients in our hospitals. That’s a number we have not seen since June 4th, including 243 new COVID confirmed patients who entered our hospitals alone, and 20 patients again not included in our fatality number because they’re not yet confirmed, who died in the hospital yesterday. We have 360 New Jerseyans being treated in our ICUs. That’s the highest number since June 12th, and 117 patients, Judy, are on a ventilator. We haven’t seen that number since July 7th.
Folks let these numbers sink in. COVID is not done with us, unfortunately not by a longshot. Unless we all recommit to the common sense measures that got us past the first horrendous months of this pandemic, we are in for a long, dark winter before a vaccine becomes broadly available. Again, we have got to get back to using our common sense for the common good.