N.J. now has 3 counties with more than 10,000 cases — likely to hit 100,000 cases statewide by next weekend

By Tom Bergeron
Trenton | Apr 20, 2020 at 7:00 am

Three counties in New Jersey now have more than 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases — a milestone only 16 entire states have hit.

Hudson County (now with 10,486) and Essex County (10,304) both topped the number Sunday, when the state announced there were 3,915 more cases overall. Bergen County leads the way, with 12,639 cases.

The state total is now at 85,301 — and is almost certain to reach six figures by the end of the week. Massachusetts (with approximately 36,000 cases) is the only state other than New York (nearly 250,000 cases) to even top 35,000.

The good news: Gov. Phil Murphy said Saturday that the state’s efforts at social distancing are flattening the curve.

Murphy showed three charts that indicated a stabilization. The growth of cases, he said, is flattening, as is the daily rate of hospitalizations. More importantly, he said the number of hospital discharges is actually higher than the number of admissions for the first time.

“We are flattening the curve,” he said. “This is a credit to each and every one of you who has taken to heart our aggressive social distancing measures and who continues to do your part.”

Here are the hospital statistics, as of 10 p.m. Saturday night:

  • 7,495 residents in hospitals;
  • 1,941 patients in critical or intensive care;
  • 1,628 patients on ventilators;
  • 780 patients were discharged.

The number of COVID-19 fatalities remains steady. Another 132 fatalities were reported Sunday, bringing the state’s overall total to 4,202.

Murphy repeatedly points out that the number of fatalities is not necessarily a snapshot of the previous 24 hours, as each instance requires an investigation, which can lead to reporting lags — especially on the weekend. That being said, the state appears to be on track to hit 5,000 fatalities by the end of the week.

Only three other states have even topped 1,500 deaths, according to CNN tracking: Massachusetts (1,560), Michigan (2,308) and, of course, New York (17,627).

New Jersey’s fatalities per 100,000 residents (48) is topped only by New York (91). Connecticut (30) has the third-highest total.

Other notes from the weekend:

Volunteers

Murphy again asked for more volunteers to help the state. And he noted residents do not have to be health care workers to help.

“For those of you who simply want to start giving back to your community, please visit covid19.nj.gov/help, and we will help match you with opportunities near you — whether it be delivering meals to older residents or those with special needs, or helping to stock a local food pantry,” he said. “These are critical needs.”

Murphy did say more health care workers are needed, specifically saying the state needed respiratory therapists, physicians, nurses and paramedics. Those with such experience who want to help can go to covid19.nj.gov/volunteer to sign up.

Murphy said more than 22,000 health care workers who have volunteered so far.

In memoriam

New Jersey Transit announced Raymond Kenny, senior vice president and general manager of rail operations, passed away from COVID-19-related complications. Kenny had led rail operations since last January.

“Ray’s reputation and experience in the industry are unparalleled,” NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett said in a statement. “The leadership and incredible wealth of railroad knowledge Ray brought with him has truly made a positive impact on our organization.”

Last week, NJ Transit announced Corbett, too, had tested positive for COVID-19.

The final word

Murphy on reopening the state: “There’s an absolute evident and natural pent-up desire to begin to get back to normal. That’s shared by everybody, including us, but we have to continue to make our decisions based on the facts and based on data and based on science. We have to have a plan.”

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