Previous COVID-19 case numbers in N.J. included 300+ out-of-state residents

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that there were inaccuracies to report in the previous update on COVID-19 case numbers across New Jersey.

“A total of 316 cases which we reported last week have been removed from our count,” he said. “Upon further review, they were out-of-state reports that were transmitted to us by BioReference.”

BioReference Laboratories is a clinical laboratory company that is one of many labs across the state helping New Jersey to keep track of COVID-19 data. The error came after a recent uptick in cases being reported as “unknown counties,” which were actually non-New Jersey residents.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli highlighted the importance of accurate data.

“It’s essential to have accurate data to inform our response,” she said. “We continually work to enhance our data collecting and reporting.”

Other notes from Monday’s COVID-19 briefing:

Health metrics

Murphy announced that the state is now reporting an additional 316 positive test results, bringing the statewide total to 187,767 cases.

The governor also updated the number of confirmed COVID-19 related deaths to 14,077 with an additional 1,839 probable deaths. There have been four newly confirmed deaths, which came from August 11, July 9, July 2 and May 11.

On Sunday, 10 additional deaths were reported by New Jersey hospitals, but they are not yet lab-confirmed, so they are not a part of Monday’s count.

  • In hospital: 472 (264 confirmed cases, 208 under investigation);
  • In ICU: 91;
  • On ventilators: 38;
  • Rate of transmission: 03;
  • Positivity rate: 65% (from Aug. 13).

Voting procedures clarification

After some confusion from residents on the procedures for voting in New Jersey this November, Murphy wanted to clarify just exactly how voting will work.

“In our election on Nov. 3, there will be both the opportunity to vote by mail or to vote in person,” he said.

Murphy added that mail-in ballots will be sent to every registered voter in the state by Oct. 5 at the latest. Once received and filled in, the ballot can be mailed back to the state, can be dropped off at a secure drop box or can be dropped off directly at the voter’s polling location.

Voters can still vote in person, but Murphy explained that their vote will be provisional until the individual counties can confirm whether or not that voter also voted by mail.

“The poll worker will not know whether that person has voted in the mail or not,” Murphy said. “That box has to be checked so you’re preserving the sanctity of one vote per person.”

The governor also assured voters that all counties will have in-person voting locations for voters with disabilities equipped with machines that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Upcoming potential storms

The New Jersey Office of Emergency Management is currently monitoring two disturbances in the Atlantic Ocean with potential to become the next two named tropical storms.

“We’ll know more about these storms in three to five days,” State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan said.

If these disturbances are upgraded to tropical storms, they will be named Laura and Marco.

“We’ve already had the fastest J’s and K’s,” Murphy said. “They would be the fastest L’s and M’s ever in terms of naming storms.”

Final word

Murphy on the status of indoor dining:

Put aside the difference between how vital it is to get kids educated vs. the option you have to go out to eat — we are trying to get to ‘yes’ on indoor dining. We cannot put the car in reverse once we’ve made that decision, so we’re just being extra careful as we parse that through.”