The frightening news: It was a record-breaking weekend for new COVID-19 cases — with the state topping the 6,000 mark for a day for the first time.
The better news: While the number of people in hospitals — and in intensive care units — is growing, the state is nowhere near where it was last spring.
The disconcerting news: It’s unclear if the numbers released this weekend reflect the expected increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
The state reported 6,046 new cases Sunday — following 5,367 new cases Saturday. The two-day total brings the state’s cumulative number to 368,016.
There also were 69 more confirmed fatalities, bringing that total to 15,485 — with another 1,836 fatalities presumed to be from COVID-19.
“These numbers speak for themselves,” Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted. “Mask up. Social distance. Wash your hands. Avoid gatherings.”
Murphy also announced there were 3,241 patients in hospitals, with 622 in intensive care and 396 of those on ventilators. The state had more than 1,000 people on ventilators into early May.
Late Friday, Murphy, state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford), Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge), Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Linden) and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (D-Elizabeth) announced they had come to an agreement on adult-use cannabis legislation.
The released a joint statement:
“Last month, New Jerseyans voted overwhelmingly in support of the creation of a well-regulated adult-use cannabis market. We’re proud to announce today that we’ve reached an agreement on legislation providing the framework for legalization, which is a critical step in reducing racial disparities and social inequities that have long plagued our criminal justice system.
“This legislation will accomplish our shared goals of delivering restorative justice and ensuring that the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs see the economic benefits of the adult-use cannabis market. While there is still much work ahead, we are one step closer to building a new, promising industry for our state.”
Outdoor entertainment clarification
Murphy and State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan announced an administrative order clarifying that indoor entertainment centers where a performance is viewed or given, including a movie theater, performing arts center and other concert venues, may host a performance in an adjacent outdoor area with a maximum capacity equivalent to the facility’s indoor capacity.