Another telling milestone: N.J. surpasses 1 million confirmed COVID cases

The first confirmed COVID-19 case in New Jersey wasn’t even called a confirmed case.

It was back on March 4, 2020 — back when people still didn’t know what to call it or what exactly a pandemic was — when the state announced that it had a “presumptive positive” case.

The ill person, a male in his 30s, had been hospitalized at Hackensack University Medical Center since the day before, the state said.

The presumptive positive result came from a sample tested by the New Jersey Department of Health at the New Jersey Public Health Environmental Laboratories and was submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmatory testing.

On Tuesday, New Jersey announced it had confirmed the 1 millionth case in the state — as the daily total of 1,857 positive PCR test results had pushed the overall state total to 1,000,067.

In simplest terms, that means that approximately one in 10 residents has become infected since that first case 18 months ago — based on a state population of just under 9.3 million.

State officials did not release any type of statement acknowledging a milestone that shows the reach of the pandemic. And, if there’s good news, it’s this: The state’s efforts to fight the pandemic are working.

While New Jersey was one of the hardest-hit states early on, there are now 10 states that have more total cases, including New York and Pennsylvania. California tops the list at 4.6 million. Texas went over 4 million cases Tuesday. And Florida has more than 3.6 million.

It should be noted, the number of positives in the state surpassed 1 million earlier, if you count results of antigen tests (there have now been 150,179 of those).

The state also announced Tuesday that there were 37 new confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 24,593 — plus 2,787 others that are assumed to have been COVID-related.

The good news: The state announced that 11,627,031 total doses of the vaccine have been administered — and that 5,839,319 individuals who live, work or study in the state are now fully vaccinated.