The state announced Monday that more than 6,000 people in New Jersey are hospitalized with COVID-19 — the first time the state’s hospitals have topped that marked since the opening days of the pandemic.
But, there’s a big catch.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said less than half of the 6,075 total — just 2,963 — came to the hospital specifically, principally because of COVID, as opposed to arriving for another reason only to be found to have COVID-19 while they are there.
Of the 2,963, Persichilli said “about 32%” are fully vaccinated — while the rest are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Gov. Phil Murphy agreed the state has a “significant number” of what he calls “incidental COVID” cases. He agreed that the 2,963 is a better number to use, but he also said that number does not paint the true picture.
“The Omicron story has been crafted or framed by unbelievable transmissibility and just sheer raw numbers of people getting infected, getting hospitalized, but with a general sense that it’s not as severe as Delta or other variants,” he said. “Which, while all that may be true, that doesn’t mean that it still can’t kill you or put you in the hospital. That’s the part of the story that I think all of us collectively tell less often than we should.”
The 6,075 number represents the highest total since April 29, 2020 — when the state announced there were 6,127 hospitalizations. That was just the second day the state began reporting such data. On April 28, the state said there were 6,253 patients.
Murphy also noted that the hospitalization numbers are nearly four times those from one month ago. There were 1,546 on Dec. 10.
The state also announced there were 843 people in intensive care (the highest since there were 857 on May 21, 2020).
In addition, there were 474 people on ventilators — the highest since Jan. 4, 2021, when there were 481.
The exact number of hospitalizations is not clear. The state reported that there were 6,075 people hospitalized as of 10 p.m. Sunday night — but that was with only 70 of the state’s 71 hospitals reporting. State officials said Saint Peter’s University Hospital had not reported its statistics yet, but the state hoped to have them by the end of the day.