NJ hits record for new COVID cases reported in a day as second wave surges, testing ramps up
Line wraps up around City MD for COVID testing in Paramus on November 12, 2020. NorthJersey.com
New Jersey reported its highest single-day total for new coronavirus cases ever on Saturday as the second wave continues to surge and the state ramps up its testing capabilities.
The Garden State broke its record Saturday, reporting 4,395 new cases, topping its previous high of 4,391 new cases reported on April 17.
"These numbers are alarming and concerning, to say the least," Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted on Saturday. "Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe."
The cases and deaths announced on a particular day do not necessarily mean they all happened in the past 24 hours and higher reported case numbers are expected as New Jersey's testing capacity grows. New Jersey is recording on average 45,000 PCR tests a day, in addition to rapid testing being used throughout the state, Murphy said Thursday.
However, the percent of positive tests as of Nov. 8 remained high at 12.02%.
The state also reported 26 new confirmed deaths, the highest in a single day since June 23.
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New Jersey's rate of transmission was 1.35 as of Saturday. A value above 1 means more cases are likely, while a value below 1 means the number of infections is expected to fall.
A major difference between the first and second wave continues to be the number of hospitalizations. As of Nov. 13, 2,000 patients were hospitalized with the disease in New Jersey. Hospitalizations reached over 6,000 during the first wave in April.
The sobering numbers come the same week Murphy enacted stricter restrictions in an attempt to slow the virus. On Thursday a curfew was implemented to close indoor dining and bars at 10 p.m. while indoor interstate sports were also stopped.
North Jersey faced the brunt of the new Saturday cases. Essex County had the highest total at 648 followed by Bergen, Passaic and Union counties.
State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Thursday that contact tracing was able to show that 70 recent COVID cases were linked to Halloween parties, including one party in Union County linked to 30 cases.
She said that between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1:
- 33% of the 51 identified outbreaks in New Jersey were tied to sports teams
- 11% to government workplaces, 10% to public safety workplaces
- 10% to day care facilities,
- 6% to weddings
- 6% to parties and gatherings
- Only 2% were linked either to hotels or casinos
The high number of reported cases also come on the weekend in which governors of six Northeast states, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Vermont, are holding a COVID-19 summit to coordinate on any future restrictions in the region as coronavirus infections rise.