BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
“The curve is flattening. But this is no time to spike any footballs or to take our foot off the gas,” Gov. Phil Murphy said today.
While the number of cases is still on the rise, today’s April 6 debriefing brought some good news to New Jerseyans about the COVID fight — the state is showing a decline in the growth rate of new cases, from 24 percent on March 30 to about 12 percent today.
Case numbers are based on test results that are coming in from up to five to seven days ago; deaths reported are over a span of a few days. The lock-down was implemented 14 days ago.
“We still have a week and a half to go, at least, until we hit the peak,” Murphy warned. “This isn’t over – not by a long shot.”
Today, the state reported a total of 3,663 new cases, totaling 41,090, with 369 out of Essex County. The state reported 86 new deaths, now up to 1,003.
Fourteen of those deaths reported today were Essex County residents.
Essex County now has 4,493 cases, up 411 since yesterday’s reporting. There have been 186 deaths related to COVID-19 in Essex County to date.
Today, the Montclair Health Department reported that the confirmed number of COVID-19 reported cases in Montclair is 181, rising from yesterday’s number of 165. Twenty individuals have not survive the illness.
Without the lock-down implemented two weeks ago in preparation for the coronavirus’ spread, projections were that 3 million New Jerseyans would contract COVID-19.
Hypothetically, with the lock-down, the worst-case scenario has COVID-19 peaking in New Jersey on May 11 at 509,000 cases. The best-case scenario is that the peak will happen on April 19 at 86,000 cases, Murphy said in his press debriefing.
Projected hospitalizations are at worst projected to peak on April 28, with 36,000 residents being hospitalized, and the best case peaking on April 10 at 9,000.
The governor said his two priorities are making sure New Jerseyans stay at home, thereby flattening the curve and giving the healthcare system the ability to withstand the onslaught, and ensuring that PPE and equipment front-line responders need to get to where it’s needed most, efficiently and before there’s a crisis.
The projections are based on the impact of social distancing, the number of positive cases reported daily, the number of COVID patients in the hospital, the length of stay, and the number of patients under investigation.
All attending the debriefing came in wearing masks. Last Thursday, state officials backed off the recommendation to not wear a mask as did the Centers for Disease Control. Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli recommended hand-washing before putting on a mask or removing it, if possible. She reminded residents that masks are not a replacement for social distancing of at least six feet and staying at home, and that residents should not be using surgical, medical-grade masks or N95 masks due to the shortage for medical personnel.
If you need a fabric mask, Moline Kronberg Cleaners in Upper Montclair has been making them and is giving them to any resident who stops in.
Fifteen of the deaths reported today came from long-term-care facilities. Of all the COVID-19-related deaths to date, 60 percent were male, 40 percent female. The age ranges are: 1 percent under 30, 6 percent 30 to 49, 16 percent 50 to 69, 32 percent 65 to 79, and 45 percent over the age of 80. Thirty-three percent were white, 12 percent African-American, 2 percent Asian and 7 percent other.
Out of the 1,003 deaths, 399 had underlying medical conditions, with the following breakdowns: 12 percent diabetes, 20 percent cardiovascular disease, 4 percent cancer, 7 percent chronic renal disease, 8 percent respiratory disease (asthma, COP, emphysema) and 10 percent other chronic diseases.
Some of the deaths are still under investigation.
Out of the 84,768 test results reported to date, 36,826 have been positive, giving a current positivity rate of 43.4 percent, Persichilli said.