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BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

The 19-24 age group now has the highest percentage of positivity of COVID-19 in the state, Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said at today’s briefing. 

That population’s positivity is now up to 6 percent, with 14- to 18-year-olds coming in second at 4 percent. All other age groups have declining or flat positivity percentages, she said.

Persichilli said that health officials are reporting an increase in social gatherings during August, which is driving transmission of the virus. She also said there is an increase of the virus in college students in some parts of the state who have returned to off-campus housing rather than living on-campus. 

REUSE YOUR OLD DRIVER’S LICENSE PHOTO

As customers continue to complain about long lines at New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission sites, Gov. Phil Murphy has extended the use of current driver’s license or ID card photos for up to 12 years, allowing more people to renew online.

For residents over 65, the photo can be used indefinitely. 

More people are conducting renewals online, with 70 percent, up from 40 percent last year, renewing registrations via the website and 55 percent, up from 20 percent last year, renewing licenses online. 

By extending the number of years the photos can be used up to 12 years instead of the previous eight-year allowance, the state hopes more people will use the online renewal services instead of making a trip to the agency. 

Of the approximately 285,000 transactions the agency is now conducting weekly, most are out-of-state transfers, new licenses and private vehicle sale registrations, said MVC Commissioner Sue Fulton. 

As new car inventory is low, used-car sales are rocketing, she said. Paperwork for these transactions has to be done in person at an MVC site. 

Customers should not have to stand in line all day, as the agencies issue tickets at 8 a.m. to customers who can leave until they receive a call when their appointment time is nearing, Fulton said. She did advise that customers should arrive at 6:45 a.m. at the Wayne agency to get their ticket.   

The agencies will also begin offering special days and times for seniors.

TODAY’S NUMBERS

The number of daily new cases has increased, with 518 being reported today, Sept. 11, compared to 284 reported on Tuesday. The total of COVID-19 cases is now at 195,888. 

The positivity rate of tests continues to rise, from 1.83 percent reported on Tuesday to 2.6 percent today. The virus transmission rate has crept down, from 1.10 on Tuesday to 1.08 today. 

Officials also reported nine new deaths, up from the  five reported on Tuesday. The total number of confirmed deaths is now 14,234, with another 1,789 considered probable COVID-19 deaths. In addition, hospitals reported eight deaths over the last 24 hours, up from the five reported on Monday.

Hospitals had a slight uptick in COVID-19 patients last night, reporting 482, of which 242 were not confirmed positives. Last night 81 patients were in the ICU, with 44 percent of those patients on ventilators. On Monday, hospitals reported 419 COVID-related patients, including 82 in critical care and 33 on ventilators. 

Today, Essex County health officials reported three new deaths since Tuesday, with the county total now 1,873. Since Tuesday, 16 new cases were reported, down from the 105 new cases reported over the weekend. The number of county positives is now at 20,366.

After reporting an increase in cases over the last several weeks, Montclair health officials reported no increase from Wednesday to Thursday. But on Friday, three more cases were reported now the number remains at 540. The number of deaths remains at 56. 

Montclair has seen 37 new cases since Aug. 27, following several weeks of new case numbers remaining flat. Since Sept. 3, 15 of those cases have been identified in long-term-care facilities, according to township officials. State officials reported those cases are connected to Montclair Manor. 

Officials would not comment on the increase in cases. 

The county announced future testing sites: 

  • Monday, Sept. 14, 4 to 6 p.m., Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 217 Prospect St., South Orange.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 15, 4 to 6 p.m., American Little League Field, Reinheimer Park, 40 Bloomfield Ave., Nutley.
  • Thursday, Sept. 17, 4 to 6 p.m., Essex County Airport, 27 Wright Way, Building M, Fairfield.