By ERIN ROLL
New COVID-19 cases exceeded 2,000 in New Jersey for the second day in a row on Thursday, Nov. 5, while the overall positivity rate has now topped seven percent.
On Thursday, New Jersey officials reported 2,104 new cases, down from 2,472 reported on Wednesday. The state now has a total of 247,219 cases.
Twelve new deaths have been reported, up from nine on Nov. 4, bringing the total to 14,603. An additional 18 deaths have been reported in hospitals, but those have not yet been confirmed as COVID-19. The number of probable COVID-19 deaths now stands at 1,800.
The positivity rate hit a new high of 7.74 percent for tests conducted on Nov. 1, a rate that Gov. Phil Murphy deemed “unacceptable.” The virus transmission rate is currently 1.26. On Nov. 3, the positivity rate stood at 5.29 percent, while the virus transmission rate that day was 1.28.
New Jersey’s northern counties continue to lead in the numbers of new cases, with Bergen, Essex and Passaic counties all reporting more than 200 new cases each that day. The northern region of the state has a positivity rate of 8.76 percent, the central region is at 7.32 percent, and the southern region’s rate is 6.47 percent.
Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said cases are on the rise across the United States, with 100,000 new cases reported yesterday, which she termed an alarming milestone.
On Nov. 4, hospitals in New Jersey reported 1,224 patients, with 238 in critical care and 85 on ventilators. The night before, hospitals reported 1,213 patients, with 238 in critical care and 79 on ventilators.
Persichilli said that last week, the rolling average for hospital patients was at 420. Now, it is three times that.
Schools are now reporting 36 total outbreaks, affecting 146 people.
Montclair’s schools are planning to reopen for hybrid learning in the elementary schools on Nov. 16, while the middle and high schools are expected to reopen on Nov. 30.
The colder weather is a concern, Murphy said, since it is driving more people indoors, where the virus is more likely to spread.
Murphy said that one bright spot was that the weather was supposed to be warm and sunny over the next week. “Try to do as much of your life outdoors.”
More than four million New Jersey voters cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election, Murphy said. It is the highest turnout for any election in the state’s history, he said. He praised everyone who voted, regardless of which candidates or issues they voted for.
“Our civic society, our government institutions, and our democratic system are based on the voice of the people,” he said. “Votes choose leaders. Leaders don’t choose votes.”
The presidential election had not yet been called as of Nov. 5.
All three public questions passed, including a public question on legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use, which passed by a 2-to-1 margin and spanned both sides of the political aisle, Murphy said. “This is a matter of social justice, racial justice, economic justice, and at the end of it, flat out common sense.”
Essex County reported 208 new cases on Nov. 5, down from 357 on Nov. 4, bringing the total number of cases to 26,028. Officials did not report any new deaths, compared to one on Nov. 4, and the total stands at 1,920.
Montclair health officials reported seven new cases on Nov. 5, down from 12 on Nov. 4, bringing the total from 686 to 693. Officials said no connection has been found between any of the new cases. No additional deaths have been reported, and the number of deaths is at 57.