New Jersey reports 4,000 new COVID cases and 19 new deaths

New Jersey reports 4,000 new COVID cases and 19 new deaths

A day after Christmas, many of the key numbers used to track COVID-19 continued to drop, although the deadly virus continued to take its toll.

New Jersey reported another 4,000 cases of the coronavirus and 19 additional confirmed COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, while hospitalizations continued to drop and the statewide transmission rate stayed below the key benchmark of 1. The state had reported 51 additional deaths on Friday

Gov. Phil Murphy has urged residents to keep gatherings small with only people in their immediate family bubble during Christmas and New Years celebrations to avoid a surge following the holidays.

The statewide rate of transmission of the virus did not drop, staying at 0.95, but still remained below 1. Prior to Saturday, the rate dropped for 12 straight days to 0.95, the lowest it’s been since Sept. 2.

Any number over 1 means each person who gets COVID-19 is spreading the disease to more than one person, and getting the rate below 1 is considered key to suppressing the pandemic.

Statewide hospitalizations dropped to 3,431 patients being treated for confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases as of Friday night. That’s much lower than the more than 8,000 patients at the peak of the first wave in April. Hospitalizations had hovered above 3,500 since Dec. 8., with Saturday dropping below the benchmark.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care continued to drop, from 753 on Thursday night to 724 on Friday night. The number of patients on ventilators also dropped to 478.

Officials say the largest percentage of recent new cases — more than 60% — are a result of transmission in private settings and are coming from all over the state.

Since the outbreak started in March, New Jersey has reported 458,901 cases out of more than 7.46 million tests administered. Those totals do not include rapid tests.

The state of 9 million residents has reported 18,613 deaths — 16,668 confirmed and 1,945 probable fatalities from complications related to the virus.