Governor Phil Murphy announced an additional 2,442 new positive COVID-19 cases in NJ, increasing the statewide total to 979,907. An additional 26 deaths were announced, increasing the statewide total to 24,382. 5,749,092 New Jerseyeans are now fully vaccinated.
Yesterday morning, the Governor announced that NJ will be instituting a universal pre-kindergarten for all 3 and 4 year olds in the state. The Governor didn't specify a timeline or total cost in his remarks. In addition to universal pre-k, the Governor also announced that 19 school districts have been awarded $17 million for pre-k expansion during the 2021-2022 school year.
Wednesday, the Governor reiterated the importance of mental health and stated that help and support is available through the Department of Health and Human Services and the Mental Health Association. NJ residents can call 866-202-HELP or text "NJHOPE" to 51684 for free, confidential support from 8am-8pm.
He also announced that September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and anyone needing support or help can contact the NJ Hopeline at 855-654-6735 as it is available 24/7.
The State is still awaiting federal authorization and guidance for booster vaccinations from the FDA. NJ is continuing to prepare for the for reopening and restructuring of vaccination sites in all regions of the State as it anticipates high demand for the shots. Pending the authorization, all individuals vaccinated by March could be eligible to receive a third dose at this time.
The NJ Department of Health Commissioner, Judy Persichilli stressed on Wednesday that if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to get tested. There is now an antibody treatment available to those who fit the criteria. She also encouraged the public to get their flu shot this season as it is available to individuals 6months and older. The flu shot can be received at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccination.
On Monday, Governor Murphy outlines how effective vaccines have been thus far. Vaccines continue to have a high efficacy rate, as demonstrated through studies citing that unvaccinated individuals are at 11 times greater risk of death due to COVID, and are at a 10 times greater risk of hospitalization due to COVID. Overall effectiveness against hospitalization is 86% among vaccinated individuals. Vaccine effectiveness among 75 and older individuals is 76% and among the 18-74 age group is 89%. The CDC did caution that the decline in effectiveness could be caused by changes in the virus and/or the waining vaccine induced immunity with increased time since vaccination.
The Governor and Colonel Pat Callahan also addressed the ongoing recovery efforts from Tropical Storm Ida. On Monday, the death toll rose to 30 individuals. Five more counties were added to the Major Disaster Declaration which now includes: Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Union.