This afternoon, New Jersey reported an additional 3,694 positive COVID-19 tests increasing the statewide total to 584,291. An additional 118 confirmed deaths were announced, increasing the statewide total to 18,754. The positivity rate is at 10.1% as of Friday and the rate of transmission is at 1.04.
The Governor emphasized that there are currently two separate vaccination categories: the first is a federally administered vaccination program which delivers vaccines to long term care (LTC) facility individuals and residents and other populations under federal provision, of which NJ has one of the highest vaccination rates of the nation. This category is administered by CVS and Walgreens.
The second category of vaccine doses go to NJ's six mega sites and 133 sites currently online; as of now 50-70% of the daily available vaccine supplies are being distributed from this category; at a higher rate than that of the aforementioned category. 500,222 doses have been distributed so far, with over 65,000 LTC residents and staff.
On Monday morning, a call-in hotline will be available to help individuals schedule vaccination appointments 855-568-0545, particularly for the State's elderly residents.
Two U.K. COVID-19 variant cases have been identified in New Jersey. One of the individuals did not reflect travel history or contact with anyone with COVID-19. The other, a child, was asymptomatic but did show travel history in recent weeks. The current vaccines are effective against this new variant. The variant is assumed to be more transmittable but not seen as more lethal at this point in time.
Governor Phil Murphy announced that Paul R. Rodríguez, Director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, will be replaced by Kaitlin Caruso as Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Attorney General's Office. Former Director Rodriguez will be leaving the Murphy Administration to join the Biden-Harris Administration effective immediately. Please find the link to the release here. This appointment followed last week's announcements that Carol Johnson, former Department of Human Services Commissioner and Justin Dews, former counsel to the Governor also joined the Biden Harris Administration. Additionally it was announced that Chief Policy Advisor, Vinn White, will be leaving the NJ Department of Transportation to join the federal Department of Transportation.
The Department of Labor announced that the number of initial unemployment claims has gone down this past week, and the $300 extra in unemployment claims has began to be distributed.
On Tuesday, Governor Phil Murphy held a press briefing and emphasized that NJ is in need of additional vaccine doses and is hopeful that with a new administration, they can ramp up in-state capabilities. The Governor extended the public health emergency for the 11th time. The public health emergency must be extended every 30 days to remain in effect.
The following categorizes where NJ is at in vaccinating certain vulnerable populations:
- Nursing homes: 90% scheduled for vaccination clinics
- Intellectual or developmental disability centers and homes: 90% scheduled
- Residential care facilities: 74% scheduled
- Assisted-care facilities: 64% scheduled
Governor Murphy also provided an updated on NJ schools:
- 80 are open for in-person instruction
- 360 are offering hybrid or in-person and remote instruction
- 325 are offering fully remote instruction
- 46 districts implementing a mix of all remote, in-person, and hybrid learning