N.J. reports 115 COVID deaths, 2,417 cases. Positive tests fall to pre-omicron levels.

N.J. reports 115 COVID deaths, 2,417 cases. Positive tests fall to pre-omicron levels.

New Jersey on Tuesday reported another 115 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 2,417 cases as the state’s seven-day average for confirmed positive tests continues to plummet to levels prior to the omicron variant surge that started in mid-December.

The state’s seven-day average fell to 4,742, down 41{baa23cc4f5ece99ce712549207939d5bbd20d937d534755920e07da04276f44d} from a week ago and 76{baa23cc4f5ece99ce712549207939d5bbd20d937d534755920e07da04276f44d} from a month ago. That’s the lowest average since Dec. 18.

The average peaked at 27,914 on Jan. 10. The highest single-day total of positive tests was 33,459 on Jan. 7.

There were 2,919 patients hospitalized among the state’s 71 hospitals with confirmed or suspected coronavirus as of Monday night. Hospitalizations are down about 46{baa23cc4f5ece99ce712549207939d5bbd20d937d534755920e07da04276f44d} from a peak of 6,089 on Jan. 11.

New Jersey’s statewide transmission rate for Monday was 0.55, well below the key benchmark of 1. The transition rate for Tuesday has not yet been updated.

The state saw a recent high transmission rate of 1.92 on Jan. 1. Any rate below 1 indicates the outbreak is on the decline with each new case leading to fewer than one additional case. When the rate is 1, that means the outbreak has leveled off at its current numbers.

The statewide positivity rate has also been dropping from earlier this month. The rate for tests conducted on Thursday, the most recent day available, was 10.62{baa23cc4f5ece99ce712549207939d5bbd20d937d534755920e07da04276f44d}. The rate had been above 30{baa23cc4f5ece99ce712549207939d5bbd20d937d534755920e07da04276f44d} through the early weeks of January.

But deaths, which tend to follow weeks or a month after a spike in cases, continue to mount. The state reported 2,380 confirmed deaths in the month of January, three more than 2,377 in January 2021 and the most in a month since May 2020, when 4,566 deaths were reported. The deadliest month was April 2020, with 7,011 fatalities.

Officials stress that daily death reports do not reflect fatalities that occurred in the last 24 hours and reporting is sometimes delayed for days or weeks as fatalities are investigated and certified.

For the week ending Jan. 15, the omicron variant accounted for 97.6{baa23cc4f5ece99ce712549207939d5bbd20d937d534755920e07da04276f44d} of positive tests sampled (delta variant was second at 2{baa23cc4f5ece99ce712549207939d5bbd20d937d534755920e07da04276f44d}). The omicron variant has accounted for more than 91{baa23cc4f5ece99ce712549207939d5bbd20d937d534755920e07da04276f44d} of cases sampled for three consecutive weeks, according to state data.

Officials continue to stress that while vaccinated and boosted residents can still catch the virus, they are less likely to spread it and far less likely to become hospitalized or die — especially those who have gotten booster shots.

The state does not issue daily breakdowns of the vaccine status of those who test positive, are hospitalized, or died because of the virus. Instead, officials release figures over a period of time.

For the four-week span from Dec. 13 to Jan. 9, New Jersey reported 522,499 total COVID-19 cases, with 4,060 hospitalizations and 446 deaths, Murphy said last week.

With 3.75 million residents having received only an initial vaccine course (one dose for the Johnson & Johnson or two doses of Pfizer or Moderna), there were 178,192 breakthrough cases that led to 1,328 hospitalizations and 104 deaths.

For the 2.47 million people who received booster shots on top of their initial vaccine course, there were 40,179 breakthrough cases that led to 310 hospitalizations and 23 deaths.

The latest figures were announced a day after a Republican lawmaker introduced another bill to try and curb Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive power to declare public health emergencies. But this time the proposal has the support of at least one Democratic lawmaker.

The proposal would limit the length a New Jersey governor could declare a state of emergency and public-health emergency to 60 days, unless the Legislature approves an extension.

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New Jersey’s recent surge in cases came as more people are getting tested than ever before. The state on Tuesday also reported 1,104 probable cases from rapid antigen testing at medical sites.

Officials stress case numbers are likely dramatically undercounted because many residents are testing at home, the results of which aren’t reported to the state.

All of New Jersey’s 21 counties are still listed as having “high” rates of coronavirus transmission, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency is recommending that all people in high transmission counties wear masks for indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status.


New Jersey, an early coronavirus hotspot, has now reported 31,557 deaths — 28,638 confirmed deaths and 2,919 probable deaths — in the more than 22 months since the pandemic began here. The probable deaths, which are revised weekly, increased Monday by 12 fatalities.

The state has the third-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the U.S. — behind Mississippi and Arizona — as of the latest data reported Monday.

New Jersey has reported 1,828,823 total confirmed cases out of more than 17.1 million PCR tests conducted since the state’s first case was announced on March 4, 2020. The state has also reported 286,482 positive antigen or rapid tests, which are considered probable cases.


A total of 2,919 coronavirus patients were hospitalized across the state’s 71 hospitals as of Monday night, according to state data. That’s 56 fewer people than the previous night and there were 278 people discharged over that same 24-hour period.

Of the those hospitalized, 505 (13 fewer than the previous night) people were in intensive care and 430 were on ventilators (five fewer).


More than 6.6 million of the 8.6 million eligible people who live, work or study in New Jersey have been fully vaccinated and more than 7.5 million have received a first dose since vaccines began here on Dec. 15, 2020.

More than 2.77 million of the 4.95 million people in New Jersey eligible for boosters have received one.

Persichilli said last week that number is “unacceptably low” and needs to increase.

Anyone 12 and older in the U.S. who has received their second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least five months ago is eligible to get a booster shot. Anyone 18 and older who has received two doses of the Moderna vaccine is eligible, as is anyone 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago. In most situations, the CDC recommends the Pfizer and Moderna boosters, though children 12 to 17 are only eligible for the Pfizer shot as a booster.


Cases continue to be reported among school staff and students in New Jersey, though not at the levels seen during the peak of the omicron wave activity right after the holiday break, according to state Department of Health numbers that track infections regardless of where the transmission occurred.

For the week ending Jan. 23, with around 64{baa23cc4f5ece99ce712549207939d5bbd20d937d534755920e07da04276f44d} of schools reporting data, another 13,524 confirmed cases were reported among staff (2,586) and students (10,938).

Since the start of the academic year, there have been 92,102 students and 25,782 school staff members who have contracted COVID-19, though the state has never had more than two-thirds of the school districts reporting data in any week.

The state provides total student and staff cases separately from those deemed to be in-school transmission, which is narrowly defined as three or more cases linked through contact tracing. New Jersey has reported 465 total in-school outbreaks including 3,138 students and staff.

At least 9,021 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data. There were active outbreaks at 564 facilities, resulting in 11,925 current cases among residents and 14,119 cases among staff as of the latest data.


As of Tuesday, there have been more than 378 million COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University, with more than 5.67 million people having died due to the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases (more than 74.9 million) and deaths (more than 886,600) of any nation.

There have been more than 9.98 billion vaccine doses administered globally.

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Matt Arco may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @MatthewArco.