‘High’ COVID Transmission Across NJ; 21 Counties In ‘Red’: Federal Report

Source: NJ Patch

All of New Jersey is now in the “red” zone for coronavirus transmission severity, according to the latest State Profile Report by federal officials: all of the state’s 21 counties as being in the red, or “high,” zone for community transmission. Other levels are orange, or “substantial” transmission; yellow, or “moderate; and blue, or “low.”

That means the transmission rate in New Jersey has risen above the too-high 1.0 level, and anyone with the coronavirus is likely spreading the virus to more than one other person — a sign that the virus is still community-spread.

Senator Phil Murphy is expected to address the state’s COVID-19 status and possible new coronavirus guidelines for schools during a 1 p.m. news conference Wednesday.

The weekly State Profile Report, made in collaboration with the White House and other federal agencies, measures COVID-19 risk through metrics such as new cases per 100,000 people, percent changes in new cases and positivity rate. The report was previously released by the White House Coronavirus Task Force under the Trump administration.

Beginning with the new report, the federal government no longer provides “county and metro alerts” that had shown a declining number of counties suffering from the worst effects of the coronavirus outbreak. Now the government is basing its alerts on community transmission or spread.

Since the task force’s previous report, the coronavirus risk has risen in New Jersey. The number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 rose by its highest level in weeks — 11 percent.

The federal report is not the same as the state’s COVID Activity Report that’s been released by the Murphy administration every week and helps determine if schools will shift to remote or hold in-person instruction.

Despite the sizable distribution of vaccines, the state’s most recent report also shows that New Jersey has backslid in its management of COVID-19.

The report comes as New Jersey reopened parts of its economy for the first time in weeks. But Murphy also said he’s not going to announce any more reopenings anytime soon because of the spread of COVID-19 virus variants. Read more: Gov. Murphy: Surge In COVID Variants In NJ Will Delay Reopenings

The latest report shows a 0.5 percent increase in the test positivity rate. The state’s test positivity rate stands at 8.2 as of Tuesday, the report says.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations in New Jersey are also up. The report notes there were 2,764 new hospitalizations for the seven-day period ending March 19. That’s a 3 percent increase from the previous seven-day period and an 18 percent jump over a month ago.

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