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Murphy, Persichilli give updates on NJ coronavirus vaccine efforts

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said New Jersey residents can access the state's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hotline to get more general information on the vaccine and learn if they are eligible to receive one. – Photo by Gov. Phil Murphy / Flickr

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) held another press conference yesterday to discuss the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in New Jersey and the state’s COVID-19 vaccine efforts.

He said they have received 3,694 new positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, bringing the statewide total to 598,600 positive cases. Additionally, they have received 645 new positive antigen tests, for a total of 68,291 positive tests.

There were 3,254 individuals hospitalized for the virus as of yesterday, with 598 patients in critical or intensive care and 392 patients on ventilators.

As of yesterday, there have been a total of 565,401 vaccines administered throughout the state, Murphy said. This is an increase of 65,179 vaccinations since Friday.

“We are doing our best to maximize the resources available to us, even with the limited weekly supply we are receiving,” he said. “We are averaging approximately 25,000 vaccinations per day across our six mega sites and through community-based and county and local government-sponsored sites.”

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said they continue to have a large imbalance between the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine and the actual supply they have available.

Persichilli said more vaccines will arrive in the upcoming weeks and months. More vaccine manufacturers will most likely receive approval soon, which will aid in the state’s supply, she said.

“We urge everyone to be patient. Other states are having similar vaccine shortage issues,” she said. “This is a huge undertaking, not only in New Jersey but (also) across our nation, unlike anything we have ever done before.”

Murphy said residents can access New Jersey’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline to ask general questions about vaccines, to see if they are eligible to receive one and what vaccination site is closest to them. The hotline operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is run by trained New Jersey-based operators.

During the press conference, Murphy also issued a new executive order that will allow the in-person collection of signatures for the state’s June primary election. He said that whether individuals choose to collect signatures virtually or in-person, it should be done both safely and responsibly.

Additionally, he discussed how schools throughout the state are currently operating after returning from winter break. Eighty-six schools are open for full in-person learning, while 414 schools are offering hybrid learning and 270 are operating completely remote. Additionally, there are 41 school districts that are implementing a variety of all-remote, in-person or hybrid learning.

“We are grateful to all school leaders and educators and families who continue to work together to ensure the right decisions for their education communities,” Murphy said.

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