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Murphy discusses statewide vaccination efforts, NJ schools amid pandemic

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said yesterday that he hopes to reach the state's goal of having 4.7 million vaccinated adults by the start of the summer.  – Photo by Gov. Phil Murphy / Twitter

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) held a press conference yesterday to provide updates on the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the state’s vaccination efforts and New Jersey schools during the pandemic.

The state reported an additional 2,218 positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests yesterday, pushing the statewide total to 647,194 confirmed cases. They also received 516 positive antigen tests that are awaiting confirmation. This brings the total number of probable cases to 77,534, which has been determined through the total number of positive antigen tests.

There were 2,814 hospitalizations as of yesterday, with 540 patients in critical or intensive care and 373 patients on ventilators.

Additionally, there were 40 newly confirmed in-hospital deaths, bringing the state to a total of 19,824 deaths, according to New Jersey’s COVID-19 Dashboard. Another 2,187 probable deaths were also reported.

“Overall, the metrics we are seeing continue to point in the right direction,” Murphy said. “The number of new cases, both in terms of raw numbers and the rate of transmission, while still high, (is) far off the peaks we saw just several weeks ago.”

He announced yesterday that New Jersey has now administered more than one million vaccine doses statewide, with 813,216 of those being first doses and 224,237 being second doses.

It took the state 29 days from the issuance of the first vaccine on Dec. 15, 2020, to get to 250,000 vaccines administered statewide, Murphy said. After that, it took another 10 days to get to 500,000 and then an additional 16 days to get to one million.

Despite scarcity in the supply of vaccines and delays from the recent winter storms, he said the state was able to provide 500,000 vaccinations in a little more than two weeks. (2:36)

“Make no mistake, while this is a significant milestone, we have a good ways to go to reach our ultimate goal of 4.7 million vaccinated adults by the beginning of (the) summer,” Murphy said. “We are seeing increases in our supplies over the next three weeks and that is a big step in the right direction.”

Regarding New Jersey schools, he said the state is continuing its movement toward increasing in-person instruction. As of yesterday, 95 schools are open for all in-person instruction, with 491 operating in a hybrid format, 190 utilizing all-remote instruction and 35 using a mix of options.

Murphy said, since Feb. 1, a total of six schools have transitioned to in-person instruction, and 23 schools have moved away from all-remote instruction.

“The trend is going steadily in the direction of in-person instruction, at least in some form, which further supports our work toward making more educators eligible for vaccinations,” he said.

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