Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) held a press conference yesterday to provide updates on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and winter storm in New Jersey.
The state recorded an additional 3,114 positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests yesterday, with an additional 542 probable cases of COVID-19. Officials also confirmed 34 deaths, bringing the statewide total to 626,645 confirmed cases and 19,384 deaths, according to the state’s COVID-19 Dashboard. Another 2,129 deaths were potentially linked to COVID-19.
There were 2,865 hospitalizations as of yesterday, with 531 patients in critical or intensive care and 355 patients on ventilators. Murphy said that all of these numbers are down and have continued to trend down.
“Remember, (COVID-19) will not take a snow day, so neither should our vigilance,” he said.
Murphy said the state has administered a total of a little less than 800,000 vaccinations as of yesterday, with 664,548 being first doses and 126,833 being second doses. In addition, all vaccine mega-sites were closed yesterday due to the storm, and those who had appointments will be rescheduled for later in the week, he said.
Despite many students having the day off yesterday due to the storm, Murphy said schools are generally moving closer toward increased in-person instruction.
“Over the past week we continue to see the trend moving as we had expected,” he said. “Away from all remote instruction and toward some form of in-person instruction, whether it be schools moving to a hybrid model or returning to all in-person instruction.”
As of yesterday, 89 districts follow all in-person instruction, 470 follow a hybrid model and 213 remain all remote. Murphy said the number of schools following complete remote instruction is down by 57 schools since last Monday.
Regarding the storm, he said yesterday the state of emergency that was declared on Sunday will remain in effect, and he also stressed the importance of staying home during this time.
“If you don't need to be out, go back to your house immediately. If you are in your house, don't leave your house … this is a huge storm,” he said.
Murphy said the New Jersey Department of Transportation has many protocols in place to help keep the public safe during this time, including having more than 3,900 pieces of equipment on the roads throughout the state and prepositioning towing equipment in typical trouble areas.
“Unless there is a reason, I cannot be more forceful about this, to be on the roads, do not be on the roads,” he said. “Please let the crews do their jobs undeterred and undistracted. You won't jeopardize their work, and you won't jeopardize your own safety.”