Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) held a press conference yesterday to discuss New Jersey’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination efforts as well as to announce new guidelines regarding long-term care facility visitation and upcoming elections.
The state reported an additional 2,608 positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests yesterday, pushing the statewide total to 767,583 confirmed cases. They also received 697 new positive antigen tests that are awaiting confirmation.
There were 1,921 hospitalizations as of yesterday, with 409 patients in critical or intensive care and 205 patients on ventilators, according to the New Jersey COVID-19 Dashboard.
Additionally, 28 newly confirmed deaths were reported, bringing the total to 21,666 deaths in New Jersey. Another 2,515 deaths were potentially linked to COVID-19.
Murphy said the state has now administered more than 3.5 million COVID-19 vaccines, going from 3 million to 3.5 million in the past week. Out of the total number of New Jerseyans who have received vaccines, approximately 2.3 million of them have gotten their first dose, with approximately 1.2 million being fully vaccinated, he said.
“The presence of vaccines ... does not mean the pandemic is over. We still have work to do together,” Murphy said. “Please remember that, even if you are vaccinated, the vaccine … does not make you bulletproof, and you are still capable of spreading the virus to those around you who have not yet been vaccinated.”
He announced yesterday that the New Jersey Department of Health released new guidelines that will allow in-person visitation for residents of long-term care facilities, regardless of one’s vaccination status, in areas that rank low to moderate on the COVID-19 Activity Level Index (CALI).
In places where the CALI is high or very high, and less than 70 percent of facility residents have been vaccinated, only residents who have been fully vaccinated will have access to indoor visitation, Murphy said. Though, outdoor visitation will continue to be allowed as it has been throughout the previous months.
“We recognize that families need to be able to be together, especially when so many have been kept apart for so long,” he said. “We expect all of our long-term care facilities to work … not just with us, but with their residents and the families of those residents to allow for visitations under these new guidelines.”
Murphy also announced that this year’s primary elections on June 8 will be held primarily in-person, with all regular polling places open for individuals seeking to vote in-person.
“We can take this step because our numbers, while up a bit over the past week, are holding steady, and we are expecting to be in a much better place two and a half months from now,” he said.