NJ reports 97 new COVID-19 deaths, most in 6 months, 4,111 new cases as vaccinations begin

New Jersey reported 4,111 new cases of the coronavirus and another 97 deaths on Tuesday, the most since mid-June, when health workers became the first people in the state to receive a vaccination against the virus.

The state’s seven-day average for positive cases fell to 4,741, after it recently increased more than 5,000. That is 7% lower than a week ago, but 33% higher than a month ago.

Statewide transmission speed fell to 1.10 on Tuesday, indicating a possible plateau in new cases after a rise in the second week after Thanksgiving.

However, hospital admissions continued to rise, reaching 3,660 patients as of Monday evening, the highest number since mid-May.

Earlier in the day, Governor Phil Murphy was at University Hospital in Newark to witness the first vaccines being administered.

“Today, as we celebrate our first vaccinations, we mourn everything we’ve lost,” Murphy said in a tweet announcing the 97 deaths. “This is not over yet. Stay vigilant. “

Maritza Beniquez, an emergency room nurse at the hospital, was the first person to receive a dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine at approximately 8:10 AM. Applause erupted from everyone around Beniquez after she received the vaccine.

“I don’t want to be afraid anymore,” Beniquez said of working in the hospital with COVID-19 positive patients.

Numerous other health workers at the University Hospital and five other hospitals in the Garden State are also expected to receive the first of two doses on Tuesday.

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The death toll from the virus in New Jersey is now 17,872, with 16,004 fatalities confirmed and 1,868 listed as probable. The state has already had 810 COVID-19 deaths in December.

Murphy nearly closed the door on Monday on the New Jersey curfew on indoor bars and restaurants, intended to slow the spread of the virus in time for New Year’s Eve.

The sale of food and alcohol indoors is prohibited in the state after 10 p.m., and counties and municipalities have the option of closing non-essential businesses as early as 8 p.m. daily. The rules, which Murphy went into effect last month, mean the New Year’s celebrations will not be held in a neighborhood bar or restaurant.

State contact tracers, meanwhile, hit a wall when it comes to trying outbreak outbreaks.

Seventy-eight percent of the people contacted by the state’s more than 3,300 tracers last week would not work with them, Murphy said Monday. It’s up from 74% of people who turned down the week before.

Murphy has called the process of detection “extremely critical” for slowing the spread of the virus.

COUNTY-BY-COUNTY NUMBERS (sorted by most new)

  • Middlesex County: 37,721 positive tests (415 new), 1,350 confirmed deaths (207 probable)
  • Bergen County: 41,216 positive tests (391 new), 1,961 confirmed deaths (254 likely)
  • Hudson County: 37,925 positive tests (373 new), 1,483 confirmed deaths (159 probable)
  • Passaic County: 35,996 positive tests (319 new), 1,234 confirmed deaths (144 probable)
  • Essex County: 41,767 positive tests (309 new), 2,068 confirmed deaths (234 likely)
  • Monmouth County: 25,981 positive tests (277 new), 853 confirmed deaths (94 probable)
  • Union County: 32,935 positive tests (274 new), 1,314 confirmed deaths (171 probable)
  • Camden County: 24,248 positive tests (254 new), 685 confirmed deaths (58 probable)
  • Ocean County: 26,733 positive tests (223 new), 1,153 confirmed deaths (70 probable)
  • Burlington County: 17,392 positive tests (215 new), 527 confirmed deaths (45 likely)
  • Mercer County: 16,515 positive tests (193 new), 651 confirmed deaths (37 likely)
  • Morris County: 17,092 positive tests (160 new), 750 confirmed deaths (157 probable)
  • Gloucester County: 11,756 positive tests (147 new), 320 confirmed deaths (8 likely)
  • Atlantic County: 9,880 positive tests (125 new), 305 confirmed deaths (16 likely)
  • Somerset County: 10,923 positive tests (118 new), 551 confirmed deaths (82 probable)
  • Cumberland County: 6,368 positive tests (89 new), 186 confirmed deaths (8 likely)
  • Sussex County: 3,455 positive tests (51 new), 164 confirmed deaths (39 likely)
  • Salem County: 2,232 positive tests (47 new), 97 confirmed deaths (5 likely)
  • Warren County: 3,181 positive tests (33 new), 163 deaths confirmed (13 likely)
  • Hunterdon County: 3,108 positive tests (31 new), 79 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
  • Cape May County: 2015 positive tests (21 new), 110 confirmed deaths (13 likely)


There were 3,660 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in 71 New Jersey hospitals as of Monday night. That is 25 more than the previous night.

It includes 727 in critical or intensive care units (23 more than the previous night), with 456 on fans (35 less).

According to the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 291 patients were discharged from hospitals on Monday.

NJ DOH 12/14/20

NJ DOH 12/14/20


While hundreds of school districts have announced coronavirus cases and dozens of New Jersey schools have temporarily switched to all out-of-the-way classes since the start of the school year, state health officials have said only 88 schools have confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks.

Since the start of the school year, there are now a total of 388 cases of school transmission in those 88 schools.

Those numbers exclude students or staff who are believed to be infected outside of school, or cases that cannot be confirmed as outbreaks in school.

While the number continues to rise every week, Murphy has said school outbreak statistics remain below what government officials expected when schools reopened for in-person classes. The extensive rules for schools, including social distance guidelines for classrooms and strict mask requirements, have made schools among the safest places in the state, he said.


By age, the 30- to 49-year-olds make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents who have contracted the virus (31.6%), followed by the 50-64 (24%), 18-29 (19%) , 65 -79 (11.3%), 80 years and older (6.1%), 5-17 (6.5%) and 0-4 (1.3%).

On average, the virus has been more deadly to older residents, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Nearly half of the COVID-19 deaths in the state were among residents 80 and older (47.69%), followed by those 65-79 (31.78%), 50-64 (15.84%) , 30-49 (4.31%), 18-29 (0.37%), 5-17 (0%) and 0-4 (0.02%).

At least 7,402 of the COVID-19 deaths in the state were among residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. That number has risen more rapidly in recent weeks.


According to a running count from Johns Hopkins University, there have been 73 million positive COVID-19 tests around the world as of Tuesday morning. More than 1.62 million people have died of complications from the coronavirus.

The US reported the most cases, with 16.5 million, and the most deaths, with more than 300,700.

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Matt Arco can be reached at [email protected].