New Jersey Watching Soaring COVID Hospitalizations Due to Omicron Variant

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy continued to warn of the tsunami of COVID-19 cases in the state Monday as he shared that the more than 22,000 new cases reported Monday are likely an undercounting due to home tests not reported to local health officials.

U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said watching hospitalization numbers is a better indicator of Omicron’s impact than case numbers. Murphy shared these charts comparing hospitalization numbers in New Jersey, adding that there are more people in the hospital now than during the surge last winter.

“We have more people in the hospital today than at any point in the past year, and the most since early May 2020.” Murphy said Monday. “The case numbers we are seeing today blow anything we have seen since the start of the pandemic out of the water. Wear your mask. Get your booster.”

He also reported 4,715 patients in hospitals Monday (4,609 confirmed COVID-positive, 106 persons under investigation). The breakdown is as follows: 644 patients in ICUs; 284 ventilators in use; 461 patients discharged; 846 COVID-positive patients admitted; and 2 in-hospital deaths.

Murphy stated that on January 1st he formally notified leadership in the Senate and Assembly to extend for an additional 90 days the administration’s emergency powers related to vaccine distribution and administration, testing, and ensuring adherence to CDC guidance in vulnerable settings.

Murphy also requested a 90-day extension for a number of administrative orders, directives, and waivers issued by departments and agencies in response to the pandemic.

One positive report from Murphy was a lower-than-anticipated number of outbreaks directly traced to in-school activities.

“This speaks directly to the importance of the layered approach to student and staff safety we have in place. We currently have no intention or plan to shut our schools down. We will do everything we can to keep our kids in school where we know they will have a more appropriate educational experience but where the data actually shows us they can be safe,” said Murphy.

The New Jersey Department of Health is offering guidance regarding the “Test to Stay” option – using contact tracing and testing to allow an asymptomatic student who was determined to be a close contact of another student who has tested positive to remain in-school if they test negative.

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