Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted out the state's latest COVID-19 data on Thursday, as a reminder to restrict visiting over the holidays to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
There were 4,871 new positive tests recorded since Wednesday statewide, he said, bringing the total to 449,842. Almost 7.4 million New Jerseyans have been tested since the pandemic started in March.
Overnight there were 80 new confirmed deaths, bringing the total to 16,599 confirmed COVID deaths, with another 1,945 considered probable COVID deaths.
"Remember: This pandemic is not over. Social distance. Mask up. Stay safe," the governor wrote.
The latest COVID hospitalization information was not available during the day Thursday on the state website, which was stuck on Nov. 8, 2020. The web site had a notice saying it was experiencing technical difficulties. It was expected to return to functioning later in the day.
On Wednesday, Murphy said there were 3,841 people in New Jersey hospitals with COVID disease, which he said was at a level not seen since May.
“Folks, you are sick of hearing this — I don’t blame you,” Murphy said. “But don’t screw up Christmas. Don’t go big. Don’t go multigenerational. Stay within your own family.”
If getting together with others outside the immediate family, do so outdoors, he said then.
But the weather is not expected to be helpful to outdoor gatherings, with rain and stormy conditions predicted Christmas morning.
In our region, Ocean County had 482 new positive tests since Wednesday, followed by Atlantic County with 148, Cumberland County with 96, Salem County with 35 and Cape May County with 22.
Cape May County reported that efforts to vaccinate front line health care workers from COVID-19 is continuing. Vaccinations are taking place at Cape Regional Medical Center and the Cape May County Health Department is developing a plan to get vaccines to first responders early in 2021.
"We are happy to see the beginning of people here getting vaccinated, but we need everyone to understand this will be a long process," said Cape May County Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton. "The goal for New Jersey is 70% vaccination by the end of June. We want to wish our residents a Merry Christmas and a great holiday season as we all work to Finish Strong.”