The state reported 3,748 new positive COVID-19 cases and 198 new deaths today, April 9, bringing New Jersey to a total of 51,027 positives and 1,700 deaths. 

Although the number of positive cases rose from the 3,088 reported yesterday, the number of new deaths decreased from 275 reported yesterday. 

Twenty of the deaths were patients connected to a long-term care facility. 

“These are not numbers,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “These are people.”

Cases announced today could be from tests gathered up to two weeks ago due to backlogs at the labs, officials said.. 

The state is reporting that 44.11 percent of all residents tested have tested positive for the virus out of 100,478 tests conducted thus far. New Jersey is only testing individuals showing symptoms.

Bergen County still leads in the number of cases at 8,343, with 468 new cases reported today. Deaths there are total 345, with 31 new fatalities reported today. 

Essex County continues to report the second-most cases in New Jersey, with 6,069 to date. A total of 312 Essex residents have died. The county reported 471 new cases and 36 deaths on Thursday, down from new cases of 520 on Wednesday, and 44 deaths reported Wednesday.

Montclair reported that the number of confirmed cases is 231, up 28 cases from Wednesday. One more person was reported to have not survived the virus and Montclair is now up to 23 residents who have died due to complications with the virus.

Of the fatalities reported by state officials to date, 59 percent were male, 41 percent female. Forty-four percent of the deceased were over 80 years old; 33 percent were between the ages of 65 and 79; 17 percent between 50 and 64; 4 percent between 30 and 49; and 1 percent under the age of 30. Forty-seven percent had underlying medical conditions.

Last night, 7,363 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 or under investigation for COVID, an increase of 337 since yesterday. Of those, 1,523 were in critical care and 1,551 patients were on ventilators. In the last 24 hours, 604 patients had been discharged from hospitals. 

Officials said that 85 percent of COVID-19 positive patients would see mild to moderate symptoms, while 15 percent would be more severe cases. 

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that as of last night the Innovation Center reported that New Jersey could see a peak in patients having to be hospitalized in two to three days, with 14,400 residents being hospitalized of which 2,880 could need critical care beds.

Murphy said that even with the increase in testing, the positivity rate over the past few days has been creeping up a couple of tenths of percentage. But he said social distancing was needed now more than ever.

Yesterday, Murphy signed an executive order requiring all store retail employees and shoppers to wear face masks and gloves, and for stores to limit their occupancy to a maximum of 50 percent of the store’s capacity to aid in combating the spread of COVID-19. 

Persichilli also announced that $5 million in funding will be allocated to local health departments.

He also closed state parks after park rangers reported that park goers were not adhering to the ban on gatherings and that “a lot of out-state license plates were observed” on cars parked in the lots.