COVID-19: Positive curve outlook, though uptick in cases
By GWEN OREL
The overall trend of hospitalizations for COVID-19 in New Jersey continues to improve Sunday, with the number of hospitalized residents declining for the fourth straight day.
Still, the state health department posted updated numbers on its website Sunday showing that another 3,881 residents had tested positive in the past day, and 132 residents had died as a result of the virus. New Jersey's totals now stand at 85,301 total cases and 4,202 total deaths.
As of 3 p.m. Sunday, 7,495 residents were hospitalized throughout the state, down from 7,718 Saturday afternoon. The number of patients in critical or intensive care dropped from 2,024 on Saturday to 1,940 Sunday. The number of patients on ventilators stayed flat, with 1,624 Saturday and 1,628 Sunday.
As has been the case the past several weeks, Gov. Murphy did not hold a Sunday briefing. His most recent address on Saturday showed optimism that the number of cases and hospitalizations had begun to level off during the past three weeks, although he stressed that New Jersey was "not out of the woods yet."
It should be noted that testing likely does not offer a complete picture of the spread of the coronavirus, as tests are only being administered to people showing symptoms, and results may take up to two weeks to be processed. More than 45 percent of residents who have been tested thus far have tested positive, according to the state's figures.
The actual number of people who have been infected with COVID-19 is likely much higher than numbers being reported, experts say, because many people who contract the virus are believed to be asymptomatic.
Essex County reported 398 new positive tests and eight deaths on Sunday. Essex is second in the state for COVID-19-related deaths, with 740, trailing only Bergen County (767). It is third in the number of total cases with 9,906, behind Bergen (12,639) and Hudson (10,486).
The state reported that 39 long-term care facilities in Essex County had reported outbreaks, resulting in 1,103 total cases and 224 deaths. Both of those totals are the second-highest in the state, behind Bergen County (2,165 and 415).
Montclair was reporting 290 cases and 32 deaths as of Saturday night. Updated numbers were not available as of 3 p.m. Sunday.
Essex County is continuing its testing site at Weequahic Park at Newark this Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, April 20, 22, and 24. The county will test 250 residents each day by appointment. Only those showing symptoms will be tested. According to a release from the county, they are working through a waiting list of residents who applied earlier and were unable to be tested because of overwhelming demand. New registrations will be accepted when the waiting list is exhausted.
Yesterday, both Murphy and Persichilli noted that the COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting communities of color, with the mortality rate among African American patients 50 percent higher than the overall representation among the state’s population.
Of the deaths for which demographic data is available, 51.9 percent were white, 22 percent were black or African American, 16.7 percent were Hispanic or Latino, 5.4 percent were Asian, and 4.8 percent other.