COVID is spiking again in NJ. What does that mean for Thanksgiving?
Less than a week before families and friends will gather for Thanksgiving, the COVID metrics in New Jersey are moving in the wrong direction.
No restrictions have been imposed on indoor gatherings as the pandemic drags on, but health officials are urging caution.
Gov. Phil Murphy has given no indication any new restrictions will be imposed ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has encouraged people to wear masks in indoor settings where vaccination status is not known.
New Jersey's rate of transmission (r/t) has now risen to 1.15, indicating an active spread of the virus. For every 100 infected people, they will infect 115 more and the number multiply exponentially from there.
Hospitalizations are also rising again. After holding beneath 700 for more than a week, the state reports 765 are hospitalized this morning, including 166 patients in need of life supporting care.
On a local level, we are also seeing greater risk of community spread just about everywhere.
Only three counties remain off the CDC's highest risk tier. A week ago, more than half of New Jersey's counties had been downgraded.
Union, Hudson and Essex counties are classified as 'significant risk" for community spread, according to the CDC's data tracker website, but each county has seen a spike in new COVID cases over the last seven days. A 24% increase in Essex. 32% in Hudson. 33% in Union.
Three weeks ago, Union County had the lowest risk of community spread in the United States.
State health officials and Murphy have been warning of a spike in cases as the weather turns colder and the holidays arrive. They have been using the increase in new cases to urge those already vaccinated to get a booster shot and to urge parents to take their kids for the shots.
Demand for the booster and for vaccinating kids as young as 5 continues to be low.