'An early warning sign': NJ's COVID-19 transmission rate on the rise, Murphy says

Maya Rajamani
July 06, 2020 - 1:14 pm

TRENTON, N.J. (1010 WINS) -- New Jersey’s COVID-19 transmission rate exceeded 1.0 for the first time in 10 weeks this past weekend, an “early warning sign” that residents must do more to prevent the virus’ spread, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. 

On Saturday and Sunday, the state’s rate of transmission stood at 1.03, Murphy said during his daily briefing on Monday. 

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“This means that for every new case of COVID we are seeing, that case is leading to at least one other new case,” he explained. “This is an early warning sign that, quite frankly, we need to do more.” 

Several recent outbreaks across the state have been linked to travel to COVID-19 hotspots, he said. Hoboken recently reported 13 new cases, 12 of which were “directly tied to travel to known hotspots."

North Jersey, meanwhile, saw several new cases tied to travelers who returned from a wedding in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Murphy said.

“I want us to be able to deliberately and responsibly continue down our road back,” he said. “I do not want to have to hit another pause on our restart because a small number of New Jerseyans are being irresponsible and spreading COVID-19 while the rest of us continue to work hard to stop it.”

New Jersey residents must self-quarantine for 14 days if they return from COVID-19 hotspots, and continue to wear face coverings, even on hot days, he said.

“COVID-19 doesn’t care about the weather. It only cares about finding another person to infect,” he said. “Don’t be a willing host.”

Murphy on Monday reported 216 new positive COVID-19 cases and 20 new deaths, bringing the state’s case total to 173,611 and its death toll to 13,373. The state is also investigating 1,856 probable COVID-19 deaths, he said. 

As of Sunday, 861 people in the state were hospitalized, 187 of whom were in critical or intensive care, according to state data.

“We are continuing down our road back," Murphy said. "However, today we are seeing a sign that we all need to take with the utmost seriousness, and which we all need to work together to reverse."