‘I’m begging you. Please get vaccinated.’ COVID-19 positivity rate quadruples in New Jersey
Gov. Phil Murphy and state health officials are urging all New Jersey residents who are unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This comes as the state’s positivity rate quadruples from where it was one month ago, driven mostly by the delta variant spreading among the unvaccinated.
“It’s not scare tactics, and I mean that,” Murphy said Monday. “We’re not trying to do that. We’re trying to be very blunt, though, about what the data is.”
While the rates are up, they are not at the high levels that they once were in the first wave of the pandemic. Murphy says that that almost all of the new COVID-19 infections are among people who are unvaccinated.
“Over the past week, 366 COVID-positive patients entered our hospitals – an increase of about 30% from two weeks ago,” Murphy said. “The trends we are seeing over the past several days suggest we are not done seeing these numbers continue to rise.”
But there are some encouraging signs as hospitals become more skilled at treating COVID-19 patents and vaccinations continue.
“The percentage of individuals on ventilators today is 42%, which, I think is one of the lower percentages we’ve had in quite some time,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.
More than 5.2 million New Jersey residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
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“Thankfully, because the number of fully vaccinated New Jerseyans is so high, we are relatively hopeful we will not return to where we were even a little more than a couple of months ago,” the governor said.
Murphy says that while the numbers are up, they are coming up from dramatically lower-case numbers, positivity rates and hospitalizations in the spring. Those came after last winter's coronavirus second wave.
“We are, I’m knocking on wood, hopeful that it stays that way,” Murphy said.
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But officials say that the only way to keep it this way is for people to get vaccinated.
“To reverse the increases in the hospitalizations that we're seeing in the cases in our state, we need even more New Jerseyans to get vaccinated,” Persichilli said.
The governor saying his administration is working to come up with new vaccination incentives, and is working to persuade those who haven't yet got the shot.
“The more people who get vaccinated, the easier these decisions are going to be and the fewer public health parameters we need to put in place to allow us to live our lives as normally as possible,” Murphy said. “I’m begging you, please, get vaccinated.”
The governor says he is tested weekly for COVID-19, despite being fully vaccinated. He says that this is because he is doing more in-person campaign events. The governor's most recent test on Monday was negative.