N.J. reports 637 new coronavirus cases, 1 new death. Rate of transmission rises for 7th consecutive day.

New Jersey reported 637 new coronavirus positive tests and one additional death on Sunday as the state’s rate of transmission climbed for the 7th consecutive day and has remained above the key benchmark indicating the outbreak is expanding for the past month.

Ocean County, a COVID-19 hotspot that has emerged in recent weeks, once again led the state with 150 new cases. Gov. Phil Murphy traveled to the county on Friday to discuss the ongoing outbreak there, which has been linked to Lakewood and its significant Orthodox Jewish community.

The statewide rate of transmission increased to 1.26, up from 1.24 a day earlier and marking a week of steady increases. The transmission rate was 1.11 last Sunday. Any number above 1 indicates that each new case, on average, is leading to at least one additional case and the outbreak is growing. The rate remains is now the highest it’s been since 1.32 on Aug. 5.

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 across the state remained below 500 for the second day, with 480 patients across 71 hospitals.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced the latest figures on social media. He did not reveal when the newly reported deaths occurred.

The update comes as the state continues an investigation into whether people were infected at a fundraiser President Donald Trump held at his Bedminster golf course Thursday, hours before he announced he tested positive for the virus. Everyone in attendance has been asked to self-quarantine and get tested, Murphy said. As many as 300 people attended the fundraiser, and some paid for a photo opportunity with the president.

Trump remained Sunday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where doctors say his condition is improving and he could be discharged by Monday.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tested positive for the virus on Friday, after spending time with Trump for the presidential debate on Tuesday and attending the formal nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Christie, who has asthma, was admitted to Morristown Medical Center in what he called a preventative measure Saturday afternoon.

Fellow New Jersey natives Kellyanne Conway, a former Trump advisor, and Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, have also tested positive for the virus.

New Jersey has reported a total of 208,202 COVID-19 cases out of more than 3.73 million tests administered in the nearly seven months since the state announced its first positive test March 4. That’s the eight most positive tests among American states.

The state of 9 million people has reported 16,136 deaths attributed to the virus in that time — 14,349 lab-confirmed and 1,787 considered probable. The state’s death toll is third highest in the U.S., after New York and Texas, which recently surpassed New Jersey. California is closely behind New Jersey, with 11 fewer deaths. The Garden State has the nation’s highest COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 residents.

New Jersey’s daily numbers have decreased dramatically over the summer after peaking in April, when officials routinely announced hundreds of new deaths and thousands of new cases a day. But a recent uptick in cases and hospitalizations as the economy continues to reopen have alarmed officials, despite deaths remaining stable.

COUNTY-BY-COUNTY CASES (sorted by most new cases)

  • Ocean County: 14,244 positive tests (150 new), 985 confirmed deaths (65 probable)
  • Essex County: 21,330 positive tests (65 new), 1,900 confirmed deaths (229 probable)
  • Monmouth County: 12,224 positive tests (51 new), 776 confirmed deaths (92 probable)
  • Middlesex County: 19,904 positive tests (46 new), 1,228 confirmed deaths (202 probable)
  • Bergen County: 22,734 positive tests (44 new), 1,805 confirmed deaths (241 probable)
  • Camden County: 10,124 positive tests (39 new), 559 confirmed deaths (53 probable)
  • Union County: 17,870 positive tests (39 new), 1,190 confirmed deaths (167 probable)
  • Passaic County: 19,237 positive tests (29 new), 1,115 confirmed deaths (141 probable)
  • Hudson County: 20,897 positive tests (28 new), 1,359 confirmed deaths (160 probable)
  • Burlington County: 7,306 positive tests (24 new), 461 confirmed deaths (41 probable)
  • Atlantic County: 4,223 positive tests (20 new), 245 confirmed deaths (11 probable)
  • Morris County: 7,986 positive tests (18 new), 686 confirmed deaths (144 probable)
  • Gloucester County: 4,787 positive tests (16 new), 223 confirmed deaths (7 probable)
  • Somerset County: 5,907 positive tests (16 new), 503 confirmed deaths (74 probable)
  • Mercer County: 8,721 positive tests (11 new), 601 confirmed deaths (35 probable)
  • Hunterdon County: 1,388 positive tests (8 new), 71 confirmed deaths (54 probable)
  • Cape May County: 1,047 positive tests (4 new), 88 confirmed deaths (9 probable)
  • Salem County: 1,090 positive tests (2 new), 83 confirmed deaths (5 probable)
  • Warren County: 1,458 positive tests (2 new), 158 confirmed deaths (13 probable)
  • Cumberland County: 3,813 positive tests (1 new), 152 confirmed deaths (8 probable)
  • Sussex County: 1,538 positive tests (1 new), 161 confirmed deaths (36 probable)

HOSPITALIZATIONS

There were 480 patients across New Jersey’s 71 hospitals with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case as of Saturday night, five fewer than the night before

That includes 107 patients in critical or intensive care (19 more than the day before), including 32 on ventilators, one more than yesterday.

AGE BREAKDOWN

Broken down by age, those 30 to 49 years old make up the largest percentage of New Jersey residents that have caught the virus (30.9%), followed by those 50-64 (26.2%), 18-29 (16.7%), 65-79 (13%), 80 and older (8.9%), 5-17 (3.3%), and 0-4 (0.7%).

On average, the virus has been more deadly for older residents, especially those with pre-existing conditions. Nearly half the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been of residents 80 and older (47.8%), followed by those 65-79 (31.5%), 50-64 (15.8%), 30-49 (4.3%), 18-25 (0.4%), 5-17 (0%), and 0-4 (0.02%).

At least 7,165 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been of residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

New Jersey remains in Phase 2 of a multi-phase reopening plan after the virus forced most businesses to close. Murphy has said capacity limits will be increased at restaurants and other businesses if rates remain low.

Still, the governor has said he doesn’t expect to have to re-enter widespread shutdowns like we saw in March.

The pandemic and its aftermath have taken a major toll on the state’s economy. More than 1.63 million residents have filed for unemployment, businesses have lost untold revenue and numerous businesses have closed permanently.

Meanwhile, New Jersey is now asking travelers from 34 U.S. states and territories to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days once they arrive here — including residents returning home.

On Wednesday, the state announced it has joined a number of neighboring states in launching a free smartphone app to alert people if they’ve potentially been exposed to the virus.

And Murphy announced Monday the federal government is sending New Jersey 2.6 million rapid coronavirus tests that can provide results within 15 minutes — a development the governor said “could be a game-changer.”

GLOBAL NUMBERS

As of Sunday morning, there have been nearly 34 million positive COVID-19 tests across the globe, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1 million people have died, while more than 24.3 million people have recovered.

The United States has the most positive tests in the world, at almost 7.4 million, and the most deaths, at more than 209,400.

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Katie Kausch may be reached at [email protected]. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.

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