As COVID-19 cases rise in New Jersey, is the state reopening too quickly?

It was another day of nearly 1,000 new positive COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, with hospitalizations and intensive care patients on the rise.
This comes as more aspects of the state are reopening, leaving some questioning if it is all happening too quickly.
In recent weeks, indoor dining has ramped up, schools are embracing a hybrid learning schedule and gyms have reopened. Even Democratic legislators are asking Gov. Phil Murphy to increase indoor dining capacity from 25% to 50%.
But state health officials announced on Wednesday that there were 953 new positive cases of coronavirus in New Jersey, down slightly from 993 on Tuesday. But hospitalizations are now at 699, double what they were a month ago.
“Obviously it’s a little unnerving,” says nurse manager Anne Olsen. “We went through quite an ordeal March through June.”
Olsen is the nurse manager for the medical ICU at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. She says that her staff has felt the uptick of the virus in October after cases dropped off this summer.
“I think that we should not let our guard down,” she says. “Make good decisions. Don’t put yourself in high-risk situations.”
There are some signs that cases are increasing. Some schools have had to go all-remote because of COVID-19 infections. Seven Motor Vehicle Commission offices have also had to close when employees came down with the virus.
At Monmouth University, 319 students tested positive for COVID-19, causing the school to cancel in-person classes for two weeks. University President Patrick Leahy said in a statement, “It appears that this increase in cases among students was tied to an off-campus event hosted two weeks ago.”
With the latest numbers, New Jersey would qualify for its own travel advisory list. The advisory means that people must quarantine for two weeks when entering New Jersey from 38 states and territories.
Olsen says that the state can’t go back to the way it was at the beginning of the pandemic.
“It was overwhelming because you were scared to bring it home, scared you would catch it or get as ill as patients we were caring for,” she says.
Olsen says that it is important to remember that COIVD-19 did not go away during the summer.