New Jersey reports 1st death from UK COVID-19 variant; 8 cases overall

New Jersey is reporting its first death from the COVID-19 variant first detected in the United Kingdom.
State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli says the person who died had other underlying health conditions. She also reported that six new cases of the variant have been confirmed – a total of eight since the beginning of the month.
At least one of the new cases is in a person who traveled internationally.
“We’ve got one variant in the state. The science on it is early. Based on what folks think so far, it’s easily transmitted and the jury is still out on whether it’s more lethal,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.
Of the eight cases, four are from Ocean County, two are from Essex County and two more are from Morris County.
Health officials also confirmed that the rate of transmission among COVID-19 cases has continued to go down and currently stands at .91. Nearly 4,000 new positive test results were reported on Wednesday, along with 107 additional deaths.
There are 3,190 COVID-19 patients being treated in New Jersey hospitals, with 406 patients on ventilators.
In terms of COVID-19 vaccines around the state, Persichilli said that New Jersey is set to get a 30% increase in the number of doses over the next three weeks. She said that New Jersey’s allotment of vaccines from the federal government will rise from about 100,000 doses a week to 130,000 for three weeks.
The boosted figure comes after President Joe Biden announced Tuesday his administration would increase how much states got by about 16%.
New Jersey has already distributed 642,600 doses of the vaccine – 90,000 of which are second doses.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.