Official: New Jersey's daily COVID-19 cases doubled in a month

Health officials say New Jersey’s daily number of COVID-19 cases has doubled since last month, reaching about 1,000 each day.
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said Monday the spike stems from “community spread,” and not a single decision to reopen part of the state’s economy. She added the increase is “widespread” across the state.
“My anticipation is that our biggest struggle will be staffing, as we experience community spread,” the health commissioner said.
“What's most important is taking some actionable steps,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan.
Health officials reported 1,192 new positive cases of the virus, along with four additional deaths. The rate of transmission was slightly down at 1.14. There are 758 COVID-19 patients in the hospital, 166 in intensive care and 62 patients on ventilators.
But it was unclear if this was the start of a second wave that has been predicted for several months.
“I haven’t spent a lot of time wondering about whether this is the end of the first or the beginning of the second,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Murphy said that despite open schools and open gyms and some indoor dining, there is no evidence that those openings have caused the increase in cases.
“Many of the new cases we are tracking are coming not from our schools or businesses, or many other activities but from private gatherings inside private homes. Especially as the cooler weather pulls more of us back inside, we have to remain extra vigilant,” Murphy said.
Persichilli said that this was similar to what is happening across the country.
“While we have seen hot spots in Ocean County and our universities, overall, we are seeing more widespread cases throughout our state due to community spread and not any single reopening step,” she said.
The governor said that public gathering limits could be reimposed. But he added that he may have a difficult time bringing a COVID-19-weary public on board with this plan.
“People are fatigued and frankly, who could blame you for being fatigued? Who isn’t right now?” he said.
Ocean County was on the top of the list with the most new cases, with 154 new cases of COVID-19, Essex County was second with 132 new cases.
Murphy also extended outdoor liquor license through March 2021. Hundreds of these licenses were granted due to the pandemic. Business owners will have to apply for the extension.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.
Click or tap the photo below to view the full briefing.
Oct. 19, 2020 COVID-19 News Briefing

Additional information below: