Second wave? New Jersey COVID-19 cases spike

New Jersey added 1,301 new positive coronavirus cases overnight, over 1.5 times more than the previous day's figure — and the highest level since late May — Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday.

The biggest increases are in Ocean County and Monmouth County, the Democratic governor said during a news conference. 

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said most of the positive cases in Ocean County stem from Lakewood, predominantly among white men ages 19-49 and could be related to religious services or celebrations that occurred in late September. 


Hospitalizations also climbed to 652, the highest level since early August, Murphy said.

Another eleven people were reported to have died, bringing the statewide total to 14,373. The positivity rate for testing stood at 3.69%, while the rate of transmission fell to 1.22, down from 1.27.

Officials had already sounded an alarm last month about an uptick in cases.


Health officials in New Jersey were concerned as the positive test rate in the state rose to around 3 percent for the first time in months.

Like in New York, the clusters were focused in areas with large Orthodox Jewish communities.

The uptick in cases and hospitalizations could mean a return outbreak. 

"We are anticipating a second wave, and we are preparing based on our prior experiences, Persichilli said. "This wave has a potential to become a surge."

There were also concerns of a fundraiser being held for President Trump at his Bedminster golf club adding to the state's cases after the president tested positive.  State officials have not announced any outbreaks connected to that event.

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The state has stockpiled personal protective equipment, ventilators, and the therapeutic drug remdesivir. She said the biggest concern will be staffing because other states sent health workers in March and April, but those people are confronting the outbreak in their on states now. 

She didn't give a time frame for when the wave could hit. 

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness or death.

With the Associated Press.