New Jersey on Thursday reported more than 1,000 new cases for a fifth day in a row as the state battles a new rise of infections. Governor Phil Murphy said the statewide rate of transmission is now 1.17, which means each new case is leading to more than one other infection.
"We're advising all New Jerseyans to avoid any unnecessary interstate travel given the recent increases in numbers both here and in neighboring states," Murphy tweeted.
"Crossing state lines for work, groceries, or worship is one thing — but otherwise, stay in New Jersey."
The governor said earlier that he remains in self-quarantine after he was contact over the weekend with someone who has since tested positive. His tests have all been negative, CBS New York reported.
Hospitalizations are increasing in the state and more schools are delaying reopenings.
"This is not something we didn't expect. We expected a second wave to happen in the fall. But the question is how bad it gets. That means peak, and how quickly we get to that peak," said Dr. Shereef Elnahal, president and CEO of University Hospital, Newark.
Dr. Elnahal said this week the hospital was already nearly at capacity with non-COVID patients. Now virus-related hospitalizations are increasing again.
"Signs are pointing that this is about to get worse," Dr. Elnahal said. "When you start to hit levels of 3 or 4% positivity, you can expect even more admissions. And most concerningly... we did have one COVID-19 death last week for the first time in many weeks."
"The other patients will have to delay their care even more," Dr. Elnahal added.
State health officials say it's mostly indoor gatherings and parties contributing to the spike, not schools or businesses.
Murphy said Thursday they are seeing trouble with gatherings in private homes and urged people to follow CDC guidelines "and not gather in a private home with anyone outside your immediate family."