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Concern Grows In New Jersey After Thousands Of New COVID-19 Cases Reported; A 'Match Waiting To Hit The Powder Keg'

NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) - It's a trend no state wants to follow, but New Jersey is joining the list of states seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases. On the other hand, hospitalizations in New York are down.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said hospitalizations in New York fell to 586, an all-time low since March 17.

In New Jersey, the rate of transmission rose, with more than 2,000 cases added over the last four days.

"Nobody's sitting on their hands right now. Everybody is kind of anticipating a second wave. Everybody's frantically getting ready," said Dr. Stavros Christoudias

Dr. Christoudias said he's not surprised by the uptick in COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, since the heat is driving people indoors, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported.

MORE: More Than 50 Teens In Middletown Test Positive For Coronavirus After Series Of Indoor Parties, Murphy Says

"Some of these house parties in New Jersey, where people were breaking the rules of having so many people indoors, you're gonna end up with another wave," said Christoudias. "That's the match waiting to hit the powder keg."

Other people told CBS2 they think the virus is spreading from visitors on the Jersey Shore.

"Other people coming here, maybe for vacation and maybe they're driving into these states," said Gregory Maxwell. "I don't know about how strict we are being with that, so we don't know if that also is making it come up as well."


On Thursday, Congressman Josh Gottheimer held a virtual roundtable with North Jersey health care officials, doctors and nurses to find out what they need.

"We're finding difficulty, again, in accessing the appropriate types of PPE from different vendors," said Deb Visconi, president and CEO of New Bridge Medical Center.

"We need more availability of staff if there's a second wave," said Adam Jarrett, from Holy Name Medical Center. "PPE is better, but not ideal. Testing is better, but not ideal."

Health officials said they're specifically asking for more reagents for testing.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"Here in Washington, what we're focused on is getting resources in this next coronavirus package to ensure that they have the PPE," said Rep. Gottheimer. "Right now, in other parts of the country, they're using a lot of PPE because they have a lot of caseloads. So, we're going to be competing with [other states], and what I'm concerned about is, that's going to lead to a shortage of PPE."

CBS2 asked Gov. Cuomo if he would add New Jersey to the quarantine list if the numbers kept trending up.

WEB EXTRA: Tri-State Coronavirus Travel Advisory

"I don't know how you could quarantine New Jersey... They don't fly into New York. You'd have to blockade roads, and we're not talking about blockading," said Cuomo. "We're going to keep our fingers crossed and work with them to get the number down."

Watch John Dias's report here: 

On Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy said he believed large, indoor parties taking place without regard for social distancing are behind the spike.

"Yes, it's hot. Yes, it's summer. Yes, we all want, and in many cases need, to blow off some steam, but this is no time for anyone to be vying for induction into the knucklehead hall of fame," said Murphy.

MORE: Over 500 New COVID-19 Cases Reported In New Jersey For Third Time In Four Days

At least 125 new cases were reportedly linked to gatherings where people between the ages of 18 and 29 were crowded together.

"I think the younger generation feel like they're immune to the virus, so they feel that they don't need to take the same precautions as the older generation," said Jasnwet Melik, from Hoboken.

CBS2 spoke with a 24-year-old woman who said people are being responsible, from what she's seen.

"I actually fall within the high risk category, so I have been extremely careful," she said. "I do understand younger people are feeling more irritable. People want to go out, they want to hang out with their friends but, at the end of the day, as long as people are social distancing, wearing their masks and doing what they can, I feel like that should be important,"

The most recent tests reported 500 new cases to add to the state's total of more than 180,000.

There are still many concerns - mainly, the continued spread of the virus.

Local leaders continue to advise people to wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

They said it's challenging and annoying at times, but worth it.

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