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Gov. Murphy: 70% Of New Jersey State Employees Fully Vaccinated

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- As the number of COVID-19 cases increases, state officials in New Jersey are urging people to get their vaccinations and boosters.

On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy detailed the progress being made in getting state employees vaccinated. He said 70% of all employees were reported as being fully vaccinated.

Watch: Monday's New Jersey COVID-19 Briefing

In all, 43 of 50 agencies have reported full vaccination rates at or above 75%.

There are also increased rates in the private sector.

"We have made tremendous progress in vaccinating those who live, work and study in the state, with 73% of residents fully vaccinated and 84% with at least one dose of vaccine," state Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Persichilli said.

Still, Officials Say They're Worried About Infection Spike

Doctors said the surge is from people getting infected around Thanksgiving and overall waning immunity from the initial vaccines, adding if people don't act now, it's only going to get worse as we get closer to Christmas.

After such darkness for so long, the city of Newark brought back its tree-lighting tradition on Monday. The feeling of community, the Christmas carols and Santa's hugs were missed by a mother of three and her kids.

"They love it. It's something special. We get to go out," Shannel Rivas told CBS2's Jessica Layton.

But her comfort may be short lived. Health officials are watching the spike in cases in the Garden State and a drastic jump in hospitalizations.

"New hospitalizations are up 81%, compared to two weeks ago," Persichilli said.

"Probably due to a combination of not only the holiday surge, but also the fact that we know that there is some waning immunity," added state epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan.

The Hackensack Meridian Health System is currently treating 350 patients, compared to a little over 100 at the beginning of November. Dr. Daniel Varga said about 80% are unvaccinated.

"Probably about 10-20% of the breakthroughs are happening in that four-to-six-month range and then all the rest are happening greater than six months," Varga said.

And with the Omicron variant in the mix and December holidays fast approaching, he said that getting an additional dose is more important than ever.

"It all comes down to boosters," Varga said.

So far, only about 36% of people in New Jersey who are eligible have gotten the booster, officials said. The state is adding some walk-in clinics as part of "Boost NJ Day" this Wednesday.

And a new vaccine mega-site will open at the former Lord & Taylor store at Bridgewater Commons Mall.

CBS2's Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

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