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Delta Variant Causing Concerning Spike In COVID-19 Cases Among Unvaccinated In New Jersey

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) -- There is a concerning increase in COVID-19 cases around the country and in New Jersey. The state on Thursday reported 441 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the highest number since late in May.

The City of Camden has a lot of people who aren't vaccinated and consequently, there are higher infection rates. It's a pattern seen around the state.

"Since Day 1, Camden City has been our hot spot," Camden County Commissioner Jonathan Young said.

Camden County officials say the increase in COVID cases is driven by the Delta variant mainly among those who aren't vaccinated.

"People are still getting sick from COVID-19 and unfortunately, people are still dying," Young said.

It's part of a national trend. New cases are up double digits in nearly every state. There's an increase of more than 50% in 32 states, including New Jersey.

"I draw your attention to the southern part of the state is 2.5%," New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Persichilli said.

The state health commissioner underscored the growing percent positivity rate in South Jersey, which is nowhere near as bad as it was at the height of the pandemic.

"The overall trajectory of the COVID virus is decreasing," Dr. Mark Condoluci with Jefferson Health New Jersey said.

But, New Jersey's seven-day average is now 331 new daily cases. That's up 77% from a month ago.

"The concern is seeing it in those settings that might be communal living like colleges and other areas that people are not vaccinated," Caryelle Lasher with Camden Health said.

In addition to young people spreading the virus at things like beach parties, officials also say there's a disparity in vaccinations. Haddonfield has a high number of people fully protected, compared to Camden, where there are low rates.

"I have conversations with folks who just flat out still don't trust it for whatever reason," Young said.

Among the unvaccinated, there are growing concerns for children under the age of 12 who aren't eligible yet. There have been outbreaks at camps. Doctors say it's important that everyone who isn't vaccinated wear a mask, especially when they're inside.

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