After hitting a four-month high, New Jersey’s coronavirus transmission rate is back down below a critical benchmark. The state is once again containing the spread of the outbreak and moving ahead with plans to gradually lift restrictions on indoor visits at long-term care facilities. The community was among the hardest hit by COVID-19 with the virus killing nearly 7,000 nursing home residents and staff. Family members say the ongoing lockdown has affected their loved ones both physically and mentally. The state did allow appointment-only, brief outdoor visits to resume in June. Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that facilities are ready to take it a step further.
The Department of Health reported 258 new cases Monday for a total of 185,031. Officials also reported four new deaths, all of which occurred in previous months but were recently confirmed, for a total of 15,878 known and probable deaths. The rate of transmission is below 1.0 at 0.98.
It’s a positive sign, according to Gov. Phil Murphy, but not a reason to believe the virus is gone. Police broke up another big house party over the weekend in Howell with 300 people, a DJ, a pool and a cover charge. Between the house parties and big crowds at shore bars, Murphy is threatening to roll back reopenings.