Health officials reported New Jersey’s first two cases of the highly-contagious coronavirus variant first found in the UK. Experts have been assuming for weeks that the variant was already here as cases started rising in neighboring states. Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday said he expects many more to be uncovered. There’s no evidence the new strain is more deadly or resistant to vaccines.
The state is reporting another 3,694 new positive tests for 584,291 total cases. Another 118 deaths were reported for a total of 20,875 confirmed and probable fatalities. Hospitalizations are now the lowest in nearly seven weeks at 3,328.
Murphy and state leaders toured the Moorestown Mall vaccine megasite in Burlington County as the final two of six mega vaccine locations came online. Health commissioner Judy Persichilli said once the vaccine supply increases, the sites will be able to dole out as many as 3,000 to 5,000 vaccine doses a day.