NJ reports 2,738 COVID cases, 14 deaths. Hospitalizations hit 4-month high.

New Jersey on Tuesday reported another 2,738 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 14 confirmed deaths as scientists began to sound the alarm on yet another super contagious omicron variant.

Scientists say BA.2.75 may be able to spread rapidly and get around immunity from vaccines and previous infection. Vaccines and boosters are still the best defense against severe COVID-19, experts say.

The statewide positivity rate for tests conducted Friday — the most recent day with available data — was 13.70%. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers positivity rates above 10% to be “high.” However, the positivity rate is substantially lower than its peak of 40.83% on Jan. 1 during the height of the omicron variant.

New Jersey’s rate of transmission was 1.05 on Tuesday. When the transmission rate is above 1, that means cases each new case is leading to at least one additional case. A transmission rate below 1 is an indication that the coronavirus outbreak is declining.

There were 972 patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases reported across the state’s 71 hospitals as of Monday night. That’s the highest number of patients since Feb. 22.

Despite the recent rise in cases however, hospitalizations remain significantly lower than when they peaked at 6,089 on Jan. 10 during the omicron wave.

The state’s seven-day average for confirmed positive tests is 2,623, a 15% increase from a week ago, but a 3% decrease from last month.

Six New Jersey counties are now considered high risk for COVID-19 transmission — Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Monmouth and Morris. Those in high-risk areas are recommended to wear a mask indoors in public and on public transportation and stay up to date on vaccinations, according to the CDC.

The state’s 15 other counties are in the medium-risk category: Bergen, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren. Masks are not recommended in the medium- and low-risk regions.

TOTAL NUMBERS

New Jersey has reported 2,158,562 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the more than two years since the state reported its first known case March 4, 2020.

The Garden State has also recorded 368,524 positive antigen or rapid tests, which are considered probable cases. And there are numerous cases that have likely never been counted, including at-home positive tests that are not included in the state’s numbers.

The state of 9.2 million residents has reported 34,126 COVID-19 deaths — 31,036 confirmed fatalities and 3,090 probable ones.

New Jersey has the seventh-most coronavirus deaths per capita in the US — behind Mississippi, Arizona, Alabama, West Virginia, Tennessee and Oklahoma — as of the latest data reported July 4. Last summer, the state had the most deaths per capita in the nation.

VACCINATION NUMBERS

More than 6.96 million people who work, live, or study in the Garden State have reached fully vaccinated status.

Over 7.86 million have received a first dose since vaccinations began in the state on Dec. 15, 2020.

Over 4 million people in the state eligible for boosters have received one. That number may rise after the Food and Drug Administration approved booster shots for healthy children between the ages of 5 and 11. US regulators authorized the booster for kids hoping for an extra vaccine dose will enhance their protection as infections continue to spread.

LONG-TERM CARE NUMBERS

At least 9,345 of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have been among residents and staff members at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, according to state data.

Of the active outbreaks at 355 facilities, there are 4,597 current cases among residents and 4,631 cases among staff, as of the latest data.

GLOBAL NUMBERS

As of Tuesday, there have been more than 556 million COVID-19 cases reported across the globe, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus database, and more than 6.35 million people have died because of the virus.

The US has reported the most COVID cases (more than 88.7 million) and deaths (at least 1,021,316) of any nation.

There have been more than 11.7 billion vaccine doses administered globally.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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Jackie Roman may be reached at jroman@njadvancemedia.com.

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