New Jersey officials urge people to take COVID precautions, even once vaccinated

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Gov. Phil Murphy referred to recent data as "stubborn plateauing" on Wednesday when talking about recent COVID-19 numbers.

While vaccine supply is expected to go up over the next few weeks, officials say COVID-19 safety precautions still need to be taken.

New Jersey has put 3.6 million doses into arms and state officials say vaccine supply is expected to grow starting next week.

But officials reminded people Wednesday, the fight against COVID-19 isn't over, even if you get vaccinated.

"After several weeks of the hospitals' census being under 2,000, yesterday was our second consecutive day where it is once again exceeding 2,000," said Murphy during Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing. "We need to slow the spread to ensure that our hospitals will not get anywhere near the danger zone before we can take any further steps to reopen."

Murphy encouraged people to wear masks and social distance while in public, even if vaccinated.

State officials say the percent positivity rate is 12.49%, and the rate of transmission is 1.09, meaning the virus is spreading to at least one other person for every person it infects.

State data shows recent daily new case totals in New Jersey are close to the daily numbers we saw last spring at the start of the pandemic. Experts point to a few factors, including new variants and pandemic fatigue.

"It's the variants, they may be indeed more contagious. At the same time we are a year into this," said Dr. Amanda Norvell, an immunologist and the interim dean of the School of Science at The College of New Jersey.

She encourages people to look at local data when making plans, saying that may help in determining risk factors.

"The best advice I would say is for individuals to be aware of what the cases look like in their immediate communities and to think about what types of activities they are comfortable with or they can forgo a little bit longer," she said.

She also says while hospitalizations are ticking up, we know much more about treating the virus now compared to last year.

"How we treat individuals who get sick, we've learned so much and we are in a much better place than we were last year. I think that's another important piece for people to remember," said Norvell.

As vaccinations continue, officials at the vaccination site at Camden County College say they're seeing a lot of no-shows as people put themselves on multiple waitlists for multiple sites.

Officials say they had 75 no-shows on Wednesday, and while the vaccine is not going to waste, they have to call people to come in at the last minute.

They urge people to cancel their appointments in advance.
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