"The more people who contract the virus, the more people who will eventually need hospitalization, a subset in intensive care, a subset for ventilators and sadly, a subset who we will lose," said Governor Phil Murphy.
As New Jersey grapples with rising COVID numbers, Murphy says the state has created pandemic models, predicting what may happen with the pandemic in the Garden State. Under a worst-case scenario, as can be expected, cases and hospitalizations are expected to rise.
"As we have said, protecting the ability of our healthcare system to treat the ill is of our paramount concern. And if the numbers begin to roll in, where the ability to put that into question, as is the case with these models, we will have no choice but to act," said Governor Murphy.
WORST CASE MODEL: No change in compliance with masks, social distancing, and avoiding gatherings.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 9, 2020
Under this scenario:
➡️Weeks of increasing cases
➡️More hospitalizations than spring peak
If the numbers threaten our health care system, like in these models, we will have to act. pic.twitter.com/jcmwcCR5wR
Under a moderate case scenario, health experts say the outlook is much better. Thousands less are expected to contract the virus and end up in the hospital. The health department says if people continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and limit contact with people outside of their households, the COVID situation will improve across the state.
"Under these assumptions, we see a path where our hospital metrics, all of them, all of them stay within the safety zone," said Governor Murphy.
MODERATE CASE MODEL: We all do a little more to continue with our masking, social distancing, & avoiding gatherings.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) December 9, 2020
This path would keep our hospital metrics within the safety zone.
The numbers would still be very big, but wouldn't overwhelm our health care system capacity. pic.twitter.com/KgBZWa57kh
Like other states, New Jersey is waiting on a vaccine but health leaders warn while federal approval could come this week, that news does not give the green light to let your guard down. The state is hoping for the moderate outcome but says the public needs to do its part.
"We need everyone to take this virus seriously. Please mask up, social distance, wash your hands frequently. If you have been exposed get tested, and if you don't feel well, stay home," said Judy Persichilli, Commissioner, of the New Jersey Department of Health.
"While we can see the light at the end of the tunnel - and it is real - and we can begin to envision an end date - also real - we have to hunker down in the meantime and keep our focus. This is no time for any of us to get lax," said Governor Murphy.
The governor says the models can always change and nothing is off the table when it comes to restrictions. He is urging everyone to get tested and says there are over 400 testing sites across the state.
NON-COOPERATION WITH CONTACT TRACERS HITS 74%
Murphy is urging New Jersey residents to cooperate with contact tracers amid the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases.
During a news conference on Monday, Murphy said the rate of non-cooperation with COVID-19 contact tracers is up to a "whopping" 74% of cases.
"Remember, our contact tracers are not on a witch hunt," Murphy said. "We urge you, please work with our contact tracers and do your part to end this pandemic."
Murphy said there are now 30 contact tracers per 100,000 New Jersey residents.
The governor also urged state residents to download the COVID Alert NJ app to aid in the contact tracing effort.
Governor Murphy announced positive news on the vaccine front during Monday's press conference, estimating 300,000 to 500,000 doses of the vaccine will arrive in New Jersey this month.
"We're now talking about a matter of days before we get our first shipment," said Murphy.
MORE NEW JERSEY COVID NEWS
Remoting learning in Washington Township, New Jersey
Action News has learned that all schools in the Washington Township School District in Gloucester County are switching to all remote learning. This will remain in effect through January 11.
The decision was made after 41 new cases in Washington Township were reported on just December 6 alone.
All indoor youth and adult sports in New Jersey are now suspended because of the climbing COVID-19 caseload. The pause began at 6 a.m. Saturday and goes until Jan. 2
Governor Phil Murphy is blasting the New York Young Republican Club, which held their annual event at Maritime Parc in Jersey City.
New Jersey announced Wednesday it is leaving what was formerly known as the Tri-State Travel Advisory. "As COVID-19 cases continue to rise at an alarming rate throughout our nation, New Jersey will no longer utilize previously outlined metrics to inform its travel advisory," Governor Phil Murphy said.
Hospitalizations on the rise
As COVID numbers rise throughout New Jersey, hospitals have seen an uptick in patients who can't fight the virus at home over the past month.
A couple in Chicago is making spirits bright despite the pandemic canceling their wedding.
President-elect Joe Biden is predicting a "bleak future" if Congress doesn't take speedy action on a coronavirus aid bill amid a nationwide spike in the virus that's hampering the country's economic recovery.
U.K. regulators went on the offensive Friday to beat back criticism that they rushed their authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying they rigorously analyzed data on safety and effectiveness in the shortest time possible without compromising the thoroughness of their review.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.