Gov. Murphy pushes vaccines instead of mask mandate as COVID-19, flu cases rise

"I don't foresee any mandates in New Jersey unless something dramatically changes. I think people should use their common sense."

Alyana Gomez Image
Tuesday, December 13, 2022
Gov. Murphy pushes vaccines instead of mask mandate as cases rise
EMBED <>More Videos

At a news conference Monday, Murphy said he wasn't keen on enforcing masking and instead urged people to get vaccinated.

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The "tripledemic" sidelined Thanksgiving plans and now, health leaders are encouraging people to mask up ahead of the Christmas holiday as flu and COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

"This past week we had 950 cases of influenza and this time last year we had 176. So, that's a pretty astronomical difference," said Gabrielle Sweeney, the Camden County Department of Health epidemiologist.

Sweeney said COVID is still spreading, especially as more people gather indoors.

"I know the hospitalization numbers in the southern region did increase in the last week," said Sweeney.

SEE ALSO: Philly schools looking at data to determine if masks will return after holidays

The mask mandate in New Jersey ended in March. At that time, the state had an average of 72 COVID-19 hospital admissions per day, compared to 183 hospitalizations last week.

"I don't foresee any mandates in New Jersey unless something dramatically changes. I think people should use their common sense," said Governor Phil Murphy.

At a news conference Monday, Murphy said he wasn't keen on enforcing masking and instead urged people to get vaccinated.

SEE ALSO: New concerns about drug shortages as hospitals fill up amid tripledemic

"Common sense. You have to be careful, you have to take care of yourself," said Joe Hoguet of Blackwood.

For now, many people are keeping their masks within reach.

"Everyone is getting so sick and then the hospitals are so packed, so yea, I think it's a good idea," said Vicki Hunter of Blackwood.