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