By JOHN T. WARD
With COVID-19 hospitalizations rising rapidly, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy implored residents to curtail their traditional Thanksgiving gatherings this week.
“We know that there are those who are so yearning for normalcy that they’re willing to risk their family’s health for a big Thanksgiving,” he said at his regular briefing on the COVID-19 pandemic Monday. But “we urge you to think beyond this holiday,” he said.
The Murphy administration reported statewide hospitalizations for COVID-19 at 2,785 as of late Saturday, up 92 from Friday. That total was last seen in late May, when the state was emerging from the initial wave of the global pandemic.
Of those currently hospitalized, 522 were in intensive care wards and 265 were on ventilators, the state reported. This round, while the use of intensive care beds and ventilators is again on the rise, the demand is markedly lower than in the spring,
With 11 new fatalities, the state has now had 14,960 deaths with confirmed ties to the virus, and another 1,812 considered “probable,” according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Murphy asked residents to limit their Thanksgiving celebrations to members of their own households or, if gathering with others, to “do so outside.
“The last we want is for anyone’s Thanksgiving to lead to empty spots in their homes for the celebrations to come,” he said.
In other COVID-19 news:
• Monmouth County Freeholders reported the cumulative number of positive COVID-19 cases since March was 18,873.
As of Monday, 326 patients were hospitalized, 41 were in intensive care and 21 were on ventilators in Monmouth County due to COVID-19, the county reported. Two weeks earlier, those figures were 122, 22 and 1o, respectively.
• Representatives of Hackensack Meridian Health, which owns Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, have not responded to redbankgreen‘s requests for information on the impact of the current wave of infections.
• In Fair Haven, where local officials have been keeping close tabs on “active” cases, there were 26, Councilman Mike McCue reported Monday night. That’s doubled in the past month, and “is pretty much on par” with trends statewide, he said.
But compared to other towns, “we are still doing pretty well, and I think our school children deserve some recognition for keeping our schools really safe” by washing their hands, maintaining safe distances and wearing masks, said McCue, who teaches social studies at Holy Cross Academy in Rumson.
“As a teacher, I often find inspiration from my students, and they’re leading the way, so ‘way to go,'” he said.
• Here are the cumulative Monmouth County COVID-19 case totals by town, per the freeholders:
|November 23||November 22|
|Spring Lake Heights:||98||94|
|West Long Branch:||489||478|
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