By Matt Skoufalos | August 28, 2020
Another 372 New Jersey residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the statewide total to 190,971 cases, Governor Phil Murphy reported Friday.
Sadly, nine more residents have perished from complications related to the virus, bringing the statewide death toll to 14,150 lives lost during the pandemic.
In addition to those lab-confirmed fatalities, the state has acknowledged another 1,780 probable COVID-19-related deaths.
Rate of transmission (Rt) down to 0.77, spot positivity highest in South Jersey
The statewide average of COVID-19 spot positivity testing stood at 1.52 percent August 24.
Rt, the variable that describes the seven-day, rolling-average rate of transmission of new COVID-19 cases, fell to 0.77.
An Rt figure less than 1.0 means that each new COVID-19 patient is infecting less than one other person, on average, and the spread of the virus is decreasing.
Since its mid-April COVID-19 spike, the highest reported RT in New Jersey was 1.48, recorded August 1. The lowest was 0.62, recorded June 9.
Long-term care accounts for half of all deaths, a fifth of those infected
Throughout New Jersey, 436 people currently are hospitalized with a case of COVID-19.
Among those hospitalized patients, 83 are in intensive or critical care, and 30 of the ICU and critical-care patients (36 percent) are on ventilators.
Across the state, 642 long-term care (LTC) centers have reported at least one case of COVID-19, and 164 are dealing with an active outbreak. LTCs account for 38,002 infected patients and staff in New Jersey, or 20 percent of total cases.
That includes 24,773 residents and 13,229 staffers sickened by the virus, as well as 7,076 lab-confirmed resident deaths (50 percent of the statewide total) and 121 facility-reported staff deaths.
Of 654 veterans residing in a state-run home, 388 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and 146 have died from complications related to the virus. Nine veterans presently are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 242 have recovered from the virus.
At state-run psychiatric facilities, 213 of 1,191 patients and 515 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Thirteen patients and seven staffers have died from complications related to the virus.
To date, 56 New Jersey children aged 1 to 18 have been diagnosed with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
All those pediatric patients have tested positive for an active COVID-19 infection or the presence of COVID-19 antibodies, indicating exposure to the virus. No deaths have been associated with this syndrome in New Jersey.
NJ dedicates $250 million in CARES Act funds to childcare
As the upcoming school year approaches, New Jersey is committing additional financial resources to bolstering child care access.
On Friday, the governor announced the commitment of $250 million in federal CARES Act funds to its COVID Child Care Initiative, which will support caregivers in managing the costs of reopening safely, and low-income, working families in accessing their services.
Murphy announced the allocation of the funds at a press event held at Edgar Child Care Center in Metuchen.
“Our childcare providers need assistance to remain open, and secondly, our families need assistance to afford new and increasing expenses,” he said.
“By helping providers at the same time by helping working families, we are one step closer to our recovery from this crisis and getting our economy back on track,” the governor said.
- $150 million will be allocated to childcare tuition assistance for households earning as much as $75,000 annually: those who would not otherwise be eligible for the state child care subsidy program, but who are in need of full- or part-time child care to work around their kids’ remote-learning schedules.
- $50 million will be allocated in restart grant funds for childcare providers reopening by October 1.
- $30 million will be allocated to childcare providers to address their ongoing costs in the form of a $75-per-subsidy-eligible-child payment from September to December 2020.
- $20 million will be allocated to help subsidize childcare tuition for families with household incomes at 200% of the federal poverty level ($43,440).
The New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS) has more information on child care subsidies for parents and providers; according to a statement released by the governor, the funds are available to cover the costs of caring for children aged 5 through 13.
New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said the funds are necessary to help those families with school-aged children not have to choose between providing for their kids and keeping them well cared-for while they work.
“Parents need to work; parents who are essential workers need to be at work,” Johnson said. “Parents who can work from home need to be on calls, and in virtual meetings, and meet that critical deadline.
“And parents who live with their children in multigenerational households need to find the space to do their work, and help their children, and keep their COVID-vulnerable older relatives safe,” she said.
Kids need to be home, too, Johnson said—and will be home, according to many hybrid reopening plans that allocate at least some period of remote learning as well as days off from in-person schooling for cleaning of school facilities.
“It’s just incredibly challenging to work from home or be at your essential job… and teach your kids during the day,” she said.
“One of the added, heartbreaking, residual effects of the pandemic is the increasing talk about women leaving the workforce because of the impossible burden of working from home and remote learning,” Johnson said.
“It would be the sad irony to have the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, with all of its empowerment and opportunity, marked by women feeling like they had so few choices.”