The Rising COVID Rate in Morris County, A NJ Comparison

Morristown Minute

After an initial increase between March and April of 2020, COVID-19 cases began to drop in Morris County leveling off to an average of about 20 new cases per day. As the pandemic ravaged the country and the world, Morris County held out below average in infection rate for seven months following COVID-19s introduction to the United States.

As total daily U.S. cases climbed at a steady rate for the beginning months of the pandemic, Morris County remained an anomaly among many densely populated NJ counties. It was not until mid-October that infection rates in Morris County began to take a drastic change.

The worst month for COVID numbers in Morris County, before the dramatic increase in October, was April of 2020. On April 8th, 2020, Morris County saw a peak of 229 new daily cases with a seven-day average of 218 new positive tests. Following April 8th's high numbers the cases in our county began to drop. Then came October 2020, and with it a dramatic climb in positive cases. By January 10th, Morris County saw a record of 274 new, daily COVID cases and reached a seven-day average of 727 new cases.

Today, nearly one year and eight months later, COVID cases are once more on the rise in Morris County. In October 2021, Morris County was seeing a rising average of daily cases in the mid-thirties with a seven-day average in the mid-fifties. Today, new daily cases reached 132 and our seven-day average has risen to an alarming 105 cases and is climbing.

Despite the release of multiple effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines, new strains of the virus and a relaxing social consciousness around mask-wearing and COVID-19 safety has caused a spike in cases to a 14-day average of 1,246 positive cases.

In comparison, one year from today Morris County saw 124 new daily cases with a seven-day average of 100 positive COVID tests. This is an approximate increase of 6.25% since one year ago with an increase in the seven-day average of just under 5%.

With vaccines readily available and many public places still enforcing mask mandates, let's take a look at how this rise in cases over the past year in Morris County compares to the rest of New Jersey and the country.

The United States sees an average of 144,135 positive COVID-19 cases per one million people. In comparison, the world sees an average of 32,932 positive cases per one million people. New Jersey comes in at a lower rate compared to the rest of the country with 138,135 positive cases per one million people. Being the most densely populated state, it can come as a comfort to know our average is below that of the country.

Morris County, specifically, has seen an average of 121,398 COVID-19 cases per one million residents. But how does Morris County compare to its neighboring counties?

The biggest case jumps in the last fourteen days by county: (as of the morning of 11/19/21)

1. Ocean: +219 new cases with a total of 98,787 cases and 2,389 deaths

2. Burlington: +212 new cases with a total of 56,877 cases and 967 deaths

3. Middlesex: +195 new cases with a total of ~108K cases and 2,485 deaths

4. Monmouth: +192 new cases with a total of 95,443 cases and 1,769 deaths

5. Camden: +188 new cases with a total of 70,279 cases and 1,469 deaths

6. Bergen: +184 new cases with a total of 122K cases and 3,013 deaths

7. Essex: +169 new cases with a total of 108K cases and 3,170 deaths

8. Morris: +137 new cases with a total of 59,709 cases and 1,312 deaths

9. Gloucester: +118 new cases with a total of 39,839 cases and 745 deaths

10. Hudson: +108 new cases with a total of 98,773 cases and 2,369 deaths

The top ten list above represents a large majority of north Jersey counties, and all over New Jersey, the infection rate is rising. The CDC is currently reporting an infection rate for New Jersey of 1.12 indicating a rapid increase in positive cases. It's important to know that an infection rate over 1 indicates rising infections in the area.

New Jersey's positive test rate over seven days is approximately 4.5% and our ICUs are currently at 46% capacity. On the contrary, 77.6% of New Jersey residents have received at least one COVID vaccine shot, and 79% of New Jersey's available vaccines have been used.

As we approach the winter months where illness on average strikes more American's than any other time of year, and more families and friends gather in close quarters, we will likely see a continued increase in positive tests and cases. Luckily, the FDA today approved the use of COVID-19 booster shots for all American's over 18 years of age who have been fully vaccinated for six months.

The National Institute of Health reported in a study that the Moderna booster "increased levels of neutralizing antibodies against all variants of concern."

The study also noted that booster shots "not only lengthen immunity but help broaden and strengthen the immune response."

The best way to protect yourself from rising infection rates and the inevitable close and large gatherings of family and friends is to receive a Moderna of Pfizer booster one month before gathering for the holidays.

With today's announcement, anyone over the age of 18 who has been fully vaccinated for six months can find a booster by going to COVID19.nj.gov and entering their zip code to find a booster shot location near you.

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