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In-school COVID outbreaks in New Jersey rise to 96, with 521 cases among students, teachers, and administrators

In-school COVID outbreaks in New Jersey rise to 96, with 521 cases among students, teachers, and administrators

According to state-updated data, the number of in-school COVID-19 outbreaks in New Jersey jumped to 96 on Wednesday, while the total number involving students, teachers, and staff climbed to 521.

The number of outbreaks increased by 27 over the last week, and the number total of cases increased 63 percent. 17 staff and 125 students are now involved in these cases.

Gov. Phil Murphy said during his afternoon coronavirus briefing that this dashboard tracks COVID outbreaks that lead to three or more infections and which are determined to have stemmed from in-school activities. We are well aware that additional students, educators, and staff may have been exposed and infected during social gatherings or other means of community spread, as well as infecting them through other methods. These cases are not tracked on our dashboard, and the layered approach to safety we have adopted across all of our schools is intended to prevent these instances of community spread becoming in-school outbreaks.

A total of 62 towns have reported outbreaks. Only two counties Burlington and Warren have yet to report a school with an outbreak. Middlesex County reported its first outbreak. Cape May, Mercer, Passaic, and Salem experienced no new outbreaks in the past week.

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As of Wednesday, the following were the in-school outbreaks and cases:

  • Atlantic County, Atlantic Province: 12 outbreaks involving a total of 43 cases, resulting in 84 deaths.
  • Bergen County, Berger County: 7 outbreaks involving 36 cases, resulting in 37 deaths.
  • Camden County, Camshire County: 11 outbreaks involving 42 cases resulting in 11 deaths.
  • Cumberland County, Cumbria County 3 outbreaks involving 17 cases have occurred, with 17 deaths.
  • Cape May County, Cape Cod 4 outbreaks involving 15 cases (no new outbreak)
  • Essex County, Essex 5 outbreaks involving 20 cases resulting in 5 cases.
  • Gloucester County: 4 outbreaks involving 25 cases.
  • Hudson County, New York 3 outbreaks involving 12 cases, resulting in 3 deaths.
  • Hunterdon County, Ontario, United States of America 33 cases of 33 outbreaks and a total of 3 outbreak involving 33 infections.
  • Mercer County: 9 outbreaks involving a total of 39 cases (no new outbreak)
  • Middlesex County, Middle East County 1 outbreak involving 6 cases resulting in 1 case study.
  • County, Monmouth County 10 outbreaks involving a total of 47 cases have resulted in ten outbreak events.
  • Morris County, NJ: 5 outbreaks involving 25 cases and 5 cases of 5 epidemics.
  • Ocean County, Maryland: 4 outbreaks involving 17 cases involved 4 cases.
  • County in Passaic County: 2 outbreaks involving 62 cases ( no new outbreak)
  • County Salem County: 1 outbreak involving 3 cases (no new outbreaks)
  • Somerset County: 3 outbreaks involving 26 cases resulting in 3 deaths.
  • Sussex County, Sussex 6 outbreaks totaling 24 cases, resulting in a total of 6 cases.
  • Union County, Indiana, United States 29 cases were affected in the third outbreak, which involved 29 outbreaks.

The figures are cumulative totals since the start of the school year, with most of these cases having already been resolved.

Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy said that the state will require all schools in the region to report all COVID-19 testing and vaccination data among students and staff members to the health department on a weekly basis, regardless of where infections occurred.

Anyone who works at any school public or private - in the state must be vaccinated or tested for the coronavirus at least once a week on Monday.

New Jersey had 281 school outbreaks in the 2020-21 school year, with 1,263 positive tests among students, teachers, and school staff. Many schools spent a lot of the year either completely remote or in solitary confinement.

This year, the definition of a school outbreak has changed. The state previously defined a school outbreak as cases where two or more students, teachers, or school staff contracted the virus at school. State officials said this year that the definition was increased to three or more students to conform with how the federal Centers for Disease Control counts school outbreaks.

The outbreak numbers include only cases in which contact tracers believe people caught the virus at school. They do not include students, teachers, and school staff who tested positive, but are believed to have contracted the virus at home or during other activities outside school.

Everyone aged 12 and older is eligible for a free vaccine. Health experts have repeatedly stated that the vaccines are safe and effective at significantly reducing the chance of hospitalization and death. Children from ages 5 to 11 are expected to be eligible later this year.

Matt Arco, NJ Advance Media's staff writer, contributed to this report.

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Jeff Goldman can be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com.

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