Covid-19 Update- March 2023

By: Matt McGovern, MPH, CHES, LINCS COVID-19 Epidemiologist/Data Manager

As of Friday, February 24th, 2023, the 7-day average of cases in the state of New Jersey was 775, which declined by 19% from a week ago and 48% from 1 month ago. As a result, the rate of transmission in NJ has decreased from 0.95 last week to 0.80, which indicates that cases have leveled off and the outbreak is declining. Over the course of the past month, Morris County has been in the medium level of COVID-19 community levels due in large part to the percentage of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients being over 10% of the weekly totals. In recent weeks, neighboring counties such as Passaic, Essex, Union, Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren have entered the low level of community levels due to their declining case rates, as well as reduced hospitalizations and ICU admissions. Hopefully, within the next week or two, Morris County will join them in the low level of COVID activity.

Currently, CDC forecasts project that on 3/15/23, New Jersey will range between approximately 60 to 320 new hospital admissions. For comparison purposes, on 1/20/23 new hospital admissions were predicted to be at about 80 to 525. On 3/15/23, NJ deaths are projected to be at approximately 10 to 80 new deaths. For comparison purposes, on 1/20/23 deaths were predicted to be at about 45 to 195. Thus, based on the data, COVID hospitalizations and deaths are expected to decrease.

The COVID-19 cases in New Jersey continue to be solely attributed to the omicron variant, with its subvariants comprising all cases. According to the most recent COVID-19 Variant Surveillance Report (week ending February 4, 2023), XBB.1.5 is the most common omicron subvariant sequenced in the past 4 weeks in NJ, comprising 78.9% of sequenced samples. The other subvariants of note are as follows: BQ.1.1 (8.7%), XBB (4.4%), BQ.1 (3.6%), BA.5 (1.9%), CH.1.1 (0.9%), and BA.2 (0.7%). Additionally, BQ.1 was the predominant subvariant of omicron from 11/19/22 – 12/17/22 and BA.5 was the predominant subvariant of omicron from 6/19/22 – 11/18/22.

More than 4.3 million people in New Jersey are “up to date” with their COVID-19 vaccinations, meaning that they received their primary series dose(s), and booster dose. For context, there are more than 9.2 million New Jerseyans. Of these, 8 million residents have received a first dose, and 7.1 million are fully vaccinated (received a primary vaccination series).

A new resource released by the CDC pertaining to COVID-19 testing has been made available to the public. It has placed an emphasis on testing sites near you that are available at no cost. The tests made available at these locations include both PCR and rapid tests. Utilizing this tool, you will be able to make an appointment. Additionally, the same is true for , where you can find sites providing COVID vaccines and boosters. If you enter your zip code on the page, all available sites will populate.

To learn more about COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, please see below for further resources:

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