N.J. reports 4,679 new COVID-19 cases, 34 deaths as hospitalizations mount

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Gov. Phil Murphy urged people to follow health precautions as cases of the virus surged.
New Jersey on Saturday reported 4,679 more coronavirus cases and 34 additional deaths while hospitalizations rose for the 22nd straight day as the second wave of the pandemic continues to barrage the state.

A day after Newark's mayor announced the state's largest city will ask residents to stay at home for 10 days beginning the day before Thanksgiving, Gov. Phil Murphy did not announce new restrictions Saturday to combat the second wave.

But Murphy, echoing top federal infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci's predictions, warned the next few months will be difficult. The governor said numbers will get "unequivocally worse" as more people head inside because of the colder weather, even though New Jersey has significantly increased testing.

Officials continued to urge residents to wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands, and keep the upcoming string of holiday celebrations small.

"The numbers speak for themselves. Please take this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Avoid large gatherings," Murphy said on Twitter.

On a bright note, officials on Friday also announced New Jersey could could get up to 160,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine by Christmas if the company wins emergency use approval from the federal government.

And if Moderna's vaccine takes a similar path, that could mean a total of 460,000 vaccine doses in the state by early January, while broader rollout to the general population could come by April or May.

New Jersey has now announced 302,039 total positive tests out of more than 5.5 million tests administered since the start of the outbreak in March.

The state of 9 million residents has reported 16,746 coronavirus deaths in that time, including 14,934 confirmed fatalities and 1,812 considered probable.

After Friday marked the first time in four days New Jersey reported fewer than 4,000 new cases, cases shot back up past the benchmark Saturday.

The statewide seven-day average for new positive tests increased to…
Rodrigo Torrejon | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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