CDC drops some masking restrictions as NJ hits 1.66M first doses
The Philadelphia Inquirer/Office of the Governor)
TRENTON — The state hit another vaccine milestone on Monday, surpassing 2.5 million doses administered as officials urged residents to have patience and repeated that the next few weeks would present the toughest gap between supply and demand for shots.
Issuing a new set of public health recommendations on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested following a known exposure if asymptomatic.
They also can gather indoors with other vaccinated people without masking or visit unvaccinated people who are not considered at-risk.
That guidance was released amid the state’s new push to vaccinate teachers and school staff, which Gov. Phil Murphy has said is crucial to getting schools back to in-person instruction.
Vaccine stats in New Jersey
The addition of teachers and childcare staff ahead of the state’s previous March 15 timeline was due to the federal mandate issued by President Joe Biden last week.
As of Monday morning, 1.66 million people had received their first doses while more than 854,000 of them had received their second doses, according to state data.
It took three weeks to move from a million to 2 million shots administered, while the most recent 500,000 shots were distributed in just one week, the governor said, stressing that the state would see incremental increases in vaccine supply for the next few weeks.
Murphy said by the last week of March, the supply of all three vaccines should rise by a “quantum” amount for the state.
Latest COVID-19 stats in New Jersey
The state reported another 2,201 new confirmed cases of coronavirus, based on PCR test results and 421 new probable cases, based on rapid antigen test results on Monday.
There also were 20 new lab-confirmed deaths Monday, while the rate of transmission was at 1.06, the daily percent positivity at 7.13% and 1,786 patients with the virus were hospitalized.
As for the current week's supply, 374,870 doses were expected from federal officials, State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. That included 198,550 first doses of either Pfizer or Moderna and the remaining 176,320 earmarked as second doses.
Who is considered fully vaccinated?
A person is considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks or more after they have received either the second dose in a two-dose series, such as Pfizer and Moderna, or a single-dose vaccine like Johnson & Johnson, which is being distributed under the Janssen brand, according to the CDC guidance issued Monday.
Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with others who are fully vaccinated with no precautions, or visit low-risk unvaccinated people from one household with no precautions, the CDC also advised, while adding that even those fully vaccinated should still follow mask wearing and social distancing in public spaces.
Public health officials at Murphy's briefing on Monday that the CDC's guidance does not apply to long-term care facilities, which house some of the most vulnerable populations.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney detailed plans on Saturday to offer vaccines to all 4,600 or so educators in the school districts of Gloucester County in coming weeks at the Gloucester mega-site.
As of Monday, Union and Morris counties had no specific efforts regarding vaccines for educators.