COVID cases rising as NJ prepares to vax kids
After recording the lowest community transmission rate in the nation just a week ago, the CDC COVID Data tracker now puts Union County back at a "substantial risk."
Union is one of a handful of North Jersey counties that has seen infection rates start to rise. Passaic County has seen an increase of 43% over the last seven days, and has also been moved up from "moderate" to "high risk."
New Jersey's overall rate of transmission has been rising over the last week, now at .93. Anything below 1.0, however, means the outbreak is continuing to contract.
Much of New Jersey remains at the CDC's highest risk tier. Nine counties are one level below. Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset, and Union counties are listed as "substantial."
Hospitalizations for COVID infections have continued to drop, even as the transmission rate rises. 682 people are hospitalized statewide, with 170 in critical or intensive care and 95 on ventilators, according to New Jersey's COVID dashboard.
The increase in transmission rate comes as state health officials prepare to launch a vaccination campaign for children as young as 5.
The CDC is expected to grant emergency use authorization to the Pfizer COVID vaccine as early as Tuesday.
New Jersey has already ordered hundreds of thousands of child sized doses of the Pfizer drug, and state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli says they will be ready to begin giving inoculations as early as Wednesday.
However, many parents will not be rushing out to have their kids take the jab.
A Kaiser Family Foundation Poll found only 27% of parents say they want to get their kids vaccinated right away. 33% want to wait and see.
Moderna announced they were delaying their application for approval of their COVID vaccine for kids as young as 6, after the FDA delayed a decision on use for kids between 12 and 17. There have been rare instances of heart inflammation linked to the Moderna drug in kids, and drug regulators say they want more time to study the potential side effect.