The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging all New Jersey residents to mask-up again as the number of COVID-19 cases rise rapidly.

State and federal health officials have become increasingly concerned with the XBB COVID variant. It is highly contagious and has shown resistance to both vaccine protections as well as immunities from past COVID infections.

Dr. Ed Lifshitz, director of communicable disease service for the New Jersey Health Department, told New Jersey 101.5, "We’re paying very close attention to that, we’re watching what’s happening in hospitals both in New Jersey and around the world really on an ongoing basis."

According to the CDC, New Jersey residents should be wearing a mask both indoors and outside as community transmission levels are now "high" in all 21 counties.

As of Monday, New Jersey is reporting 4,336 new confirmed and probable COVID cases and 13 new deaths.

The rate of transmission (r/t) in New Jersey is at 1.02. An r/t over 1.0 indicates the virus is actively spreading.


An offshoot of the omicron variant, XBB may be highly contagious, but it does not seem to cause illness as severe as previous strains.

In addition to the rise in the number of COVID cases in recent weeks, health officials are also concerned with high numbers of flu and RSV virus. The so-called "triple-demic" has led to an increase in the number of people going to hospital emergency rooms in New Jersey.

The XBB variant is now the dominant strain moving through New Jersey, accounting for 75% of all new infections.

Recommending from the CDC to mask-up does not automatically trigger a mandate in New Jersey. Gov. Phil Murphy has indicated he does not anticipate and new restrictions.

A handful of New Jersey schools are now requiring masks for all students and staff as well as on school busses. Murphy has left the decision to mask up to the local districts.

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

25 richest people in America and how they did it

Stacker compiled a list of the 25 wealthiest people in the country and how they've maintained their fortune.

LOOK: Here's where people in every state are moving to most

Stacker analyzed the Census Bureau's 2019 American Community Survey data to determine the three most popular destinations for people moving out of each state.

How much does the average NJ home cost? Median prices by county

Everything is costing more these days — and housing is certainly no exception in New Jersey.

Data for 2022 from January through August, compiled by New Jersey Realtors, shows that South Jersey has been seeing homes hit the market and sell in less than a month, on average.

Median prices for single-family homes have reached $500,000 and above in nine counties in North and Central Jersey.

All but two counties have seen houses go for more than the list price, on average, this year.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM