There are some mixed messages in the latest COVID data posted by the state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the first time in 4 1/2 months, the CDC lists COVID activity in New Jersey as "high."

CDC

This comes despite most of the state's key metrics all trending in a positive direction.

The number of new positive tests for COVID continues to fall, down 5% in the last week. The rate of transmission is also dropping, to 1.03. Anything above one does indicate a continued viral spread, but the decrease shows the outbreak is lessening.

Hospitalizations have also continued to drop in New Jersey. After staying above 11,000 for weeks, just 1,037 of the infected are occupying hospital beds. There are now more people being discharged after recovering than are being admitted with new infections. However, many of those who are admitted are in need of life supporting care. 231 are listed in intensive care with 133 on ventilators.

New Jersey also has among the highest vaccination rates in the nation, and only Connecticut, Maryland and California have a higher COVID case rate.

So why the disparity with the CDC numbers?

As New Jersey 101.5's Michael Symons pointed out, the move to a "high" COVID activity rate is linked to a spike in cases in South Jersey. He notes with more people being admitted to hospitals in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties with "COVID like symptoms," state health officials moved those regions into the 'high' transmission category which is now reflected in the CDC map.

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