New COVID infections and hospitalizations, fueled by the omicron variant, continue to explode in New Jersey. There are now more COVID patients in the hospitals than in May 2020.

During the latest coronavirus update on Monday, which was held virtually, Gov. Phil Murphy announced another 20,428 confirmed positive cases, with 12 additional deaths and 4,715 hospitalizations.

“Over the past week we have seen a more than 50% increase in the number of individuals hospitalized for COVID-19, along with significant increases in both ICU and ventilator counts,” he said.

Don't ignore the warning

He urged everyone needs to take the omicron tsunami seriously.

The governor said the update was held virtually because first lady Tammy Murphy, even though she has been vaccinated, boosted, avoiding crowds and double masking, tested positive for COVID over the weekend.

Tammy Murphy
Tammy Murphy (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

“This thing is crazy transmissible. Don’t underestimate how easily you can get infected from this thing,” said the governor.

State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the current modeling shows this latest surge peaking during the middle of this month but “that might move up a little bit, because we’re kind of exceeding what the model shows.”

COVID hospitalizations could set a new record

She said based on what has happened over the past several days, “we’re looking at, at the peak, between 6,000 and it could be as high as 9,000 hospitalizations.”

The previous hospitalization peak in New Jersey, after the pandemic first erupted in April of 2020, was 8,270.

She stressed the importance of vaccinations, boosters, masking, hand washing and social distancing.

“This virus is unrelenting. It searches and finds vulnerable individuals,” said Persichilli.

The governor said no matter how you are feeling, it’s important for yourself and your loved ones to get tested for COVID.

“She (Tammy Murphy) had no clue that she had it, zero symptoms, she still has zero symptoms. To me that’s the bigger headline,” he said.

Murphy said he’s been tested for COVID several times since his wife tested positive and his tests have been negative.

He urged New Jerseyans to take the surge seriously and “mask up and get boosted.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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