New Jersey coronavirus update: FEMA vaccination center opens as COVID cases rise

Coronavirus Update New Jersey
NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- There are concerns in New Jersey as coronavirus numbers continue to go in the wrong direction.

The number of cases, hospitalizations and people on ventilators are on the rise as New Jersey had more than 4,000 new cases on Tuesday.

If the pace continues, Gov. Phil Murphy warns there could be more than 5,400 new daily cases by April 18, and in a worst-case scenario, more than 8,000 cases a day by May 18.

As cases are on the rise, the FEMA-run vaccination site at the New Jersey Institute of Technology opened to the public Wednesday.

The site at the Naimoli Family Athletic and Recreational Center will have the capacity to vaccinate 6,000 people per day.

It's the largest vaccination site in the state and is located close to public transportation, which is expected to increase access. It is one of 25 FEMA-operated sites around the country.

While the expansion is good news, officials say the best way to slow the trends is wearing masks, following health guidelines and getting vaccinated.

The robust new surge in cases is even hitting younger people.

"We have seen a 31% increase among hospitalizations in individuals between the ages of 20 and 29," Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said.

FEMA will run the site over the next eight weeks, giving the first dose of the vaccine for three weeks, the second dose the following three weeks and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine the final two weeks.

Vaccination eligibility expanded again in New Jersey Monday, and Governor Phil Murphy announced more restrictions that will be lifted at the end of the week.

Hundreds of thousands more New Jersey residents are now eligible get their COVID-19 vaccines, including:
--Restaurant, food processing and distribution industry workers
--Grocery personnel
--Warehouse workers
--Remaining eldercare workers
--Hospitality workers
--Elections workers
--Postal/shipping workers
--Judicial system employees

Murphy announced that effective Friday, April 2, at 6 a.m., the general limit on outdoor gathering will increase to 200 people.

The cap for indoor gatherings will remain at 25, and outdoor religious services, political activities, weddings, funerals, and memorial services will continue to have no capacity limit.

Also effective Friday, the threshold for venues to be considered a "large venue" will lower from 5,000 to 2,500, capacity for indoor seating at large venues increases to 20%, and capacity for outdoor seating at large venues increases to 30%.

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Lauren Glassberg has the latest on the vaccination sites in NYC and who is next in line for the shot.

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