New Jersey Coronavirus Update: As cases rise, is another shutdown looming?

New Jersey coronavirus update
NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Coronavirus metrics are trending in the wrong direction in New Jersey, leading to concerns that another complete shutdown is looming.

The positivity rate is a staggering 10.88%, and the number of daily new cases has surpassed 4,000 four times in the past five days.

Also worrisome, 42% of COVID patients in the intensive care unit are on ventilators.

Gov. Phil Murphy called the latest numbers grim and sobering, saying the state could start to see between 8,000 and 10,000 new cases daily as well as deaths in the triple digits.

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Cities with the most significant rise in cases could soon see more severe restrictions as leaders work to get the virus in check.

"If our numbers go up, we have considered a shutdown," Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren said. "That could extend from 24 hours out to seven to 10 days."

State health officials are hoping the latest coronavirus measures will reverse the surge in cases.

Newark and three neighboring municipalities are teaming up in an effort to bring the numbers down, but officials say many essential workers live in the area -- which complicates efforts for a shutdown.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop on Thursday announced a multi-faceted approach to combat the current uptick in COVID-19 cases throughout the region.

In light of the upcoming holidays and family gatherings, Jersey City is now offering rapid response tests and is expanding mobilized testing efforts to target hotspots and vulnerable populations.

The city is also rolling out Mask Up JC, providing over 1 million free masks to the public.

Hoboken is now boosting its COVID-19 contact tracing efforts, and beginning Friday, businesses including restaurants, bars, gyms, and salons will be required to record contact information.

They'll also have to record when each customer arrives. The information will only be shared with the Hoboken health department if there is a positive coronavirus case.

In Newark, officials announced a new initiative to close city streets leading into the East Ward over the weekend from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m., namely in the ZIP code 07105.

An additional 4,063 cases Wednesday brings the state case total to 289,562, and 27 additional fatalities raised the death toll to 14,843.

Murphy pleaded with residents to avoid gatherings with anyone outside their immediate family, especially for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.
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He also joined with six other northeast governors to urge all colleges and universities to make COVID-19 testing available to all residential students before they leave for Thanksgiving break.

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