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N.J. COVID updates: Vaccine eligibility expands; Record number of cases; Gun permits spike. What you need to – NJ.com


Jan 14, 2021

Millions more people in New Jersey are now eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 following an announcement by Gov. Phil Murphy expanding the rollout on Wednesday.

People who live, work or study in New Jersey who are 65 or older can now receive an appointment to receive shot, the governor said. Smokers as well as people from 16 to 64 with certain medical conditions are also vaccine eligible.

There are about 4.47 million who meet vaccination eligibility beginning Thursday: Two million smokers, 1.47 million people older than 65 and up to 1 million people with other chronic illnesses.

People are still asked to pre-register on the state’s website. Residents who have pre-registered with the state should receive a notification about when to schedule an appointment, Murphy said. The state will then provide a link where you can select a vaccine location and then set an appointment with the facility’s website.

More than 1.2 million people had pre-registered on the state site as of Wednesday,

There were 3,638 people in the state’s 71 hospitals with the coronavirus or a case under investigation as of 10 p.m Wednesday, down 88 from the 3,726 in the previous 24-hour period.

Hospitalizations have been between roughly 3,500 and 3,800 for more than a month.

Murphy on Wednesday, disclosed a 6,922 additional COVID-19 cases – a single day record – and 95 more deaths.

The seven-day average for new confirmed cases increased Wednesday to 5,679, up 22% from a week ago and 18% from a month ago. That’s the highest seven-day average in the outbreak to date, though the lack of testing in the spring likely undercounted the extent of the infections in the first wave.

At 277,118 vaccine doses have been administered in New Jersey as of shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday, the most recent update the state provided on its dashboard. Of the vaccinations, 245,785 were first doses. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations each require two shots.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Live map tracker | Newsletter | Homepage

Here’s a roundup of the latest coronavirus news in New Jersey and elsewhere:

It’s time to let N.J. teachers get COVID vaccine, lawmakers say: New Jersey can’t wait any longer to begin vaccinating its teachers against the coronavirus and should expand eligibility as soon as possible, two Republican state lawmakers said Wednesday.

The state is already vaccinating health care workers, nursing home residents as well as police officers, firefighters and prisoners.

New Jersey educators are in Phase 1b of the state’s vaccination program, a group that also includes first responders, food service workers, day care employees and public transit workers.

N.J. gun permit applications are spiking. How fear brought unprecedented demand: New Jersey is witnessing an unprecedented surge in gun permit applications and firearm purchases, according to state statistics and gun shop owners. Up and down the state, from cities like Hoboken to suburban towns like Brick, residents are coming out in droves to buy guns. It’s causing major delays in the law enforcement background check process, and gun shops can’t keep their shelves stocked.

There were 442,214 handgun permit applications filed in 2020, according to the New Jersey State Police. That’s a staggering 332% increase from the 102,270 filed in 2019.

N.J. prison with worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country set to get vaccine next week: The Fort Dix federal prison, which currently has the most positive coronavirus cases of any federal correctional facility, is set to get the COVID-19 vaccine next week, NJ Advance Media has learned.

James Reiser, the prison’s case management coordinator, said in a court document on Wednesday that the prison expects to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Jan. 19. It will be administered in accordance with the Bureau of Prisons policy, though it is unclear how many doses the prison will initially receive, Reiser said.

N.J. school district plans to remain virtual for remainder of school year due to COVID: Hillside Public Schools will remain remote through the remainder of the academic school year due to the coronavirus, interim Superintendent Robert Gregory announced to parents Tuesday in a letter.

The plan will remain unless trends in the coronavirus go in a better direction or there is any new legislation, executive order or guidance from the state, the letter said.

This is the first district NJ Advance Media has learned of that plans to stay remote throughout the year.

Only 15% of the COVID vaccine N.J. saved for long-term care has been used: When state officials announced that long-term care residents and staff would be among the first to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it made good sense to reserve 215,000 doses of the weekly shipments from the federal government for that purpose.

But a month after New Jersey received its first vaccine deliveries and 2 1/2 weeks after nursing home vaccinations started, only 15% of that vaccine has made it out of the freezer and into someone’s arm.

COVID concerns have schools canceling winter sports. Here’s the latest list: With indoor, winter sports set to begin, at least 14 New Jersey schools have canceled, delayed or limited their seasons due to safety concerns for their student-athletes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Burlington City was the first cancel in October, and the list grew to double digits this week as practices in basketball, bowling and fencing began Monday.

Respected N.J. police officer dies after ‘valiant fight’ against COVID, officials say: A Newark police officer died Wednesday of coronavirus complications, marking the seventh member of the state’s largest local police force to succumb to the virus, his family and officials said.

Officer Hector Moya was 55. He served with the Newark police for more than two decades.

U.S. cases: At least 84,784 of the approximately 23.1 million to test positive for the coronavirus in the U.S. have died as of 7 a.m. Thursday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide cases: As of 7 a.m. Thursday, the coronavirus has led to about 1.98 million deaths in 191 counties, according to the center. More than 92.4 million have been infected since the outbreak started in December 2019. At least 51.1 million have recovered.

NJ Advance Media staff writers Matt Arco, Joe Atmonavage, Karin Price Mueller, Adam Clark, Brent Johnson, Alex Napoliello and Rebecca Panico contributed to this report.

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