While New York confronts an aggressive surge of COVID-19, New Jersey is quietly going through the same spike, with new cases at an 11-month high and hospitalizations at levels last seen in the spring.
New Jersey reported 6,271 new lab-confirmed cases Thursday and 6,260 on Friday, the highest single-day totals since mid-January and an increase of nearly 40% in just one week.
Hospitalizations are on the rise too, up 14% in a week to levels last recorded in April.
On the latest day for which data was available, the state said about one in every eight COVID tests statewide came back positive -- again, back to April levels.
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"This pandemic, and I say this with the heaviest of hearts, is going to get worse before it gets better," Gov. Phil Murphy said. "My fear is we're going to get back to capacity limits in some form or another."
Omicron Variant: The Latest
Around the state, impacts are growing. Princeton University this week moved finals online as cases on campus increased.
The university's rolling seven-day average of daily positive tests more than doubled from Dec. 10 to Dec. 15.
The CDC has said that the fast-spreading, highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 is being detected in New York and New Jersey at a rate about 4x the rest of the country.
In Hoboken, Mayor Ravi Bhalla made it required for anyone participating in Saturday's annual SantaCon bar crawl to be fully vaccinated, and have proof in order to enter bars. He said the city won't be taking "a heavy-handed approach," but did say that if any bars are found to be intentionally flouting the executive order, then they would be shut down "on the spot."