COVID-19 hospitalizations in New Jersey spiked another 10% over the weekend, quickly rising to levels last seen in the first week of May 2020, as the state topped more than 20,000 new cases for the sixth day running.
As of Saturday, 4,715 people were hospitalized in the state with the virus, a net increase of 441 people from the prior day. (Hospital data is a day in arrears on the state's dashboard, so the Saturday total was posted early Monday morning.)
The number of people in the hospital with COVID has now quadrupled in the last month. The state is well past the surge it saw in the winter of 2020/21, and is rapidly approaching the pandemic-era high of just over 8,000 cases in April 2020.
Last week the chief physician executive at Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey's largest hospital network, told News 4 the state would eclipse that mark by mid-January, and that the network was preparing to implement "crisis standards of care."
Fueling the growing crisis is an out-of-control outbreak of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the state. Before December 22, New Jersey had never seen more than 7,000 positive tests in a day; it is now consistently reporting well over 20,000 a day.
On Monday the state reported another 20,428 PCR-confirmed infections, bringing the total to more than 165,000 in just the last week -- roughly 1 out of every 50 New Jersey residents.
Last week the state's Department of Health asked people to stop going to emergency rooms for COVID testing because the facilities were already so overwhelmed.