These 2 counties in N.J. would be under a travel advisory under the state’s 14-day quarantine rules

Noble Horvath

There are 35 states and territories New Jerseys considers hotspots for the coronavirus as of Tuesday. Residents of those states or Garden State residents who are returning from them should quarantine for 14 days, state officials say. New Jersey, of course, doesn’t restrict travel between the state’s 21 counties […]

There are 35 states and territories New Jerseys considers hotspots for the coronavirus as of Tuesday. Residents of those states or Garden State residents who are returning from them should quarantine for 14 days, state officials say.

New Jersey, of course, doesn’t restrict travel between the state’s 21 counties based on COVID numbers.

But if did, two counties would fit the criteria as of Tuesday and would fall in the same category as states on the travel advisory: Gloucester and Ocean.

Both have a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, which is one of the things that triggers whether or not a state is added to the travel advisory, according to NJ Advance Media data. The other way to be added is to be a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate among those who were tested over a 7-day rolling average.

Gloucester County (the state’s 14th most populated county with a population of less than 300,000) would have fallen under this criteria since Sept. 10 . Ocean County (6th most populated with more than 600,000 people) people would have been added to the list as of late last week, according to the data.

Gloucester has 10.4 cases per 100,000 residents and Ocean stands at 13.5.

The next three counties that come the closest to hitting 10 per 100,000 people are Monmouth (7.2), Burlington (6.1) and Camden (6), according to the data. The ones that fare the best as of Tuesday are Warren (1.5), Sussex (2.6) and Mercer (2.8) counties.

Gov. Phil Murphy was asked Monday about spikes in Monmouth and Ocean counties — which together accounted for nearly 30% of the most recent positive cases.

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The governor said “house parties or at least a house party” was to blame for a recent increase in Monmouth County.

State health officials have added additional contact tracers to Ocean County to track down cases in Lakewood, Judy Persichilli, the commissioner of the Department of Health, said Monday.

“We’re just seeing a general increase in cases (there),” Persichilli said during Murphy’s regular COVID-19 briefing.

“I don’t think we’ve been able to identify any specific cause right now,” she said. “But again, we’re remaining very vigilant because Lakewood has been a hotspot in the past and we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Police have been used to shut down gatherings in Lakewood that violated the governor’s executive orders used to blunt the spread of the virus. More recently, the school district opened for five-day-a-week in-person learning despite opposition from the teachers’ union. Two staffers and several students are in quarantine after recently testing positive.

Murphy’s office didn’t immediately say why there is larger number of cases in Gloucester County.

New Jersey, an early coronavirus hotspot, has reported 16,076 deaths attributed to the virus — 14,285 lab-confirmed and 1,791 considered probable — in the more than six months since the state announced its first case March 4.

The state of 9 million people has reported 200,580 COVID-19 cases out of more than 3.39 million tests administered since its first case.

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Matt Arco may be reached at [email protected]

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©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

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