New Jersey reported a record high in daily coronavirus cases Saturday, as Philadelphia officials prepared for a Monday announcement expected to bring more restrictions as case numbers in the city surge past those recorded in the pandemic’s spring peak.
New Jersey listed 4,395 new infections, eclipsing the previous high of 4,391 on April 17, when the Garden State and New York led the nation in cases. That’s also 10 times the daily new caseloads reported over the summer, when shutdowns of public places such as movie theaters and gyms seemed to slow the spread.
“These numbers are alarming and concerning, to say the least,” Gov. Phil Murphy said on Twitter announcing the grim new daily total along with 26 deaths. He urged mask-wearing and social distancing.
On Friday, New Jersey reported 3,399 new cases and 28 deaths. Pennsylvania reported 5,531 new cases and 30 deaths. It provided no new data Saturday.
All week, Pennsylvania’s new cases were far above what it reported on the heaviest days last spring, and the 51,500 people infected across the state over the last two weeks represented one-fifth of all cases from the last eight months.
Cases had peaked at just over 2,000 per day in late April before dropping under 1,000 for most of the summer, then accelerating as some schools resumed and outdoor temperatures fell, driving people indoors.
In Philadelphia, the recent trend is no more comforting: The city reported 1,158 new cases Friday, recording more than 1,000 cases in a single day for the first time. That came on the same day The Inquirer reported Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration was considering new restrictions that might dial back indoor dining, close gyms and theaters, and urge remote work over a return to the office setting. A news conference is scheduled for Monday.
Officials elsewhere in the region have also rolled back loosened coronavirus restrictions.
In Montgomery County, the most populous of Philadelphia’s collar counties, the decision by the Board of Health on Friday to order all K-12 schools to close for two weeks beginning Nov. 23 has been met with frustration from parents, who planned protests throughout the weekend.
Last Monday, Murphy ordered New Jersey restaurants to halt indoor dining between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. By Friday, Atlantic City’s biggest casino, the Borgata, had informed employees that the curfew would result in layoffs of 73 workers and cut hours for 349 others, the Associated Press reported.