The average number of new coronavirus infections being diagnosed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey showed no sign of slowing Monday, even after warnings last week from officials advising the public to double down on safety practices.
Both states had higher new case count averages this week than last Monday, according to an Inquirer data analysis — and are part of a trend of increases both nationally and in the Northeast.
New York has also begun fighting an emerging surge; over the weekend, new restrictions took effect in parts of New York City. New case counts continued rising in other states — in the middle of the country, including in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Nebraska, and in mountain states, including Montana and Utah.
As of Monday, the United States had recorded almost 7.8 million cases and was nearing 215,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Pennsylvania reported 1,088 new coronavirus cases and six deaths on Monday. The commonwealth was averaging 1,300 new cases a day over the last seven days, according to an Inquirer analysis, an increase of 23% compared with this time last week.
The state’s rate of positive tests was about 3.8% last week, the Department of Health said. The previous week was 3.9% and the week before was 3.2%.
“Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and following the requirements set forth in the orders for bars and restaurants, gatherings, and telework will help keep our case counts low,” Health Secretary Rachel Levine said in a statement.
Philadelphia, Delaware, Lancaster, Berks, and Schuylkill are among counties that have seen rises in recent days. Using 14-day totals of new cases per 100,000 people, Philadelphia went from 116 on Oct. 1 to 163 on Sunday; Delaware County went from 94 to 125; and Schuylkill went from 108 to 180.
Bucks and Montgomery Counties logged smaller increases but also appeared to be on at least a slight upward trend. The trend in Chester County was not clear.
Another of Philadelphia’s largest employers announced major cuts due to the coronavirus on Monday: Thomas Jefferson University plans to cut 500 positions through attrition, freeze pay of top executives, and stop retirement-plan contributions for a year. The medical system is struggling to stem losses caused by the pandemic, partly due to holds on elective surgeries, which have caused financial problems for hospitals nationwide.
New Jersey reported 478 newly confirmed cases and one death on Monday. The state was averaging 772 new daily cases over the last week, an increase of 14% compared with the week earlier and up 110% compared with this time last month, according to Inquirer data analysis.
The state also reported 662 people hospitalized with the virus, marking the sixth straight day above 600 and the highest level since August (though well below the highs earlier this year).
As of Monday, 58 COVID-19 cases had been linked to 16 schools across nine New Jersey counties, according to a Department of Health dashboard. They include 26 cases in nine school districts in South Jersey — two districts each in Cape May, Gloucester, Salem, and Burlington Counties, and one in Atlantic County.
The state doesn’t report the names of the schools or the districts.
At the Shore, coronavirus cases have hit four restaurants in Margate, forcing each of them to close temporarily in recent days.
First, Roberts, the iconic day-into-night bar, shut down for two weeks because a staff member tested positive. Then Dino’s, the Ventnor Avenue sub shop, closed and sanitized, it announced on Facebook, and will reopen Thursday.
Ventura’s Greenhouse then closed, reopening Monday and set to reopen the dining room Thursday. The next day, Tomatoes, the popular restaurant on the bay, also shuttered for sanitizing after an employee tested positive.
“Restaurants are about community,” Ventura’s Greenhouse said on Facebook, “and we strive to be a place where people feel safe and well taken care of.”