COVID hospitalizations surpass 1,000 in NJ

The number of people hospitalized in New Jersey with COVID infections has reached its highest level in months, now surpassing 1,000 statewide.

State Department of Health data lists 1,046 people hospitalized, including 195 patients requiring intensive care and 105 on ventilators.

This is not due to the new omicron variant, which has yet to be confirmed in New Jersey or anywhere in the United States.

Governor Phil Murphy on Monday urged residents to get out as much as possible as the virus spreads more easily indoors.

Meanwhile, even though there is little evidence that the omicron variant of COVID causes more serious illness, federal health officials continue to sound the alarm bells.

Doctors in South Africa, where the mutation was first discovered, said they observed mostly mild to moderate disease in patients who tested positive for the variant.

White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci is focusing on what we don’t know. Is it transmissible? Can he escape current vaccine protections?

Fauci suggested that the current vaccinations and boosters would offer some level of protection, and again on Tuesday he continued to promote vaccinations and boosters before Omicron moved to the United States.

President Joe Biden should publish the US strategy to combat omicron in the coming days.

The administration, for its part, to tighten testing requirements for international travelers in the United States, including vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

According to the Associated Press, this may include requiring all air travelers to the United States to be tested for COVID the day before boarding their flight. Currently, those who are fully vaccinated can have a test done within three days of boarding.

There were questions as to whether current tests will detect the omicron variant, and preliminary data suggests they will. The FDA says lab tests will almost certainly detect omicron and all of the other variants.

The maker of one of the most popular home COVID tests says their product will also detect the omicron variant. Abbot Labs is the maker of the binaxNOW test and has released a statement that its home test does not rely on the spike gene to detect the virus. It is this cutting edge gene where scientists have detected significant mutations in the omicron. The FDA has agreed, for now, that home testing should remain accurate, but said more studies are needed.

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