Six counties classified as high level of COVID-19

Thousands of New Jersey residents are still testing positive for COVID-19 every day, as six counties continue to see high levels of the virus, and experts say, they’re seeing the effectiveness of the first booster begin to decline. 

The most recent numbers available still show close to 3,000 new cases in the state, and last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added another two counties to the list of those with high transmission in the state.

Monmouth County is one of six counties classified as a high level of COVID-19, the others include Morris, Burlington, Camden, Atlantic, and Cape May counties.

The levels are being fueled by the highly contagious BA.5 Omicron variant.

The high classification triggers a mask wearing recommendation by the CDC, but there are no new mandates. 

The most recent statewide rate of transmission is 1.02, which shows the virus spread remains nearly steady.

Last week, experts from the Food and Drug Administration reported studies showing effectiveness of primary vaccination drops over time against the Omicron variant, and while initial booster doses have helped restore protection against severe disease and hospitalizations, studies have also indicated waning effectiveness of first booster doses over time.

Hospitalizations remain under 1,000, with 901 reported, according to the state covid dashboard.