Ocean County added 249 new cases of coronavirus disease on Wednesday as demand for testing continues to increase amidst a national spike in the pandemic.
Freeholder Gerry Little said the county health department reported five additional deaths overnight, bringing the disease’s toll to 1,067 lives lost. In all, there have been 22,545 cases recorded in the county. Meanwhile, the positivity rate of those tested for Covid-19 was 9.57 percent, a significant jump over numbers from the summer and early fall, though lower than the state’s overall positivity rate of 13.68 percent.
The county reported cases at 27 of its long term care facilities, a concerning number that continues to rise.
“At one time we were down to 10” facilities with cases, Little said. Data showed that 24 of the day’s new cases were in nursing homes, for a total of 3,258 cases since the pandemic began. Figures show 50 percent of the county’s recorded deaths due to coronavirus are linked to long term care facilities.
Despite the surge, there are signs that Ocean County residents are taking the advice of officials to get tested for the virus.
“We have seen a very major uptick in the number of people seeking tests for Covid-19,” Little said.
The county performed 266 tests on Wednesday at its drive-through testing center at Ocean County College, and is expecting to perform 275 tests Thursday.
In line with national trends, the county’s eldest residents are most at risk to succumb to the virus. Locally, just 5 percent of coronavirus cases were in those 85 or older, but the same group accounted for 37 percent of Covid-19 deaths.