By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s new warnings about the holiday season as the second wave of the coronavirus continues spreading. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday that Thanksgiving should include immediate family only.

Cases are increasing and so are the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19. Outbreaks in New Jersey schools now involve 83 students and teachers.

While the governor says that’s relatively low, he says Thanksgiving needs to look different this year.

“Start planning your holidays now and please plan for a smaller table this year,” Murphy said.

Murphy said holiday celebrations should be scaled back this year and held outside, if possible, because the coronavirus continues to increase and spread across the state

“We do not want a Thanksgiving dinner to turn tragic because someone unwittingly exposed a large number of their family members to the coronavirus,” Murphy said. “We urge you to not gather around the dining room table with anyone outside your immediate household.”

New Jersey has had three straight days with more than 900 cases as the positivity rate is now over 4%. Ocean County remains a hot spot, but the entire state is now in the moderate yellow zone.

“This is the first time the entire state has been in the yellow zone,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said. “We are seeing increasing case rates in all regions. Percentage of COVID-like illness is up in every region.”

The initial spike was blamed on young people, but the virus is spreading now more because of behavior patterns.

“People are congregating more than ever indoors,” Camden County epidemiologist Rianna Deluca said. “I think that plays a factor in it.”

Camden County is reporting 407 new weekly cases. The increases have come with many state restrictions being lifted and more businesses operating.

“This is nothing like we’ve seen a couple little spikes here and there in a couple days. These are trends that we’re seeing on a week’s average which are giving us some cause for pause,” Camden County Freeholder Jonathan Young said. “So, we’re asking everyone to please still be smart, wash your hands, wear your mask where necessary, keep your social distancing.”

Earlier this week, cases in New Jersey were high enough to qualify for the state’s own travel advisory. It applies to about 38 states considered hot spots, requiring people to quarantine for 14 days. But, today, New Jersey is below the advisory threshold.

Stephanie Stahl

Comments