PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania and New Jersey are COVID-19 hot spots with some of the highest numbers in the country. Cases continue to climb, even though vaccinations are also increasing.
Optimism about more vaccinations is mixed with concerns over the virus spreading again, and the Philadelphia region is located right in the middle of the one of worst trends in the country.READ MORE: Philadelphia To Begin Offering Children Ages 12-15 Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine On Thursday After CDC's Recommendation
Pennsylvania and New Jersey are among a handful of states with the highest numbers of new COVID-19 cases.
“We are seeing increases primarily among young individuals, which wasn’t what we saw previously,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said. “New Jersey ranks third in hospitalizations per 100,000 in the United States and we rank seventh in deaths.”
Officials in New Jersey are concerned the virus might be out-pacing the increase in vaccinations.
“Statistics demonstrate this virus is unrelenting and we are still in the midst of this battle. We cannot let our guard down,” Persichilli said. “Despite the increasing number of vaccinations, we must remain vigilant.”
It’s a similar situation in Pennsylvania.
Officials say COVID cases are increasing because not enough people have been vaccinated, even though supplies have increased dramatically.READ MORE: Gasoline Shortage Appears To Be Creeping Into Philadelphia Region As Colonial Pipeline Resumes Operations
“This week, the county received the largest delivery of vaccine to date,” Dr. Val Arkoosh, the chairperson of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, said.
Arkoosh says infection increases in Montgomery County are related mainly to private gatherings and student athletics. Also, the more contagious variants are now widespread.
“People are relaxing and right now, in our community, the virus is even more contagious than it was,” Arkoosh said.
Hospitalizations are also increasing.
“I do think it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Dr. John Zurlo, the head of infectious diseases at Jefferson Health, said.
Zurlo says cases are spreading among young people who aren’t vaccinated.
“It’s a bad combination of a more transmissible virus as people let down their guards so that’s a little bit disappointing,” Zurlo said.MORE NEWS: Man Shot 11 Times, Killed In Southwest Philadelphia Quadruple Shooting, Police Say
COVID-19 cases are up 75% in Pennsylvania since mid-March, but officials hope they can reverse that trend by getting more people vaccinated.