KEY POINTS

  • There have been 58 deaths among the state's 10,000 breakthrough infections
  • Breakthrough infections in the week ending on Aug. 8 reached 1,397
  • Gov. Phil Murphy has announced a vaccine mandate for all teachers and state workers

Nearly 60 fully vaccinated residents have died of COVID-19 in the state of New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday. 

Health officials in New Jersey have reported 58 breakthrough deaths since the state began its vaccination program on Aug. 8. The figure accounts for 0.57% of all breakthrough cases reported throughout the state. 

“That current total number of 58 COVID-related deaths among more than 10,000 breakthrough cases among more than 5.1 million fully vaccinated individuals pales in comparison to the total number of deaths due to COVID from among the 4.1 million who are unvaccinated or not-fully vaccinated,” Murphy, D-N.J., said during a coronavirus briefing, according to NJ.com

During the Monday briefing, the governor also warned residents on the growing number of breakthrough infections and hospitalizations across the state. 

“As the Delta variant continues its rampage, we are seeing an increase in the number of breakthrough cases,” Murphy said, adding: “However, the percentage of positive test results from fully vaccinated individuals continues to be only a small part of the overall.”

In the week beginning Aug. 2 and ending on Aug. 8, health officials in New Jersey recorded 1,397 COVID-19 infections involving people who were fully vaccinated against the virus. The figure accounted for 18.36% of all positive cases recorded throughout that week.

State health officials also recorded 270 breakthrough hospitalizations since mid-January. From Aug. 2 to Aug 8 alone, 25 breakthrough hospitalizations were recorded, which accounted for 1.8% of all breakthrough cases. 

During the briefing, Gov. Murphy also announced a vaccine or testing mandate for all teachers and state workers in New Jersey amid the surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the highly contagious Delta variant. 

Under the new mandate, all preschool through grade 12 school personnel are required to be fully vaccinated against the virus by Oct. 18. Those who are yet to receive two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, would be required to undergo regular testing at least once each week.

The state’s vaccine mandate would apply to all school staffers and teachers, regardless of whether they are employed full-time, part-time, or contractual. It will also cover people working in public colleges and universities, as well as state agencies and authorities. 

"I made this point a couple weeks ago, we're not going to sacrifice the health of our kids or staff and masking and vaccinations of both students and staff, along with a layered approach to safety is our top priority for starting the year," Murphy said, according to Fox29

COVID-19 has so far infected more than 37,935,270 people and claimed 629,390 lives in the United States, making it the worst-affected country by the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy visits the scene of a shooting at a Jewish deli New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy visits the scene of a shooting at a Jewish deli Photo: Afp / Bryan R. Smith