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COVID-19 Spiking In 5 New Jersey Counties

U.S. Airman Kokou Dekadjevi administers a COVID-19 test.
U.S. Airman Kokou Dekadjevi administers a COVID-19 test. Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force photo/Ilka Cole

Coronavirus is "rising to a level of concern" in five New Jersey counties, Gov. Phil Murphy said at his latest briefing in Trenton.

"Whether it's through worship, indoor home gatherings, regardless of what the reason," said Murphy, "we are not out of the woods."

As of Friday, there were 202,100 positive cases in the state, he said.

Ocean County reported 439 cases -- the highest number of new ones in the state since Monday, NJ Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said. Lakewood accounts for at least half of those cases, Persichilli said.

Lakewood has become a "hot spot" for the virus, according to Murphy, who believes the increase in cases could be linked to prayer gatherings due to the Jewish high holidays.

Six-thousand additional test kits and more contact tracers have been sent to Ocean County.

Monmouth County's new 248 cases are among individuals ages 18 to 29, and linked to house gatherings and business operations, Persichilli said. Additional contact tracers are expected to be sent to the area.

Gloucester reports an additional 130 cases since Monday, which state officials says are related to students living on campus at Rowan University.

Bergen and Middlesex counties also reported an uptick in cases, state officials said.

Despite the recent virus spikes, New Jersey is still "in good shape," the White House's leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told Murphy on Thursday.

Fauci encouraged Murphy to continue with the state's reopening plan.

Meanwhile, a second COVID-19 wave is possible across the U.S.

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