WATCH: State issues first COVID-19 school data

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TRENTON — The first release of COVID-19 data reported by school districts in New Jersey show Ocean County with the lowest vaccination rates among teachers and other staff; and Monmouth County reporting the highest number of cases among students and staff.

Thus far, coronavirus numbers have been provided to the state by 2,081 K-through-12 schools [nearly 60 percent] and 45 colleges and universities [more than 40 percent], according to Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, who summarized the data aid during Gov. Phil Murphy’s weekly coronavirus briefing on Monday.

[A recording of the full briefing was live-streamed via YouTube and can be viewed here.]  

Statewide, since the start of the calendar year, 18,747 COVID-19 cases have been reported among students and 4,095 among teachers or other staff in K-through-12 schools across New Jersey, Ms. Persichilli said.

​Colleges and universities​ have ​reported​ ​1,921 ​cases among students and ​483 ​among​ teachers or other staff.

​”Rates are higher among staff than students in both settings​,” the commissioner said.​ Case rates in K-through-12 schools were highest in early October and had begun to steadily decline until the second week of November when they began to increase again.​”​

Case rates in colleges and universities​,​ which had begun to decline in September, have since followed a similar upward trend​, the commissioner said. She called the threat a matter of ​​concern, particularly as​ the​ holiday season ​begins ​this week.

“COVID-19 remains a virulent adversary, Ms. Persichilli said. “For those who have not yet received their first dose or completed their series, we encourage you to get vaccinated ahead of the holiday gatherings and travel to avoid putting anyone, including yourself, at risk and to follow up then with your booster.”