Despite warnings from state health officials that another COVID spike is coming, there are continuing signs the current outbreak is contracting.

The rate of transmission (r/t) did increase slightly over the weekend to .91, but anything below 1.0 indicates the outbreak is shrinking.

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Hospitalizations have also dropped below 900 for the first time in months. Among those admitted to the hospital in New Jersey, nearly a quarter are in need of life-supporting care.

More encouraging is the drop in the number of new infections. The number of people testing positive for coronavirus is down nearly 16% from a month ago. The current spot positivity rate has dropped to 3.79%.

Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also showing improvement. Five New Jersey counties have been moved off of the CDC's list of highest transmission risk. While Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Somerset and Union counties are still listed as having "substantial transmission," they had been listed with the rest of the state as having a "high" transmission rate last week.

Last week, Governor Phil Murphy expressed concern about upcoming family gatherings for the holidays, and more activities moving indoors. Murphy said it was "unavoidable" that we would see an increase in COVID cases once that happens.

Murphy did not, however, announce any restrictions on indoor gatherings, like Thanksgiving dinner. He pushed back on CDC recommendations that people consider putting off indoor celebrations for another year.

Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the state's predictive modeling showed a spike in COVID cases in November. However, the state's computer forecasts on COVID have not been especially reliable.

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