Today’s Covid-19 update from the New Jersey Department of Health shows that 4,594 people in Mercer County have now tested positive for Covid-19. To date, 256 people have died from Covid-19-related causes in the county.

Community News has been tracking cases and deaths per week since regular reporting began:

April 6-13: 926 new cases, 34 new deaths
April 14-20: 945 new cases, 69 new deaths
April 21-27: 842 cases, 72 new deaths
April 28-May 4: 1,161 new cases, 62 new deaths

Overall, New Jersey has reported that 128,269 people have been infected with the virus, and 7,910 have died. Bergen County remains the hardest hit in terms of cases, with 16,282, although Essex County (where Newark is) has now reported the most deaths, with 1,292 to Bergen’s 1,215.

Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 continue to drop, now in all three regions of the state. North Jersey is down to 2,845 hospitalizations from a peak of 5,320 on April 14. In Central Jersey, 1,578 are now hospitalized, down from an April 13 peak of 2,256.

And South Jersey may be past its peak as well. The southern region now reports that 864 people are currently hospitalized because of Covid-19, down from 917 last Wednesday.

Statewide, the number of patients on ventilators and the number of patients in intensive or critical care units also continue to fall. As of Sunday night, 1,189 people were still on ventilators in New Jersey, while 1,610 remain in critical or intensive care.

Long-term care facilities continue to bear a disproportionate burden in the coronavirus battle. Statewide, 22,061, or 17.2%, of all cases and 4,010, or 50.7% of all Covid-19 deaths have come at 508 long-term-care facilities.

The state reports that in Mercer County, 21 long-term-care facilities have seen outbreaks, resulting in 998 cases and 177 deaths. This means 21.7% of all Mercer cases and 69.1% of all Mercer Covid-19-related fatalities have come at nursing homes.

Most affected have been Water’s Edge Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, with 146 confirmed cases and 26 deaths, and Hamilton Continuing Care, with 88 cases and 25 deaths. But long-term-care facilities across the county have been hit hard by the virus.

The positive test rate for New Jersey continues to fall, and is under 40% for the first time. To date 248,319 tests have been administered in the state, and 39.9% of tests have come back positive. The number was 42% just last Thursday.

More than 10% of all New Jersey test results have come in just the past 5 days, indicating that tests are being administered more frequently. State and federal officials have been criticized for failing to provide enough testing for the coronavirus.