Last year at this time, COVID cases were on the rise and hospitalizations in New Jersey started climbing steadily.

Right now, COVID metrics are moving in the right direction, with hospitalization and new cases starting to drop, but Garden State Officials are bracing for a surge in coronavirus activity next month.

During the latest COVID update in Trenton on Wednesday, state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said every two weeks predictive modeling is done, based on what is currently going on with the virus, and “we do expect, particularly after Thanksgiving, we do expect an uptick.”

Persichilli did not specify how much of an uptick is predicted by the modeling but she did say “the assumptions are based on the efficacy of the vaccines, recommendations that are coming out of the CDC on who can get vaccinated and when, and the current hospitalizations as a source of truth.”

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She noted the modeling indicates some time after Thanksgiving and before Christmas hospitalizations will begin to rise,” but we do expect it to be, based on what we know right, now within a range that can be handled.”

Gov. Phil Murphy said he believes “it’s unavoidable that once we conduct more of our lives inside, this thing is going to kick up in some form, I don’t know how we avoid that.”

The governor said hopefully new cases and hospitalizations will not spike dramatically because of our “continuingly high vaccination rate, and boosters, which by the way we need to work with the federal government, to make sure that the messaging on that is crystal clear.”

Persichilli pointed out the trend over the past two weeks has been positive.

“New hospitalizations have decreased by 16%, individuals in the ICU have decreased by 8%, individuals on ventilators have decreased by 6%” she said.

Murphy said to help minimize the coming COVID spike, “get vaccinated. If you’re vaccinated and you’re eligible, get boosted. And then if you’re inside, put a facemask on.”

Inspiring Images of NJ Medical Professionals Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine