CLARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There are troubling new signs about the second wave of coronavirus in New Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy is urging residents to play it safe over Thanksgiving, saying the state is going into a critical phase to slow the spread, CBS2’s Meg Baker reported.

Tuesday was a busy shopping day as people continued their preparations for Thanksgiving and the great unknown ahead, as officials warned things will get worse before they get better.

New Jersey saw its highest case count yet — 4,383 COVID-19 positive tests. Hospitalizations were up for the 25th day in a row and deaths have surpassed 15,000.

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The governor has been pleading with residents to stay home and throw out their invite list because most of the transmissions occur in private settings. He was asked on CBS This Morning if he is considering a shutdown like in the spring.

“No, I think we had no choice in the spring. This is something we knew nothing about as a nation, frankly, as a global health community. That’s an asset today. We know a lot more,” Murphy said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Dr. Perry Halkitis of the Rutgers School of Public Health has two major fears. The first one is people traveling on public transportation to reach loved ones.

“Number two, when people gather in their homes, unless they are 100% sure, or at least 99% sure, that the people in their home had been testing and distancing and washing their hands, then it is likely that infection will spread in the home,” Halkitis said.

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New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli issued a stark warning. While 80% of deaths are people 65 and older, new cases since October show the highest positivity rate is in the 19-49 age group.

“It appears that younger individuals are exposing older more vulnerable loved ones — your grandmother, your grandfather, a vulnerable older neighbor. This has to stop. You need to be more careful. You need to be safe,” Persichilli said.

With three vaccines in the pipeline, officials are asking people to stay the course, wear a mask, wash hands, distance, and do the right thing for your family and others.

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