TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It has been nine months since the first confirmed COVID case in New Jersey.

The numbers continue to rise, with 56 additional deaths Wednesday. That brings the statewide total to 15,309.

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Officials say testing has never been more important.

CBS2’s Meg Baker took a look at how some counties are prioritizing this.

Monmouth County’s command center mobile unit will be used to provide testing for the county’s first responders and health care providers as lines at testing centers across the state grow.

“Our health care providers and first responders are on the front lines of COVID. They really do not need to be waiting in line to be sure or not sure if they have COVID-19,” said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

In Bergen County, seven Hackensack firefighters tested positive for COVID-19, and 26 others are quarantining. That sidelines a quarter of the department’s force. The chief said they still have sufficient numbers to function.

“Our guys work 24-hour shifts, so they’re basically living together here for 24 hours. That includes eating several meals together and some downtime, sleeping dormitory-style at night. So it’s very difficult to take all precautions,” said Hackensack Fire Chief Thomas Freeman.

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This comes as cases rise across the state, with 4,350 new positive cases Wednesday.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Christina Tan said to expect to see a spike in cases from Thanksgiving in the next five-to-seven days.

“We do expect that given the volume of travel over the holiday weekend that there might be concern for spikes. But as the governor said, it’s too early. The incubation period, remember, is about 14 days,” Dr. Tan.

Gov. Phil Murphy reacted to a picture showing maskless crowds at Portobello Restaurant and Bar in Oakland last Wednesday.

“Are you kidding me?” Murphy said. “The entire concept of personal responsibility is completely absent.”

While we’re now in the holiday season, a normal time for gatherings with friends and family, officials are asking people to stay strong and bridge the gap between now and a vaccine in the coming months.

Gov. Murphy issued another travel advisory, discouraging all non-essential out of state travel. All residents and visitors are to observe a 14-day self-quarantine, excluding travel to neighboring states.

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