Even as the number of new reported COVID cases rise in New Jersey, the CDC Data tracker still lists community transmission rates as "low" for all but one county.  Bergen County has been moved to the "medium" level.

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State health officials reported another 1,508 COVID cases on Sunday and logged another 2 deaths blamed on the coronavirus.

Those figures represent a more than 20% increase in a week and a 170% increase in the last 30 days. However, there has yet to be a corresponding spike in either hospitalizations or reports of severe illness.

369 patients are hospitalized with, or for, COVID infections statewide. That is a mere fraction of the more than 6,000 who were hospitalized in January when the omicron wave was at its peak.

The current rate of transmission is at 1.28, which indicates an active spread of the virus. For every 100 infected people, they will infect 128 additional individuals.

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This increase is being driven by the BA.2 sub-variant of the Omicron strain. It is more transmissible, but does not cause more severe illness. Current vaccines have also proven effective at preventing serious illness and death.

New Jersey now has 7.77 million people who live, work or study here with at least one dose of vaccine out of 8.46 million who are eligible for the shots. The number of people who have received a booster dose is much smaller.

National and regional trends are similar to what we are seeing in the Garden State, prompting some new restrictions.

Philadelphia begins enforcing it's renewed indoor mask mandate as of today.

The Biden administration has also extended the mask mandate on mass transit and air travel until May 3.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on ABC's 'This Week' only time will tell if that mandate will be extended.

"This is a CDC call," Jha said, "CDC scientists made it very clear that they needed 15 days to asses the impact of BA.2 on hospitalizations and deaths to see if there's a substantial increase in severe disease."

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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NJ beach tags guide for summer 2022

We're coming up on another summer at the Jersey Shore! Before you get lost in the excitement of sunny days on the sand, we're running down how much seasonal/weekly/daily beach tags will cost you, and the pre-season deals you can still take advantage of!

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

Every NJ city and town's municipal tax bill, ranked

A little less than 30 cents of every $1 in property taxes charged in New Jersey support municipal services provided by cities, towns, townships, boroughs and villages. Statewide, the average municipal-only tax bill in 2021 was $2,725, but that varied widely from more than $13,000 in Tavistock to nothing in three townships. In addition to $9.22 billion in municipal purpose taxes, special taxing districts that in some places provide municipal services such as fire protection, garbage collection or economic development levied $323.8 million in 2021.