The entire New Jersey delegation is joining Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) call to President Donald Trump (R) seeking the assistance of the U.S. military and Army Corps of Engineers to help alleviate pressure on New Jersey’s hospitals as COVID-19 continues to spread.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Across 71 hospitals in New Jersey, there are only approximately 23,000 hospital beds, with 55% of those beds occupied,” U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, along with U.S. Reps. Donald Norcross, Jeff Van Drew, Andy Kim, Chris Smith, Josh Gottheimer, Frank Pallone, Jr., Tom Malinowski, Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Donald Payne, Jr., Mikie Sherrill and Bonnie Watson Coleman wrote in a letter to Trump today.
“Of those 23,000 beds, just 2,000 are critical care unit beds. New Jersey Department of Health estimates that in two weeks, our state may need an additional 2,000 critical care beds, with 10% of those beds needing ventilators. The Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers University-Camden found that New Jersey may have a hospital bed shortfall of 123,000 to 313,000 in the coming months.”
The letter continues that military intervention would allow the state to expand healthcare capacity by converting existing space, as well as constructing emergency field hospitals.
“The State of New Jersey is already working around the clock to revitalize and expand hospital infrastructure, but it will need support from the federal government to be sufficiently prepared for the anticipated influx of severe COVID-19 cases,” they added.
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said at a press conference today that the state is planning to reopen a hospital in Woodbury, which will provide 300 beds, as cases of the coronavirus surge, Politico first reported.
According to state officials, there are currently 700 negative pressure beds, 1,183 intensive care beds, and 23,687 acute care beds throughout New Jersey’s 71 hospitals.
Menendez and Sires, both Hudson County natives, have been active in trying to get the federal government to aid New Jersey during the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this week, the majority of the aforementioned federal representatives called on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for thousands of different medical supplies.
“As of March 13th, New Jersey had only received 84,578 of the requested 2,880,000 N95 respirators, 201,479 of the requested 864,000 face/surgical masks, and 111,378 of the requested 2,880,000 gloves,” Sires said in a statement.
“We must help patients and medical personnel, along with first responders – EMTs, police, and fire personnel –an all those working to flatten the curve and I will continue to press the Department of Health and Human Services until they have released necessary supplies.”
Also at today’s Trenton presser, Persichilli said that there are now 34 COVID-19 cases in Hudson County – a small portion of the 427 positive tests recorded throughout the state.
Thus far, 23 local cases have been announced publicly: eight in Jersey City, two in West New York, two in North Bergen, three in Kearny, one in Bayonne, and seven in Hoboken.