While New Jersey stockpiled tens of millions of masks, gowns, and other personal protective equipment in advance of a second wave of coronavirus this fall and winter, the state still needs millions more to meet its goals of fighting the second wave of COVID- 19, Gov. Phill Murphy said Thursday.
Murphy said he is confident New Jersey will have enough medical supplies to distribute to hospitals, nursing homes and other priority sites following the first devastating wave of coronavirus in the spring, at which point the state saw a major supply shortage.
“It’s here and we’re ready,” Murphy said of signs of a second wave.
The president pointed out that the state has the following supplies in the warehouse:
N95 masks: 5.7 million out of a goal of 5.9 million.
Surgical masks: 13.3 million out of a goal of 14.3 million.
Face shields: 1.3 million out of a goal of 2.15 million.
Hospital gowns: 3.7 million out of a goal of 4.5 million.
Gloves: 3.9 million out of a goal of 117 million.
The governor expects the state to meet supply targets as soon as possible.
COVID-19 infections increased significantly this month, as some models had predicted.
New Jersey surpassed 1,000 hospitalizations Wednesday for the first time since July 2.
New cases have also risen in recent months, from a low of 288 on August 26 to between 1,000 and 2,000 in the second half of October. Essex, Bergen, Passaic, Hudson, Union and other northern counties are now the hotspots for uptick cases.
Bergen on Thursday became the first of New Jersey’s 21 counties to reach 25,000 cumulative cases since the pandemic began in March.
However, the death toll remains lower since spring, mostly in the single digits each day compared to 200 to 500 daily deaths in late March and most of April.
“This is not something we were not expecting. We expected a second wave to occur in the fall. But the question is how bad it will be. That means what will be the peak and how quickly we will reach that peak,” he told reporters this month. Dr. Shereef Elnahal, President and CEO of University Hospital, Newark.
Dr. Elnahal warned that the hospital was already nearly full with patients who did not have COVID. Now virus-related hospitalizations are on the rise, posing a new challenge for local clinics.
“The signs are that this is about to get worse,” Dr. Elnahal said. “When you hit 3-4% positivity levels, you can expect even more hospitalizations. And most worryingly, we had a death from COVID-19 last week for the first time in many weeks.”
Murphy said last week that health officials see an alarming link between large gatherings in private homes and the increase in cases, so he urged residents to follow the CDC guidelines “and not meet in a private home with no one outside of his immediate family. “
In late September, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during an online meeting with Governor Murphy that the state was “well positioned” to face a second wave of coronavirus. By then he had predicted the increase in cases due to the drop in temperatures and the tendency of residents to hold large gatherings at home in the fall.
New Jersey continues to test about 20,000 people a day, but that number is lower per capita compared to New York or Connecticut, according to data analyzed by John Hopkins University. The state’s positivity rate is around 3.4%. In addition, state officials point out that many of the new cases are among young people.
People in their 20s and 30s are more likely to pass the virus on to their parents or grandparents, although people in that age range are less likely to be hospitalized.
WHAT IS THE FOCUS OF THE PROPAGATION OF THE NEW CASES
The state began to show the first signs of a second wave after the opening of the local economy. The biggest change was the authorization of consumption inside restaurants and the opening of educational institutions.
What began as isolated outbreaks on college campuses and within the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood during the High Holidays has now snowballed into a statewide crisis, fueled by what Murphy says are private indoor gatherings in all 21 New Jersey counties.
While state officials contend there is no evidence that most of the recent outbreaks are related to inside restaurant consumption or the reopening of educational institutions, Murphy said in News 12 NJ Monday night that they were not. it would increase inland service capacity in the short term, despite recent statements that it would.
Furthermore, few cases have been registered in schools. In total, about 60% of districts and charter schools offer at least some in-person instruction. So far, the state has reported 22 outbreaks in its more than 3,000 school buildings. Still, some districts like Newark have postponed the return to face-to-face classes until 2021.
The situation marks a potentially critical juncture, as cases now average more than 1,000 per day.
At the same time, cases are on the rise in neighboring states such as Pennsylvania and Connecticut, regions closely tied to the New York economy.
CONCERNED ABOUT POSSIBLE STAFF SHORTAGE
“If people don’t abide by physical distancing, if they don’t wear masks, if they don’t wash their hands, then this wave has the potential to become a tidal wave,” he said.
The commissioner said the Health Department has made plans based on lessons learned about the coronavirus over the summer. Personal protective equipment or PPE, antiviral drugs and respirators are being stored. He also added that officials continue to work with long-term care centers on infection control and warehousing.
But Persichilli says staffing is his biggest concern.
“[Si] health workers get sick, like in the primary crisis, we will have a problem, “he said.” Unlike in March and April, when health workers from other states came to New Jersey to help, those workers are now fully committed to fighting this virus in their own states. “
Persichilli noted that asymptomatic spread is “more common than initially thought,” so hand washing, mask use and physical distancing are even more important and that “the inside is more of a problem than the outside. “.