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April 01, 2020

New Jersey gets 350 ventilators from feds; acquires millions more protective gear for health care workers

New Jersey has received another 350 ventilators from the federal government to treat people with COVID-19,  and on its own obtained nearly 10 million more pieces of protective equipment for health care workers to help fight the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy said during his daily briefing Wednesday.

Murphy reiterated that ventilators are New Jersey’s top need. The state has requested 1,650 ventilators from the federal government, he said.New Jersey previously had received 300 ventilators from the national stockpile on Monday.

Combined with a previous retrieval of 200 ventilators earlier in March, the state now has 850 ventilators at its disposal.

Murphy also revealed that the state, on its own accord, acquired nearly 10 million additional pieces of PPE, items like masks and gloves, that will be distributed to medical personnel working on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Tuesday, New Jersey received 260,000 pieces of PPE. The state had a stock of 280,466 N95 respirators, 399,440 surgical masks, 150,655 gloves, 50,778 gowns and 74,052 face shields as of Tuesday.

The state has received other shipments of PPE from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. One shipment included 120,000 N95 respirators, 287,000 surgical masks, 62,000 face shields, 51,000 surgical gloves, 3,500 coveralls, 368,000 pairs of gloves and 1,000 medical beds.

Murphy signed an executive order Saturday directing health care facilities to report their inventories of beds, PPE and ventilators on a daily basis. The order is directed at licensed acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities, hospital systems and temporary medical facilities. 

New Jersey is establishing three makeshift hospitals, including one in Atlantic City, to boost bed capacity. The temporary hospital at the Atlantic City Convention Center, which is expected to be up and running soon, will have 250 beds for South Jersey patients with non-COVID-19 issues. Officials are working with hospital systems to expand bed capacities in existing facilities and are seeking to reopen closed hospitals that could provide roughly 1,300 more beds.

One coronavirus projection model, run by the University of Washington, has predicted New Jersey will run out of hospital beds by the time cases peak in early April.

Murphy signed an executive order Wednesday authorizing the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs to temporarily reactivate the medical licenses of retired health care professionals and grant licenses to foreign doctors to increase the number of medical personnel on the front lines.

Any state residents with medical backgrounds are urged to step up and volunteer in fight against the spread of the virus, Murphy said.

New Jersey has 22,255 confirmed coronavirus cases, the second-most of any state, and 355 deaths due to the virus as of Wednesday afternoon. Of those cases, 801 are in South Jersey. Camden County, with 289 COVID-19 patients, and Burlington County, with 255, have the most in South Jersey. Salem County has 19 cases.

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