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March 31, 2020

New Jersey receives another massive shipment of masks, respirators to protect medical workers from COVID-19

But Gov. Phil Murphy says it's not enough to prevent shortages

New Jersey has received an additional 260,000 pieces of personal protective equipment for medical personnel working on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday.

The equipment, sent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, includes both masks and gloves, Murphy said. But he made it clear that New Jersey needs more PPE.

“We appreciate every single piece of PPE we are receiving,” Murphy said. “But we need much more. I continue to push our case with the White House, with FEMA, and with everyone I speak to.”

The state now has 280,466 N95 respirators, 399,440 surgical masks, 150,655 gloves, 50,778 gowns and 74,052 face shields. But state officials fear the health system could become overrun with COVID-19 patients and supplies could become exhausted. 

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

New Jersey has 18,696 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the second-most of any state, as of Tuesday afternoon. Only 617 of those cases are from South Jersey. There also have been 267 deaths. 

“We’re continuing to seek out every available piece of PPE and every available ventilator,” Murphy said.

On Monday, New Jersey received 300 ventilators from the federal government after Murphy pleaded for more, calling them the state's "No. 1 need."

The state has received previous shipments of PPE from the federal government. 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. 

Additionally, the state is establishing three makeshift hospitals, including one in Atlantic City, to boost bed capacity. 

Camden County has 228 positive cases of COVID-19, Burlington County has 202 cases, Gloucester County has 114 cases, Atlantic County has 31 cases, Cumberland County has 18 cases, and both Cape May and Salem counties have 12 cases.

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