Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that state Department of Health has asked all hospitals to increase critical care bed capacity by 100 percent in anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 patients over the next few weeks.
At Gov. Phil Murphy’s daily briefing on the outbreak Friday afternoon, Persichilli said that she would have information on how many COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the state on March 30.
As of Friday, 1,982 new positive COVID-19 cases were reported bringing the total statewide number to 8,825. Twenty-seven new deaths were reported bringing that total to 108.
Persichilli said that 55 of the long-term care facilities in the state are reporting at least one COVID-19 positive case.
Local businesses lend a helping hand
Murphy said New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson will donate 10,000 health care goggles to fight the virus in the state. While, designer Ralph Lauren’s Corporate Foundation – the company has a facility in Nutely – is making 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns to help health care workers on the front lines.
Murphy said that the Department of Health would issue updated COVID-19 guidelines for retail businesses, including best practices to follow, like keeping densities – such as the 6 foot distance rule – at retail operations as low as possible.
Persichilli said that the state to date, has run 24,843 tests with 8,296 reported as positive for an overall positivity rate of 33.4 percent. As of Thursday 1,080 patients in hospitals have tested positive for COVID-19 and an additional 1,872 patients are awaiting results.
The backlog of testing due to the overwhelming volume of requested tests is being reported as high as seven days.
“Our expectation is that by mid-April we will be seeing an increasing demand for critical care beds. Social is the only tool we have in our tool kit that reduces the transmission of the disease, the rise in cases and flattens out the number of hospitalizations at any one time,” Persichilli.