Two weeks into an aggressive social distancing initiative, predictive modeling data indicates that within the next two weeks the state will see significant activity of COVID-19 cases in hospitals.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said Monday in Trenton at Gov. Phil Murphy’s daily briefing on the outbreak that predictive modeling relies on several inputs, including the impact of social distancing that was implemented about 14 days ago.
It also relies on the number of positive cases reported daily, the number of cases in hospitals and their length of stay by critical care, and by medical surgical beds.
“Along with the number of positive cases and cases under investigation all of those inputs help us to predict the need for resources and hospital beds,” said Persichilli.
She said that the models are helpful in planning bed capacity and the distribution of resources.
Persichilli reiterated that hospitals have been working to double their critical care capacity and that the state is aggressively working to open alternate care sites including field medical stations, shuttered hospitals, empty long-term care facilities, out of service rehab building sites, and closed wings of existing hospitals and hotels.
Hopeful signs: Data shows real-time decline in COVID-19 cases
“Today we have identified and we are standing up over 26,000 care spaces. That is in addition to the additional spaces that I know the hospitals are standing up and in addition to the available beds that the governor reported from the US Comfort [hospital ship] and additionally, the number of hotel rooms that we will be able to house recovering individuals.”
Persihilli said that these resources will be greatly needed as cases continue to increase in New Jersey.
The Department of Health reported 3,663 new positive cases bringing the statewide total to 41,090 with 86 new deaths, bringing the total fatalities to 1,003.
Of those cases, 399 had underlying conditions: 12 percent diabetes mellitus; 20 percent cardiovascular; 4 percent cancer; 7 percent chronic renal disease; 8 percent asthma, emphysema or COPD; and 10 percent other chronic conditions.
Fifteen of the new reported deaths were residents of a long-term care facility. At lest 159 of such facilities in the state report at least one documented COVID-19 positive case.
Three of the state’s five developmental centers have at least one resident who has tested positive for COVID-19, and there has been one death associated with a developmental center resident.
There have been nearly 84,768 tests performed with 36,826 positives resulting in a positivity rate of 43.44 percent.
Persichilli noted that the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting the operations of programs across the state including the New Jersey medicinal marijuana program.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began the DOH has been working closely with patients, caregivers and dispensaries to ensure access is maintained for the more than 74,000 patients enrolled in the department’s medicinal marijuana program.
“We’ve allowed dispensaries to provide curbside drive-up dispensing services, we’ve allowed them to help patients who are medically fragile and are sick, and reduced all caregiver fees to $20 so they can more easily get assistance accessing the dispensaries,” Persichilli said.