Everyone is indispensable. We will fight to save every single life. We will leave nothing on the battlefield in that effort. There is no cost that is too high to save any one precious life.New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said on Wednesday that the state has received another 736 positive coronavirus test results, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 4,402.
Eighteen more New Jersey residents have died as a result of complications from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing the state total to 62 coronavirus-related deaths.
The state received positive test results for another 22 Mercer County residents Wednesday, bringing the total number of county residents who have tested positive to 82. Mercer County officials are not releasing information breaking down cases by municipality.
Four more confirmed positive COVID-19 cases were reported in Princeton on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed local cases to 14.
“These numbers are sobering, but are not surprising to us,” Murphy said of the state statistics. “They are partly due to community spread, but also because we’ve been one of the most aggressive testing states in America.”
Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli acknowledged that the number of confirmed cases is rising quickly.
“We know we are slightly behind New York and our trends are tracking our neighbor. The cases in New York State are rising exponentially and we are expecting them to peak in the next 14 to 21 days,” Persichilli said. “Our peak in Northern New Jersey will be similar to when we see the peak in New York. Bergen, Hudson, and Essex counties will follow the trend. We expect that all of our mitigation strategies will reduce the impact on our state, but as the governor has stated, we must be prepared.”
Persichilli provided reporters with a breakdown of the statistics for deaths over the past 24 hours. Four people were Ocean County residents, three were from Essex County, two were from Monmouth County, and there was one death in each of the following counties: Bergen, Burlington, Cumberland, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset, and Union. The residents ranged in age from 52 to 93. Eleven residents who died were men and seven were women. Fifty percent of the residents had underlying health conditions, and five people lived in long-term care facilities. Nine of the cases are still under investigation.
Overall, the age range is 30 to 93 for people in New Jersey who have died as a result of complications from the coronavirus. Sixty-five percent were men and thirty-five percent were women. Fifteen deaths were people between the ages of 30 and 60. The rest were over 60. Forty-eight percent had underlying conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive lung disease, and obesity. Just over a quarter of the people lived in long-term care facilities.
Officials said one administrative staff member in the New Jersey Department of Corrections has tested positive but did not have contact with prisoners. One resident of a state psychiatric facility has tested positive, and 16 have exhibited respiratory symptoms. Four staff members at state mental health facilities have tested positive. Three are home with moderate symptoms and one is hospitalized.
Commercial labs have begun forwarding all of their test results to the state. The state has received about 90 percent of the results so far. Twenty-nine percent of the 14,000 test results were positive.
Officials stressed efforts to increase the amount of protective gear for healthcare workers and first responders, as well as the number of hospital beds in case they are needed.
“To be clear, at this moment, while our hospital networks are under tremendous stress, they are currently meeting the needs of the patients who require hospitalization,” Murphy said. “But we must be ready for the time when the surge comes. Make no mistake, we are in this fight to save lives. We completely and utterly reject the small pockets of people who are suggesting that certain persons are expendable. Everyone is indispensable. We will fight to save every single life. We will leave nothing on the battlefield in that effort. There is no cost that is too high to save any one precious life. Let’s all remember that we are America. We are the country that never leaves a fallen soldier injured or killed on the battlefield. We always go back, including putting lives at risk to do so. That is America. That is our value system. And that is New Jersey.”
Murphy said the state must increase hospital capacity. The state has 18,433 acute care beds, including 2,000 beds for those requiring critical care. Over the next several weeks, the goal is to increase capacity by 2,360 beds. The U.S. Army Corps is working to build out capacity at current hospitals and bring closed hospitals back into service. Three sites in the state will become temporary field hospitals if needed – The Meadowlands Convention Center in Secaucus, the New Jersey Convention Center in Edison, and the Atlantic City Convention Center.
“We must be ready to ensure hospital capacity,” Murphy said. “I hope it remains a measure for preparedness. No one would be happier if we over-prepare. It will be the best mistake we ever made.”
Murphy announced that all childcare facilities must close by April 1 unless they are serving essential workers. They are only allowed to serve those essential workers, and must abide by new safety guidelines. Daycare centers that do stay open are essential for supporting workers responding to the crisis, Murphy said. “We need all of our frontline workers on the job,” he said. “A lack of childcare cannot be a barrier for them.”
Residents should report businesses that stay open but are nonessential, and businesses that are forcing employees to work when they are non-essential employees. Reports can be filed online at covid19.nj.gov/violation. The state website is the central clearinghouse for coronavirus information in New Jersey.
“We need to maintain high levels of preparedness, follow social distancing, good hand hygiene, and respitory hygiene, and take to heart the need to follow the social distancing protocols,” Murphy said when talking about how the state will successfully flatten the curve.
He urged citizens not to violate his ban on large gatherings and cited examples of violations, including a large gathering in a private home and a wedding in Lakewood.
Total New Jersey confirmed coronavirus cases by county (the list is partial because the state is still confirming where several hundred people who have tested postive live):
- Bergen County: 819
- Essex County: 381
- Middlesex County: 316
- Monmouth County: 313
- Union County: 262
- Hudson County: 260
- Passaic County: 255
- Morris County: 223
- Ocean County: 222
- Somerset County: 117
- Mercer County: 82
- Camden County: 61
- Burlington County: 48
- Sussex County: 27
- Hunterdon County: 25
- Gloucester County: 23
- Warren County: 18
- Atlantic County: 9
- Cape May County: 4
- Cumberland County: 3
- Salem County: 1