New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced at his daily press briefing on Friday that beginning on May 26, hospitals in the state will be able to perform elective surgeries and other invasive procedures.
State officials will be providing hospitals with guidance about procedures.
“This is a big step forward for public health,” Murphy said, adding that the data on declines in COVID-19 hospitalizations informed his decision to sign the executive order allowing for elective surgeries.
“This is good for our healthcare systems, and it allows them to begin to serve the many health needs of residents, and resume other critical roles to ensure the health of communities they serve,” Murphy said.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the return of elective medical procedures at hospitals will be phased in, beginning with urgent procedures. “Safety is paramount,” she said.
Hospitals will be required to develop plans to test patients 72 hours prior to surgery. Patients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms on the day of their surgeries. They will be required to be quarantined three days before surgery. Persichilli said patients who test positive for COVID-19 prior to scheduled surgeries and patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 shouldn’t have an elective procedure that is not an emergency.
Hospitals will be required to follow various protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including cleaning and disinfecting regularly, creating physical barriers between people, and masking for patients and staff.