New Jersey

37 More Coronavirus Deaths, Thousands More Cases in NJ

Gov. Phil Murphy calls ventilators to treat people hospitalized with the novel coronavirus the state's 'No. 1 need' as deaths continue to mount in New Jersey

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What to Know

  • More than 16,600 people in New Jersey have tested positive and at least 198 have died from COVID-19 as of Monday.
  • The novel coronavirus has hit New Jersey, particularly the northern part of the state, hard.
  • The White House is sending 300 ventilators to New Jersey to help treat people with COVID-19 as state officials continue to order people to stay at home.

On Monday, New Jersey reported more than 3,300 more cases of the novel coronavirus and 37 more deaths as health officials put out a grim outlook if people don't stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"These numbers never get easier to report," Gov. Phil Murphy said. "But I shudder to think about what these numbers would be without our social distancing measures."

The somber announcement by Murphy came after the Democrat announced the White House was sending 300 ventilators to the hard-hit Garden State.

Murphy's Call for Even More Ventilators, Medical Equipment

Murphy, a Democrat, said on ABC's “This Week” Sunday that he made a request for more ventilators during a call with federal officials Saturday night.

“The big headline for us right now are ventilators. We had a very specific conversation with the White House last night about ventilators. That’s our No. 1 ask. It’s our No. 1 need. And that’s the one that we are focused most on right now,” Murphy said.

On Monday, Murphy was thankful for the ventilator shipment but said health workers need even more. He called the need for ventilators "dire" and that the state was working with FEMA to "co-vent" -- or have two patients connected to the same ventilator -- to buy time and avoid reaching capacity.

Murphy said the state is looking to buy and receive another 2,000 or so ventilators so that each new hospital bed can have an apparatus. They are alos looking into anesthesia machines that could be adapted to be used as ventilators. A full inventory is being done.

The state also has significant need of personal protective equipment for medical professionals.

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In an effort to deal with an influx of COVID-19 patients, the Army Corps. of Engineers is working on getting another 1,300 hospitals beds ready, including hundreds in Atlantic City. Other beds at former shuttered facilities are also being readied for use.

The Deadly Impact of COVID-19

More than 16,636 people in New Jersey had tested positive and at least 198 had died from COVID-19 as of Monday.

Not among those 198 deaths was New Jersey National Guard Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok since he died in neighboring Pennsylvania.

The northern part of the state has seen the bulk of COVID-19 cases and deaths in New Jersey. The most cases have been reported in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties.

The Worst Case Scenario If People Don't Stay at Home

Murphy on Monday continued to urge people to stay at home and practice social distancing. He warned of a "nightmare scenario" that could overwhelm the health care system in less than two weeks if people don't work to "flatten the curve."

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that social-distancing remains the state's best tool at avoiding running out of hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients. She said the "surge" of cases is expected "imminently."

According to Penn Medicine CHIME models, if only 31% of all people adhere to social distancing, ICU bed capacity is reached by April 11 and the state would run out of hospital beds by May 8.

“My stay-at-home order remains firmly in effect,” Murphy said while continuing his push for all New Jersey residents to do their parts.

“We’re not an average state, we’re not an average 9 million people… we have lived our lives punching above our weight, we have lived our lives defying the odds,” Murphy said. “We are a special place, we can crush the top of that curve if we act as one.”

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

Gun Shops Allowed to Operate, With Some Restrictions

Early Monday evening, Gov. Murphy announced an update on the businesses that were considered "essential" and allowed to stay open amid the lockdowns.

Starting Tuesday at 8 a.m., gun shops will be allowed to operate in New Jersey but by appointment only and during limited hours. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) will be up and running to process firearms purchases.

Murphy also said car dealers are allowed to conduct online or remote sales. In the event of a sale, the vehicle must be delivered to the buyer or the buyer can pick it up curbside or in the dealership services lane.

Murphy also announced individual appointments to view real estate with realtors or by individuals or families is considered essential retail business. Open houses are not allowed however.

“While we’ve made adjustments to businesses that are permitted to operate, my stay-at-home order remains firmly in effect,” Gov. Murphy said. “Unless you absolutely need to get out, or unless your job is critical to our response, I have ordered all New Jerseyans to just stay home.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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