New Jersey working with White House to prepare for surge of COVID-19 patients

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As coronavirus cases in New Jersey rise to over 4,000 patients, Gov. Phil Murphy says that he is working with the White House to prepare for a surge of people who will need hospital care.

State officials announced Wednesday that there are 4,402 cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, along with 62 deaths. Health officials say that a surge of people requiring hospitalization could come in just two or three weeks.

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“Our hospital networks, while they are under tremendous stress, they are currently meeting the needs of the patients who require hospitalization,” Murphy said.

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But Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli says that there is some strain in the northern counties, particularly in critical care. Northern New Jersey is seeing the most number of cases.

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The United States Army and FEMA are now getting ready to turn the Meadowlands Convention Center in Secaucus and two other convention centers into field hospitals. Officials say that these locations will help free up hospital beds.

“There’s no price that’s too high to save one precious life in this state,” Murphy said.

The governor says that he will continue to require all non-essential businesses to remain closed in the state, as well as mandating all New Jerseyans to practice social distancing. Murphy says that he hopes that President Donald Trump is right and that people can return to work by Easter. But he says that health data shows that social distancing will likely have to continue beyond that.

“We will fight to save every single life,” the governor said.

The other FEMA hospitals will be located in Edison, Atlantic City and a state Urban Search and Rescue Facility that’s yet to be determined.

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