New Jersey prepares for potential 2nd wave of COVID-19 infections

Preparations are underway for a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections in New Jersey.

News 12 Staff

Aug 21, 2020, 4:01 PM

Updated 1,332 days ago

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 Preparations are underway for a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections in New Jersey.
Health officials say that New Jersey could potentially see COVID-19 infections increase this fall. In preparation, officials have been stockpiling more protective equipment for first responders and health care workers.
Gov. Phil Murphy says that he has a goal of getting 5 million N95 masks, 13 million surgical masks and 110 million gloves to be collected as soon as possible.
“We will be prepared for the next round…we will not be caught unprepared,” says New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples.
Maples says that hospitals and nursing homes are preparing for another wave of COVID-19 or a new infectious disease.
“Hospitals will be required to have a 90-day stockpile of this equipment. Long-term care facilities will be required to have 30-60 days, depending on their facility,” says Maples.
The state will have an additional stockpile of PPE, enough for three months. The state is also stocking up on ventilators, with 500 on order and on their way.
“Much of the spring was spent significantly sourcing ventilators. We now have a state stockpile of 1,447 ventilators that we can deploy at literally a moment’s notice to any facility that finds itself facing a shortage of these critical devices,” says Murphy.
Funding for these items, the New Jersey Health Department and more are all expected to be laid out in the governor’s state budget that he will announce next week.
“We’re still solving for an enormous hole. At a minimum of $5 billion in the here and now and when you aggregate what we already went through in the stub period, we went in and what we expect as least the first half of fiscal 2021 to look like, it’s a much bigger number,” says Murphy.
The “stub period” was the 90 days from July 1 to Oct. 1 – an $8 billion budget for those three months was approved at the end of June.
The budget the governor will announce Tuesday runs from Oct. 1 to the usual yearly deadline of June 30, 2021.
Murphy also expressed frustration that the state’s contract tracing program isn’t working. He says that a majority of the people who are called either aren’t answering the phone or aren’t giving any information if they do pick up.
“More than half the people our tracers are contacting are refusing to cooperate. This is highly disturbing to say the very least. Again, I reiterate, our contact tracers only care about protecting public health,” says Murphy. “They care about protecting you, your family and your friends. This is not a about a witch hunt. We do not condone underage drinking but this is not what this is about. Please folks, take the damn call."
The governor says the state has 1,612 contact tracers who are tasked with tracing how COVID-19 spreads.
Additional details about Friday's briefing below:
For more on today's briefing, click here.
PHOTOS: COVID-19 Impacts the World
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