New Jersey officials planning for possibility of rationing ventilators


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New Jersey officials are beginning to discuss the “haunted” possibility that hospitals will soon have to decide which ventilators to treat critically ill patients who do not.

Healthcare Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during a press conference with Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday that the Medical Society of New Jersey is putting together an advisory committee that will look at, among other things, “bioethical considerations about the availability of particularly life-saving modalities” such as fans. “

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“This is, I have to say, one of the more difficult issues we will be discussing,” said Persichilli, noting that state officials would be included on the committee. “I want to make sure everyone understands that we are doing everything we can to make sure we don’t get into this situation. But if we do that, we will be prepared. “

Murphy called the development “urgent,” but said “we would remove our responsibility not to plan this.”

The governor said the state asked the federal government for 2,500 ventilators, in addition to the existing 2,000, along with 4.5 million N95 masks. The state also estimates that it will need 2,000 intensive care beds in addition to the existing 2,000 beds.

Wednesday, Dr. Vijayant Singh, head of the Bayonne Medical Center hospital, POLITICO said that CarePoint HealthThe Bayonne hospital and two others in Hudson County are almost out of ventilators.

The discussion takes place as Murphy announced 2,492 new coronavirus cases during the press conference in New Jersey in the past 24 hours – by far the largest number reported during this period. The total number of government cases is 6,876, the second most common in the country after New York. Murphy also said that 19 more people have died, bringing the total number of the state to 81. One reason for the huge leap in known cases is the state’s prepared tests, the governor said.

According to Persichilli, 43 of the state’s 375 long-term health facilities have at least one known Covid 19 case. The situation at St. Joseph’s retirement and care center in Woodbridge became so bad that after 24 positive results among residents and five among employees, the state found that all 78 residents were exposed to the virus.

All residents were moved to other facilities.

This Saturday, the two state-of-the-art test sites – at Bergen Community College in Paramus and at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel – will be exclusively dedicated to testing healthcare workers and first responders who show symptoms of Covid-19, Murphy said. From next Saturday and every following Saturday, the Holmdel test facility will be exclusively dedicated to them.

Murphy also announced that schools will be closed until April 17, at least, and until then he won’t make a decision about canceling the rest of the school year. The governor ordered the closure of all state public and private schools on March 18.

“The decision to reopen is based on a careful discussion with our public health and safety experts, as well as with our educators and districts,” said Murphy. “We will be guided by the facts on site.”

Murphy also asked several questions from reporters about how the pandemic would affect government finances. He said the loss of revenue from the corona virus only increased the need for a millionaire’s tax, which the governor has been pushing for since taking office.

Senate president Steve Sweeney, who fought the tax, said earlier this year that he was ready to support it this year as long as the state increases its pension contribution by another $ 1 billion.

When asked if he believes this potential deal is still possible given the economic uncertainty, Murphy said it was too early to assess and that he and the lawmakers had to determine how much New Jersey’s stimulus package would bring Would get federal.

“Reliable recurring revenue is the most important revenue you can generate,” he said. “Our revenues are currently being reduced significantly, which is why this federal bill is so important to us and not the last amount of support we will need.” . “

Katherine Landergan, Carly Sitrin and Samantha Maldonado contributed to this report.

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