Plus, 930,000 New Jerseyans have filed for unemployment, and 622,000 are already collecting some $1.4 billion. Gig workers should see their claims starting to be processed Friday.
By Matt Skoufalos | April 30, 2020
Another 2,633 New Jersey residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the statewide total number of cases to 118,652, said Governor Phil Murphy.
Sadly, 460 more New Jerseyans lost their lives to COVID-19-related symptoms, bringing the total number of lives lost in the pandemic to 7,228, Murphy said.
It was the largest single-day death total announced thus far, and a product of state healthcare databases “essentially catching up to some of the data that’s coming in,” said Edward Lifshitz, Medical Director of the Communicable Disease Services at the New Jersey Department of Health.
Lifshitz said mortality reports can lag behind a patient’s death by two to three weeks, making them “a very backward-looking indicator” of the path of the virus.
“If everything goes as smoothly as it can” in identifying a COVID-19-caused death, “it’s going to be a matter of a couple to three weeks no matter what,” before it’s reported, he said.
More immediately relevant, however, are hospitalization data. Throughout the state, 6,137 patients are hospitalized with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or while awaiting confirmation of their symptoms.
That’s the least amount of cases since April 2, said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. Of those, 1,765 are in either critical or intensive care, and 1,271 are on ventilators. Fifty people are currently being treated in one of New Jersey’s field medical stations.
Overnight, 514 COVID-19 patients were discharged from New Jersey hospitals, and 502 new patients were admitted.
Containing COVID-19 continues to be a struggle in long-term care (LTC) facilities, 497 of which have accounted for 18,533 cases of the virus, Persichilli said.
State-run veterans homes have seen 275 cases and 108 deaths.
Persichilli said New Jersey may have seen the peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations April 13, and 14, when 8,200 patients were receiving care at one of 72 acute care hospitals.
However, the number of those requiring critical or intensive care to deal with COVID-19 hasn’t subsided, the commissioner said.
“We’ve seen a flattening since then and a decline this week,” she said. “Our hospitalizations continue to be going down, but our individuals that need critical care is staying the same.”
Hospitals in North Jersey are operating normally, while those in Central Jersey are “stressed,” and those in South Jersey are seeing increases in COVID-19 cases, Persichilli said.
The doubling rate of new cases continues slowing; as of Thursday, it was every 18.5 days in Camden County.
Unemployment updates, testing, PPE allocation
As of April 25, 930,000 New Jersey residents have filed for unemployment, and 622,000 are actively collecting a benefit, said Murphy’s counsel, Matt Platkin.
Some 200,000 more claims have not yet been processed, “and the majority are from gig workers and others,” Platkin said. Payments for the first groups of these workers will be processed Friday, he said.
The state has paid out $1.4 billion in unemployment benefits already.
“We have chopped through an enormous amount of the backlog,” Murphy said, asking those who’ve not yet received payments, “please, try to remain patient.
“You will not lose one penny of what’s coming to you,” the governor said.
Murphy also announced universal testing for inmates and staff at the New Jersey Department of Corrections and “non-congregate shelter” for any staff who’s been exposed to COVID-19.
All NJ Transit employees may receive free COVID-19 testing at the East Rutherford testing site, the governor said.
Murphy opened his remarks with the news that New Jersey has been allotted a significant amount of COVID-19 testing material (550,000 COVID-19 test kits and 750,000 swabs) from the federal government.
Throughout New Jersey, 358 nursing homes will be receiving a direct shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE) (1 million gloves, 200,000 masks, and 19,000 goggles) from the federal government.
“This is a tremendous boost to our overall testing capacity,” the governor said, which he described as a “key principle for being able to get back on the road to recovery.”
Murphy also continued to press for more direct federal aid for New Jersey to avoid “gutting the very programs that our people and our state rely upon to lift ourselves up throughout our recovery.
“This money is not a bailout,” the governor said. “It is about funding our response and keeping our police, firefighters, EMTs, educators, and other frontline workers on the job. We need the federal government as a partner in our restart and recovery just as they have been in our mitigation.”
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