Rep. Josh Gottheimer Coordinates COVID-19 Needs with North Jersey Health Officials

North Jersey health officials participated in a call with Rep. Josh Gottheimer to inform them of their needs to combat the spread of the coronavirus for at-risk populations in New Jersey.

The professionals discussed the supply needs and mitigation efforts related to Covid-19 pandemic. Gottheimer helmed the call on March 13 which included Dr. Adam Jarrett from Holy Name Medical Center, Deborah Visconi of New Bridge Medical Center and officials from Hackensack University Medical Center, Care-One, and assisted living and senior facilities.  

“Right now, there are several presumptive positive cases of coronavirus in New Jersey and we are all working in coordination to contain the outbreak and follow The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines,” said Gottheimer.

Federal, Local Coordination

The congressman said he has been working with hospitals, counties, senior and nursing homes in his Northern Jersey district as well as Gov. Phil Murphy’s office to address what resources the state needs to contain the outbreak.

New Jersey now has 29 total coronavirus cases as of March 12, with 13 of those cases in Bergen County.

“We must continue to work together and contain the spread of the virus, especially for at-risk populations,” said the congressman. “My job is to make sure (health officials) have the resources (they) need so that our community members can stay safe and healthy.”

CDC Answers

Earlier in the week, Gottheimer was New Jersey’s Democratic congressional delegation lead signator looking for more information from the CDC regarding when the state should expect to receive confirmation of pending presumed positive coronavirus. 

“While we understand that the CDC is quite busy handling this crisis, it is important the states can confirm a positive or negative test result in order to contain a potentially further damaging outbreak in our communities,” the letter to CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield, M.D.  states. 

“Additionally, with the administration’s plan to distribute millions of test kits this week, we must ensure that the CDC can quickly and efficiently analyze test results. The gaps in testing we are currently experiencing hinder the nation’s ability to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”

The members requested information regarding CDC’s plans to increase their capability to analyze tests, CDC’s policy to confirm a state’s presumptive positive test, and the possibility of partnering with state, local, and commercial labs to allow them the capability to confirm test results.

New Jersey was anticipating confirmation of initial presumptive cases by March 7, and the CDC did not meet its own deadline. The CDC was not able to provide an explanation for the delays. 

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