FEMA to Open Four Field Hospitals in New Jersey

New Jersey’s latest COVID-19 test results increased the state’s total by nearly a 1,000, reported Gov. Phil Murphy.

“There’s clearly community spread going on,” Murphy said. “As the testing regime expands, we’re going to see these numbers go up in a big way.” 

As of March 23, the number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey climbed to 2,844 with 935 new cases announced by the state and seven new deaths, bringing that total to 27. Of the seven deaths, two of those were from Bergen County and one death each from Passaic and Essex counties

Over 600 Bergen Cases

All 21 counties have now reported having a case, led by Bergen at 609, Essex at 273, Monmouth at 238, Middlesex at 210, Hudson at 190, Union at 189, Morris at 177, Ocean at 144, Passaic at 141, Somerset at 67, Mercer at 50, Burlington at 36, Camden at 33, Hunterdon at 18, Sussex at 15, Gloucester at 13, Warren at 12, Atlantic at six, Cape May at two and Cumberland and Salem counties at one. 

Another 419 cases are pending investigation to determine where the people who tested positive reside.

FEMA Hospitals

The pleas for help from the federal government are beginning to be answered, albeit still not at the requested levels state officials have asked for

At his daily press conference, Murphy said he’s received a commitment from President Donald Trump for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to operate four pop-up field hospitals in New Jersey as the state prepares for a surge of coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

“We are clearly going to need these field hospitals,” said Murphy. 

More Respirators, PPE’s

Later in the day, the Trump Administration informed the Governor’s office it will send a new shipment of respirators, masks, gloves and other protective equipment requested by the state to cope with the coronavirus.

The order is the same amount the state received earlier this month from the strategic national stockpile, including 84,578 respirators, 201,479 masks, and 31,280 surgical gowns. New Jersey had originally sought 2.9 million respirators, 864,000 masks and 864,000 gowns, plus thousands of gloves, face shields and coveralls.

Murphy said he told the president in their morning conversation financial resources are going to be needed as well.

Send Cash

“We are desperate for direct state cash assistance,” Murphy pleaded, who has lobbied for the coalition of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut for at least $100 billion to help during the crisis. “We need the federal government to come in with a big bucket of money.”

The money is needed due to the effects on the economy the pandemic is having, including the recent directive for residents to stay at home. How long the stay at home order will be has not been defined yet, but Murphy hinted it will not end anytime soon.

The governor said New Jersey residents should expect all schools to remain closed for a “long and extended period of time” due to the coronavirus outbreak, though no timetable has been determined. Murphy ordered all schools in the state— public, private and universities—closed March 18.

Legal Crackdown

Murphy reiterated the message for the public to practice social distancing by staying at home, not meeting in groups, and keeping six feet apart from others in supermarkets and other public spaces.

State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the state will be “cracking down” on those who disregard the order to stay at home as well those who engage in acts of bias and hate.

Authorities will target businesses, like bars or stores, that stay open despite the governor’s demand, and will look for residents who throw a party at their home and invite dozens of people.

Price Gouging

New Jersey continues to investigate cases of price gouging in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and law enforcement has received 1,400 complaints concerning 900 businesses, reported Grewal. 

“There is a special place in hell for the people that take advantage of this health crisis,”  a clearly irked Murphy said. 

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