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Assemblywoman Aura Dunn Wants Bed Capacity Plan for Morris County as COVID-19 Surge Begins

Assemblywoman Aura Dunn called upon Gov. Phil Murphy and his cabinet commissioners to provide details about a plan to increase hospital bed capacity in the state as coronavirus cases were expected to surge in the coming weeks.

Dunn wrote the message in response to a Rutgers University report that found her home county of Morris would need as many as 11,000 additional beds to fully weather the surge.

“Lack of transparency tends to stir its own panic,” continued Dunn. “Now is the time for preparation and leadership.”

Thirteen Counties Expected to Hit Capacity

The Rutgers report found Morris was one of 13 counties within the state expected to reach hospital bed capacity prior to the end of April. The remaining counties were expected to reach capacity by mid-May.

As of April 1, New Jersey reported 22,225 cases of COVID-19. The totals including 3,649 new positive tests. Additionally, the state reported 355 deaths.

“The time for these answers on how the state government will handle a worst-case scenario of nearly 200,000 virus patients is far past due,” said Dunn (R-Morris). “Gov. Murphy needs to share this information now so we can prepare.”

Preparation for a Surge

New Jersey is planning to open four pop-up hospitals across the state in order to provide an outlet for pressure existing health care facilities are expected to face. The facilities include Meadowlands Exposition Center, the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center in Edison and the Atlantic City Convention Center, with no details on the fourth site yet released.

The pop-up healthcare facilities will be opened by state with the assistance of FEMA. University Hospital in Newark, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, and Cooper University Hospital in Camden will oversee the facilities.

However, Dunn argued more could be done, with the four pop-up facilities far from her home district. She urged the Department of Higher Education and Department of Veterans Affairs to determine if other options were available within their networks.

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