The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved New Jersey’s request to use emergency sheltering for individuals impacted by COVID-19 not able to isolate themselves.
Gov. Phil Murphy said the move will reduce the strain on the state’s hospital system and free up critical space, while reducing further community spread.
FEMA’s approval allows local authorities to be reimbursed for providing housing at hotels or motels for certain vulnerable populations, including first responders and healthcare workers who do not require hospitalization but want to avoid direct contact with their families due to COVID-19 exposure; homeless individuals or families who live in shelters with at least one family member who has tested positive for COVID-19; children and adults living in group homes, who have tested positive for COVID-19; and COVID-19 positive patients not requiring hospitalization who want to quarantine outside their resident to prevent further spread.
“This increased access to housing for vulnerable populations, healthcare workers and first responders will allow New Jerseyans to isolate themselves without fear of spreading COVID-19 to family members and their surrounding communities,” said Murphy in a press statement.
Rep. Bill Pascrell cited the approaching peak experts expect for hospitals, which has already hit North Jersey, in the need for this housing.
“This approval will help alleviate the burden our hospitals are carrying at a critical moment,” said Pascrell. “New Jersey’s medical professionals and first responders are performing heroic efforts to save our communities every day. But as we approach a peak in infections they and our hospitals are nearing a breaking point and need help now.”
COVID-19 Positive Cases Nearly 62K
As of April 12, the number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey climbed to 61,850 with 3,733 new cases and 168 new deaths, bringing that total to 2,350. Of the total deaths, Bergen had the most of any county with 453, while other North Jersey county totals include Essex at 428, Hudson at 226, Morris at 162, Passaic at 131, Sussex at 35 and Warren with 22.
The state reported 7,604 patients are hospitalized with coronavirus, with 658 discharged on April 11. Of those hospitalized, 1,941 are in intensive care units and 1,644 on ventilators.
Bergen Nears 10K Cases
Bergen is still the primary hot spot in the state with 9,784 total cases, followed by Hudson at 7,469, Essex at 7,410, Union at 6,180, Middlesex at 5,693, Passaic at 5,590, Monmouth at 3,785, Ocean at 3,554, Morris at 3,099, Somerset at 1,732, Mercer at 1,567, Camden at 1,270, Burlington at 1,095, Gloucester at 532, Sussex at 483, Warren at 395, Hunterdon at 314, Atlantic at 253, Cumberland at 165, Cape May at 145 and Salem at 61.
Another 1,274 cases and two deaths remain under investigation to determine the location where the person resides.
The state has processed 116,991 coronavirus tests of symptomatic individuals since the outbreak began, with a 44.5% testing positive for COVID-19.
After saying the state had only 61 ventilators left to distribute, Murphy tweeted on April 12 the government will be providing much needed help.
“We’ve secured an additional 200 lifesaving ventilators from the federal government. Ventilators are our number one need right now. We won’t stop fighting to get the equipment we need to save every life we can,” Murphy wrote in his tweet.
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