North Jersey News Roundup for April 14, 2020

New Jersey will be part of a seven state regional approach when it comes time to ease restrictions to restart the economy without causing the coronavirus pandemic to escalate again. The states will work to develop a fully integrated regional framework to gradually lift stay at home orders while minimizing the risk of increased spread of the virus.

New Jersey officials are adopting emergency triage guidance in the event there are not enough life-saving resources for every COVID-19 patient. New Jersey’s Department of Health has sent guidance to all hospitals outlining a framework for the allocation of critical care resources during the public health emergency. PoliticoNJ

The state is working under the assumption all of its 375 nursing homes are affected by the coronavirus. State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said about 10% of the more than 60,000 residents in New Jersey nursing homes are infected with COVID-19.

A new saliva test developed at Rutgers University to detect the coronavirus received federal emergency approval and is expected to used as soon as April 15. The new test will allow for broader population screening than the current nose and throat swabs as well as lessens exposure for health care workers, reducing the need for personal protective equipment during the testing process. The Record

New Jersey hospitals have started to tap the blood of those who have recovered from the coronavirus in hopes of turning their antibodies into medicine for current patients. Clinical convalescent plasma trials are underway at numerous medical centers on the front lines of the pandemic, including Hackensack University Medical Center, The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, and University Hospital in Newark. NJ Spotlight

A vacant East Hanover office building has been repurposed to temporarily treat victims recovering from COVID-19. The Atlantic Health System and RWJBarnabas Health have begun transferring stable COVID-19 patients to the 125-bed facility, recently adapted into a new senior-living facility, which will continue for as long as acute-care bed capacity is needed at the hospitals. The Daily Record

New Jersey lawmakers passed a host of coronavirus-related bills by overwhelming majorities, measures providing residential rent relief, requiring hospitals to provide demographic data on COVID-19 deaths and grant civil and criminal immunity to health care facilities handling coronavirus cases. Lawmakers are acting without going through the normal committee process due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Record

An attempt to reopen New Jersey state and county parks was defeated in the Assembly. Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris) was seeking for the parks to be open with restrictions, including maintaining social distancing and the closure of  bathrooms and picnic shelters.

New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store and Automotive Association are urging the state to allow self-service stations as a way of easing the staffing concerns and other issues due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. New Jersey is the only remaining state that does not allow motorists to pump their own gas; Oregon lifted the ban on self-service in the western part of the state. NJ Spotlight

Sparta Police Department has told residents to steer clear of drive-by celebrations. Sparta’s Police Chief said the measure is being taken to ensure that the community remains compliant with all state mandates prohibiting public gatherings. New Jersey Herald

Edna Mahan, New Jersey’s only women’s prison, is rife with sexual abuse of inmates by staff that has persisted for decades, according to a report from the U.S. Justice Department. The report found credible allegations of sexual abuse by both correction officers and civilian staff that continued to surface throughout 2018 and into 2019, despite the attention focused on the issue. The New York Times

The wet and windy weather on April 13 caused thousands of outages in parts of North Jersey. New Jersey had over 56,000 outages at the storm’s worst. The Daily Record

And finally…The New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund has raised $18 million less than three weeks after it was incorporated.

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