New Jersey Hospitals Receive $1.7 Billion in Aid From The CARES Act

New Jersey hospitals will receive $1.7 billion from the federal government as part of The CARES Act. 

The money being distributed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is directed to the 395 hospitals hardest hit nationally by COVID-19. Of those, 53 in New Jersey qualified, the second-largest amount of funding awarded only behind New York. 

Gov. Phil Murphy said the funding will be deposited automatically to hospitals in the first full week of May. 

Support Workers

“Getting more critical financial aid to our hospitals and health systems…to support our frontline healthcare workers has been a constant and central part of our ongoing dialogue with our federal partners,” said Murphy. “As legislation was being negotiated, we continued to make the case and demanded at the highest levels that the breakdown of funds be needs based and that New Jersey receive its fair share.”

Murphy made his case of aid needed to the state in an Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump May 1. The governor estimates the COVID-19 crisis will cost New Jersey between $20 billion to $30 billion through June 30, 2021, due to “a combination of major revenue hits and expenses,” including paying healthcare workers, police, fire and teachers.

Financial Beating

“We cannot afford to lose one hospital, or frankly even one nurse or doctor from one hospital,” said Murphy. “Many of our hospitals have taken quite simply a financial beating over the past two months…as all of their resources have been focused on getting their staffs everything they need to be protected, and everything COVID-19 patients need to beat this virus.”

According to the first-term Democratic governor, the federal funding will help the state’s healthcare systems remain on a firm financial standing and plans to continue to work with them to understand how these funds are being used to advance access and treatment for residents. 

Helps Road Back

As important to Murphy, ensuring the health of New Jersey’s healthcare systems is critical to the state’s Road Back plan.

“When we look at metrics we need to fall in line for us to restart and recover, the health of our hospitals is one of the most vital,” he said. “It’s the ability of our hospitals to stay open, to be fully staffed and to be able to provide the levels of care we will need for the COVID-19 cases we know will come as we begin to reopen our economy, our society, our businesses.”

Infections Pass 126K

As of May 3, the number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 126,744 with 3,027 new cases and 129 new deaths, bringing that total to 7,871. 

Of the total deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,282, followed by Bergen with 1,210, Hudson at 845, Passaic at 632, Morris at 449, Sussex at 115 and Warren with 86.

Demographic Breakdown

The racial breakdown of the record deaths was 52% White, 20% Black, 17% Hispanic, 5% Asian and 5% another race. For 40,309 hospitalizations that were tracked, the breakdown was 36% White, 20% Black, 18% Hispanic, 5% Asian and 11% another race. 

Murphy has noted the rates in the black and Hispanic communities are running about 50% more than their population in the state and vowed any plan to reopen the state will work to reduce racial inequities in healthcare. The governor recently signed legislation mandating hospitals report age, gender, ethnicity and race of people who have tested COVID-19 positive or died from the virus.

In regards to the underlying disease of those who have passed, 59% had cardiovascular disease, 43% diabetes, 32% other chronic diseases, 17% neurological conditions,15% chronic renal disease, 10% cancer and 14% other. State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli has stated most cases have multiple underlying conditions which would push the percentage of 100%.

A census of ages for 7,223 confirmed deaths shows 43% of deaths are of those 80 year old and up, 35% in the range of 65-80, 15% between 50-65 and 5% under the age of 49. 

Bergen Tops County Count

Bergen still has the most cumulative cases in the state with 16,185, followed by Hudson at 15,769, Essex at 14,521, Passaic at 13,364, Union at 13,225, Middlesex at 12,597, Ocean at 6,871, Monmouth at 6,290, Morris at 5,517, Mercer at 4,504, Camden at 3,973, Somerset at 3,703, Burlington at 3,043, Gloucester at 1,384, Atlantic at 1,075, Sussex at 969, Warren at 957, Cumberland at 881, Hunterdon at 661, Cape May at 344 and Salem at 270.

There are 676 cases still under investigation to determine where the person resides.

Long-term Care Facilities

Health officials noted 508 long-term care facilities are reporting at least one case of COVID-19 and accounted for 20,841 of the cases and 3,733 of the total deaths. 

In a by-county breakdown, Bergen’s 63 facilities had 3,763 residents test positive with 714 total deaths, Essex’s 46 facilities had 1,920 residents test positive with 430 total deaths, Morris’s 41 facilities had 1,357 residents test positive with 312 total deaths, Hudson’s 15 facilities had 858 residents test positive with 169 total deaths, Passaic’s 25 facilities had 1,069 residents test positive with 187 total deaths, Sussex’s five facilities had 327 residents test positive with 83 total deaths and Warren’s seven facilities had 484 residents test positive with 65 total deaths. 

State Testing

The state has processed 246,410 coronavirus tests of mostly symptomatic individuals since the outbreak began, with 40% testing positive for COVID-19. Murphy has noted that percentage has been “drifting down” for the past two weeks. The state estimates between 9,000-11,000 tests are processed a day with results returning in about a week.

Officials reported 5,317 patients were hospitalized with coronavirus while 487 patients were discharged. The northern tier had 2,799 patients hospitalized, the central 1,655 and the south 863.

There are currently 37 patients in field hospitals, with 395 treated overall. Of those hospitalized, 1,623 are in intensive care units and 1,198 on ventilators. 

Regional Purchasing Power

On May 3, New Jersey joined six other states to form a supply chain for personal protective equipment and medical supplies in an effort to save money and effectively distribute gear needed now. The consortium will spend $5 billion to purchase equipment to share between them. 

The partnership with Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Pennsylvania will develop policies for protective gear across their healthcare systems in the likelihood of a second wave of COVID-19. The states are pooling resources in attempts to prevent states from competing with one another for resources and equipment that resulted in prices being driven up and orders unfilled.

“Our states should never be in a position where we are actively competing against each other for life-saving resources,” said Murphy. “By working together across the region, we can obtain critical supplies as we begin the process to restart our economies, while also saving money for our taxpayers. This concept is at the heart of the regional approach we’ve established.”

Murphy reiterated state’s should not only strive to have the products made in the U.S. “but in our own states.” 

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