NJ Authorizes Commandeering Of Medical Supplies As Statewide Cases Surpass 25K

Erica Brosnan
April 02, 2020 - 1:49 pm

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TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) — Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday announced there are now over 25,000 coronavirus cases in the state of New Jersey.

The governor also announced that another 182 “precious souls” have died, bringing the statewide total to 537. There are 25,590 cases in the state.

According to Murphy, one of the people who died was Kim King-Smith, an EKG technician at Newark University Hospital.

According to the hospital’s president, King-Smith worked the night shift at the hospital. It’s unclear how old she was or if she had any preexisting health conditions.

King-Smith’s family said her smile was “more infectious than the virus that took her life.” Gov. Murphy took to Twitter shortly before his daily press conference to offer his condolences.

The state also lost veteran Hudson County Sheriff’s Officer Bernard Wardell, Gov. Murphy said.

Murphy said he spoke to his wife and son, who is also in law enforcement, to offer condolences and thank them for Wardell’s 28 years of service.

Another New Jerseyan who died was Fountains of Wayne co-founder Adam Schlesinger, who created the iconic song “Stacy’s Mom.”

Murphy said each death is a massive loss and hopes their memories may “provide strength to the families and friends left behind.”

As the death toll continues to rise, Murphy announced the state has set up a new field medical station at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus.

The facility has a 250-bed capacity and is “nearly ready to be put into service.

Two more sites will follow in Edison at the New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center and in Atlantic City at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Altogether, the state will have a total of 1,000 additional beds after the field hospitals are constructed.

Meanwhile, Gov. Murphy has given Col. Patrick Callahan the authority to commandeer supplies that healthcare facilities do not currently have in operation. This may include everything from N95 masks, ventilators and other personal protective equipment.

“While we look forward to these facilities cooperating and providing this equipment as needed, this order gives Pat the express authority to requisition it for distribution to our acute care hospitals and other healthcare facilities,” Murphy explained. “And needless to say, they all badly need the equipment.”

On the topic of PPE, Gov. Murphy added that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield has committed to donating 500,000 N95 masks and 81,000 face shields – more than $2.3 million worth of supplies.

RELATED: Home Depot Stops Selling N95 Masks

The supplies will be delivered throughout the month of April.

To help in the fight against COVID-19, Murphy notes that blood donations are needed more than ever before.

“I also signed an administrative order today permitting blood drives to continue to ensure we can meet the critical medical needs of our residents,” Murphy said.

He said blood drives must take appropriate mitigation efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing.

The state is continuing to operate all drive-through testing facilities and Murphy noted that many people getting tested, in fact, do not have the virus.

“Turns out 6 in 10 who tested do not have it so far, and that is a good fact to know,” the governor said.

He added that there’s been 206,000 new unemployment claims filed in the last week, but the state has plenty of opportunities.

“We have thousands of opportunities for employment for essential work,” he said.

For job listings, residents can visit jobs.covid19.nj.gov.

On Wednesday, New Jersey extending the tax and budget filing deadlines because of the coronavirus crisis.

New Jersey mirrored the actions by the IRS and extended its income tax-filing deadline for individuals and businesses from April 15 to July 15.

The state fiscal year will also be extended to September 30th "to allow us to focus on leading our state out of this crisis."

For more information visit covid19.nj.gov.

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