New Jersey has lost 355 residents to coronavirus, up from 267 yesterday, with a 19% increase in the number of state residents testing positive for COVID-19 since yesterday, according to Gov. Phil Murphy.
There have been 22,255 positive tests for COVID-19 so far, up by 2,196 cases since Tuesday.
Murphy said that he’s secured an addition 350 ventilators from the national stockpile.
“Ventilators are our number one need right now and I won’t stop fighting to get us more,” said. “PPE items come at a significant cost to the state. But let me be clear: there is no price too high to save a life. There is no price too high to protect our health care workers and those on the front lines of this battlefield.”
Murphy said that while federal assistance is essential, “New Jersey continues to lead on its own.”
“On our own, we’ve procured nearly 10 million pieces of PPE that are beginning to flow into our warehouses and will be allocated to the front lines,” he stated.
The governor said that he was on the same page as Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin in deciding to extend the current state budget through September 30. He praised legislative leaders from both parties, including Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo, Assembly Budget Committee Chair Eliana Pintor Marin, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.
“Our FY2021 budget will run from September 30th to June 30th, 2021,” Murphy explained. “This action will ensure a more fiscally prudent state budget.”
The governor said he signed an executive order today authorizing the state Division of Consumer Affairs to “temporarily reactivate the licenses of recently retired health care professionals and grant temporary licenses to foreign doctors.”
“This will help us quickly bring more medical personnel into our efforts,” he said. “This E.O. also waives scope-of-practice requirements for advanced-practice nurses and physician assistants. And, my order makes clear that the health care professionals helping in our COVID-19 response will be immune from civil liability for actions taken in good faith.”
Murphy has also announced the extension of the deadline for eligible college students to apply for renewal of state tuition aid from April 15 to June 1.
Commissioner of Health Judy Persichilli announced that a surge on hospital beds has begin. She said that seven hospitals diverted patients and that while two hospitals ran out of ventilators, the state was able to offer additional ones.
“Community spread is here in New Jersey and it is here to stay for a while,” Persichilli said.