The total number of positive cases for the deadly coronavirus increased by 24.6% since Sunday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today.
New Jersey has 16,386 positive tests, up 3,347 since Sunday. Murphy said that 37 New Jerseyans have died from COVID-19 related illnesses since yesterday, bringing the statewide total up to 198.
“These numbers never get easier to report,” Murphy said. “But I shudder to think about what these numbers would be without our social distancing measures.”
Murphy continued to push social distancing as the best way to slow the spread of the virus.
“In 10 days, we would be expecting to exhaust our entire supply of available hospital beds,” Murphy said.
Without New Jerseyans taking social distancing steps, “we would’ve expected to hit our entire statewide capacity for ICU beds on Wednesday.”
The governor said that “ventilators are our number one concern right now.”
“The need is dire. Our hospitals are quickly running toward full ventilator capacity. We’re working with them and FEMA to allow them to “co-vent” – have 2 patients connected to the same ventilator,” Murphy said. “This will buy us precious time.”
Murphy promised to tell President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence that every day.
“This is real life. This is life and death,” he said.
He also announced the death of New Jersey National Guard Captain Douglas Linn Hickok, a Pennsylvania resident. Murphy said he spoke with Hickock’s family today.
Murphy said that his administration is working to expand hospital capacities and says an additional 1,300 beds will be available by reopening closed hospitals.
“We’ve partnered with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters to stand up three regional field medical stations capable of adding another 1,000 beds,” Murphy said.
We will do everything we can to get the beds we need.”