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Murphy announces new coronavirus cases, joins regional purchasing consortium for medical equipment

<p>Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hospitalizations in North and Central Jersey are continuing to decrease.&nbsp;</p>

Yesterday, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) said the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) hospitalizations in North and Central Jersey are continuing to decrease. 

Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) announced 3,144 new positive coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in New Jersey and 137 new deaths today, bringing the state’s total to 126,744 cases and 7,871 deaths, according to a tweet

There are currently 5,317 patients hospitalized with 1,623 patients in critical or intensive care and 1,198 patients on ventilators, Murphy said, according to the tweet. 

Murphy also joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) in a virtual press conference to announce a regional purchasing consortium consisting of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The consortium will work together to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID-19 tests, ventilators and other medical equipment.

Cuomo said having the states work together to purchase these items will increase their market power and lower prices. The states will also work together to determine how much equipment is needed, avoid irresponsible vendors and attempt to purchase as many American-made products as possible.

Murphy said New Jersey and New York have had similar issues acquiring equipment and said working together is the best option to do so efficiently in the future. 

“We’re in the same boat. We’re borrowing and bartering for equipment, PPE, ventilators, et cetera ... The notion of coordinating together as a region makes (an) enormous amount of sense, so sign me up and sign New Jersey up,” he said. 

The Daily Targum previously reported that one of Murphy’s goals for rebuilding the state’s economy is to build New Jersey’s own stockpile of medical equipment. He said this will help officials be better prepared to handle a COVID-19 resurgence or other future viral outbreak.

Yesterday, Murphy held his own press conference to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak in New Jersey. As of yesterday, hospitalizations in North and Central Jersey continued to decrease, while the rate of hospitalizations in South Jersey, which has been increasing, is showing signs of flattening, he said.

New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said the overall daily growth rate of hospitalizations has decreased by 4 percent. Since the peak on April 14, hospitalizations decreased by 41 percent in North Jersey and 26 percent in Central Jersey.

Persichilli also said New Jersey’s hospitals are beginning to transition from operating under crisis standards of care back to standard procedures. The Targum previously reported this transition is one of the first things officials will look for when determining when to reopen businesses.

Murphy said many hospitals have faced financial difficulties since the pandemic began due to how much was spent on ensuring they had enough supplies. He announced $1.7 billion in direct federal assistance will be distributed to 53 New Jersey hospitals this week to help address this issue.

“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,” Murphy said. “That’s not just about bed capacity or PPE stocks — although it is about that — it’s also 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.”

Yesterday was also the first day all state parks in New Jersey were scheduled to reopen, with some restrictions to ensure social distancing, the Targum reported.

He said the state will communicate with local authorities to assess how well New Jerseyans followed the restrictions. These reports, combined with whether heightened cases of COVID-19 are reported after their opening, will help officials determine whether the parks can safely remain open.

“If we hear minimal reports of knucklehead behavior at our parks and we see the metrics we need to meet being met over the next couple days and weeks, then we know you all have taken to heart your responsibility … in helping us mitigate this pandemic,” Murphy said.

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