TEANECK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in New Jersey. It’s now at 3,675, including 44 deaths, Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday.
With that influx has come a growing need for hospital supplies.
CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis was told the need is dire.
“Holy Name is at the epicenter of the pandemic and they are playing a lead role in the fight against COVID-19,” Teaneck Township Manager Dean Kazinci said.
Kazinci said Teaneck has lost two people to coronavirus — and more than 140 residents are presumed positive for the virus.
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Adam Jarrett, the executive vice president of medical affairs at Holy Name Medical Center, said the hospital is seeing a tremendous amount of coronavirus patients on a daily basis through the emergency room. Fortunately, many are being discharged, but a significant number need to be admitted to hospitals.
Holy Name Medical Center is currently treating about 80 patients, with roughly 25 on ventilators.
Jarrett said the hospital is staying three to four days ahead of medical supplies, but he’s concerned what will happen if the volume continues.
“Today, I’m actually in a bit of a crisis with nursing, so we are asking nurses to take care of more patients than we’d like them to take care of. We’re asking nurses who do some critical care now to jump in and do a lot of critical care and just general medical nurses are a big problem because we have so many cases of coronavirus and caring for these patients takes time,” Jarrett said.
“I ask myself every day have we compromised care for our patients or have we compromised care for our staff? And today I can answer that strongly, no we have not. Our patients are getting very high-quality care. We have not had to compromise and our staff has been kept as safe as possible,” Jarret addd. “I am worried that if things don’t slow down, if we don’t get additional support, both in terms of supplies and in terms of staff, that I may not be able to answer that question in the same way.”
His message to the public is to follow recommendations to socially distance and communicate with providers before showing up to the emergency room.
“The reason that is so important is because if you are potentially infected and you don’t tell your provider or the emergency room ahead of time you are potentially infecting other people who are gonna create that cascade of infection. By calling ahead, by socially distancing yourself, you’re actually saving lives,” Jarrett said.
A call for supplies was answered — 2,100 N95 masks are on the way from a former Teaneck High School graduate in Florida.
“We are going to share them with Holy Name hospital, police personnel, with our fire personnel and with our ambulance corps,” Kazinci said.
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Teaneck and other towns across the state are hoping more donations pour into hospitals.
Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick is currently caring for 11 COVID-19 patients, and is accepting donations of masks, safety goggles, and hand sanitizer.
This comes as officials warn that hospitals will see more patients.
New Jersey medical centers are taking to Facebook as the national shortage of medical supplies grows. Valley Health System posted a plea saying “We need your help.” It is collecting donations at the hospital in Ridgewood through a drop-off site at the front door.
The community has come through with donations, but as the number of cases grows, so does the need for supplies and hospital beds, statewide.
“Hackensack University Medical Center has kind of almost overnight is turning medical surge units into ICUs in creative ways,” said Dr. Daniel Vargas, chief physician executive at Hackensack Meridian Health.
The main concern for many is how to handle the influx of cases with the supply chain dwindling.
“The big issue is going to be material and the ability to continue to support our frontline caregivers. We’ll find space. It’s really more the supply chain and the human cost,” Vargas said.
Gov. Murphy said Tuesday the federal government has pledged support for four new FEMA field hospitals, along with a second installment of more personal protective equipment.
Officials with the governor’s office says the equipment received is still a fraction of what the state is asking for — 84,578 N95 respirators, 201,479 face/surgical masks, 38,365 face shields, 31,280 surgical gowns, 160 coveralls and 111,378 gloves.
The need for more continues, so officials encourage you donate to hospitals in any way you can.