N.J. Mirrors N.Y. With Slowing Virus Rate, Jump in Deaths

Elise Young
N.J. Mirrors N.Y. With Slowing Virus Rate, Jump in Deaths

(Bloomberg) -- New Jersey’s pattern of coronavirus cases and deaths mirrored New York’s, with a tapering of new infections and the biggest one-day jump in fatalities.

Reported cases in New Jersey increased by 8%, the lowest rate in weeks and the third-straight day it was 10% or less. There were 232 additional fatalities, after two days of increases of less than 100.

“We’re in the fight of our lives,” Governor Phil Murphy said at a press briefing.

New Jersey has the second-highest number of cases in the U.S. after New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that deaths are a trailing indicator for the outbreak. New cases there tapered for a third day after reaching a high of 10,841 on Saturday.

The death tolls added a grim counterpoint to the signs of good news. New York reported 731 new fatalities, pushing its tally to 5,489. The state recorded 8,147 new Covid-19 infections, for a total of 138,836.

In New Jersey, 1,232 people have died, and more than 44,000 people have been infected.

Hospital Beds

Murphy said Tuesday that he was signing four executive orders: extending the public-health emergency declaration by 30 days, closing all state parks, extending April school-board election deadlines and waiving student assessment requirements for high school graduations.

New Jersey has been tracking New York’s infection pace. Cuomo said he is now looking at hospitalizations and demand for intensive-care beds for signs of whether the curve is flattening. New York showed a drop in the three-day average hospitalization rate, and has seen declines in the number of daily ICU admissions and intubations.

In New Jersey, there are 7,017 Covid-19 patients and persons under investigation hospitalized, with 1,651 in intensive care and most of those patients on ventilators, according to state Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. About 3,000 were hospitalized on April 3.

One worst-case model showed New Jersey potentially handling 8,000 ICU patients, with 7,000 on respirators, she said. The state is well equipped to handle current cases, she said.

Nursing Homes

The virus has been detected at half of New Jersey’s 375 nursing homes, Murphy said.

The state’s largest nursing home operator, Genesis Healthcare, had lost 44 patients to Covid through Monday. It may convert one of its facilities in Piscataway to Covid-only patients, said spokeswoman Lori Mayer.At a CareOne nursing home in New Milford, five residents had died of Covid complications through March 31, and other deaths were under investigation, the company said in a statement. CareOne declined to provide updated figures Tuesday.

“It’s not feasible or prudent to divert resources away our primary and most important task -- caring for our residents -- to provide the public with daily updates on the incidence and prevalence of Covid-19 cases,” CareOne spokesman Eric Bloom said in an email.

Murphy said the state has distributed more than 1.1 million pieces of personal protective equipment from the federal stockpile. Still, he said, the state was continuing to solicit donations from corporations and individuals.

The governor praised residents for displaying signs to celebrate birthdays and other milestones, rather than coming together, and purchasing restaurant gift certificates to gather for meals when the crisis is over.

“All of us have the inclination to come together and we can’t,” Murphy said of the Passover and Easter holidays this week and next. “We must resist that at all costs.”

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